Archives for category: Technical Business Strategy

Five tips for bridging the gap between Millennials and IT

By Nathan McNeill via TechRepublic
August 30, 2011, 2:18 PM PDT

Takeaway: Self-reliant, tech savvy, connected: Millennials have different needs and expectations from previous generations. And that could make your job easier.

There’s a notion that the Millennial generation represents a nightmare for IT support, with their tech-savvy nature and demands for the latest and greatest tools. But a recent survey conducted by GigaOM Pro and Isurus Market Research, and sponsored by Bomgar, shows that Millennials may bring more opportunities than problems to the table. This group is largely self-sufficient and collaborative when it comes to problem solving, and it’s open to using more efficient communication channels.

To take advantage of those opportunities, IT professionals need to find ways to close the gaps between Millennials’ expectations and what most IT support departments provide today.

1: Embrace mobility

The terms Millennial and mobile are nearly synonymous. It’s no secret that this generation relies on smartphones and often uses personal devices for professional purposes. Because this unchains Millennials from their desks, they tend to work more outside the office and traditional work hours. In fact, according to the survey, 50 percent of Millennials report working after hours on a weekly basis. This means that IT needs to be able to support Millennials’ devices on a 24/7 basis, no matter where they’re located.

Implement multi-platform support tools that allow you to remotely connect to and fix mobile devices. Also, consider staggering your support personnel’s hours or leveraging reps in different time zones to provide support coverage around the clock.

2: Pick up the pace — try chat

The gap between what Millennials believe is a reasonable amount of time to wait for a response and what IT is prepared to promise is significant. Thanks to customer service solutions such as OnStar and the ubiquity of Google, Millennials expect to get answers at the touch of a button.

A solution to this problem? Evaluate alternative communication channels, such as chat, to expedite the problem-to-resolution process. Unlike the phone, chat allows support reps to help multiple end users at once, which can significantly cut hold time. Plus, Millennials are used to and often prefer text-based communications to the phone. The survey found that six out of 10 Millennials said the telephone was not their first choice, and chat was among the top three choices for more than half of Millennials surveyed.

3: Tailor support to Millennials’ problem-solving patterns

The research also shows that 61 percent of Millennials look first to sources outside the company (e.g., Google) when initially trying to solve a problem. While some may think they’re just being dismissive of IT policies, Millennials are actually driven by a need to be self-sufficient and understand their technology issues. This makes them prime candidates for both self-help solutions and collaborative problem solving, which helps them learn about the issue.

Smart IT managers will engineer FAQs or self-help centers to behave more like search engines, social networks, or forums. They’ll also leverage screen-sharing technology that allows end users to watch the tech fix their computer or mobile device and learn how to avoid or fix the issue in the future. This will not only reduce future help desk calls, but reduce potential damage from Millennials receiving erroneous outsider advice.

4: Educate Millennials on IT policies

While more than half of Millennials report they follow all or most of their company’s IT policies, IT managers are skeptical, believing less than a third are actually compliant. But Millennials actually do want to follow the rules and understand the risks of not doing so. Improving education and communication about IT policies is the key. Go beyond just including a list of policies in the employee handbook; host a few lunch-and-learns to refresh everyone on the do’s and don’ts or create a fun video. Remember to explain why the policies are in place. Millennials will be more likely to follow the rules if they understand what’s behind them.

5: Collaborate to better leverage skill sets

With the introduction of new devices and applications into your IT landscape, the number and complexity of help requests will inevitably increase. Your IT support reps will need the ability to quickly leverage both internal and external SMEs to avoid a spike in escalations. With technology such as remote screen-sharing, reps can invite peers or external experts who specialize on a device into a support session, hand over the controls, and watch and learn from the experts as they fix the end users’ devices. Through better collaboration behind the scenes, you can handle most of the Millennials’ issues, in the resolution time they expect, without adding IT support staff.

Nathan McNeill is co-founder and chief strategy officer for Bomgar.

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The Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL®) is a framework of best practices and approaches that will best facilitate the delivery of high quality information technology (IT) services. ITIL® outlines an extensive set of management procedures that are intended to support businesses in achieving high quality services and valuable IT operations. Is ITIL right for you? What are the benefits and possibilities from return on investment?  Augusto Perazzo a principal consultant at PA Consulting group lays it out.

 

Is it Possible to Achieve a Return on ITIL?

July 12, 2011 By Augusto Perazzo

There has been quite a few arguments in trying to prove or debunk that ITIL can produce any kind of ROI. The pragmatic answer is: Yes it can, but not as easy as ITIL guidance can hope for.Let’s step back and define what ITIL is. A simplistic view is that ITILis a set of best practices that seek to improve the management and delivery of IT services. Like most best practices or processes guidance, it has been put together by drawing from the collective experience of practitioners and organizations that have tried to solve the IT efficiency problem in the past.ITIL’s first version was developed in the 1980s on behalf of the British government. Thus ITILv3, released in the summer of 2007, is an attempt to integrate and systemize best practices that have been previously loosely applied to the IT service management (ITSM) domain within the last 25 or so years.When looking at improving IT service management there are then two main options: try to figure out an effective way in isolation or to leverage an existing framework such as ITIL (which has been adopted and tested by thousands of organizations worldwide). Chances are that ITIL will provide better odds to the challenge.

 ITIL ROI

ROI has the following components: Cost of investment (COI) and results of the investment. A positive ROI, which we seek, means that the results should be larger than the investment. Cost of implementing ITIL is the investment and the ITSM improvements we seek are the results. The challenge then becomes the quantification of ITIL costs and IT service improvements.

ITIL costs are anything and everything you will spend in order to design and implement your custom ITIL solution, including any tools, internal resources and external help. The technical aspects of an ITIL implementation are relatively easier to estimate and carry on; organization change management is where the devil works!

Any process improvement program, which an ITIL implementation surely is, will carry a high and usually hidden cost for change management (efforts to bring people on board and provide them with the willingness, abilities and capabilities to succeed and to follow and leverage the ITIL based processes). Your ROI calculation must include a good chunk of change for that part of the investment. Most ITIL implementations fail because little attention is given to the devil’s playground.

IT service improvements

To know how far you have traveled, you need information on both the departure point and the destination you have reached. Once you reach a destination, it is relatively easy to quantify where you are: How much time and thus FTEs and thus money your organization spends on managing and delivering IT services. The problem is in baselining your departure point before you leave.

Most organizations do not have a clue about the true cost of their current ITSM practices (or lack thereof). The assessment, once you reach your destination, is easier because after an ITIL program you should be better equipped to do so.

Because of this ITIL ROI conundrum, we usually recommend to clients that they embark on a process improvement program — ITIL or other — using an iterative and a long-term timeline. For example, improve your Incident management processes first so that you can start collecting meaningful data and measure the cost of incidents and its impact on productivity. Improve IT financial management early so that you can calculate the true cost of IT services and so on. Once you have basic IT performance information that can be baselined, move on to bigger investments.

In sum, to determine ROI, you need to define what the cost to deliver IT services is today, what the cost of the investment to improve is and what the cost to deliver IT services will eventually be once you reach your destination. Most organizations with more mature policies around program funding will require a business case before approving the journey. Nonetheless do understand that this is only an estimate as you will not know for sure how much the investment will cost you and how much the future cost of delivering IT services will be once you are done.

A good piece of advice: Make sure you have several waypoints defined between your departure and final destination and leverage the lessons you learned from these small trips to calibrate the remainder of your journey. Comparing the estimated ROI for these waypoints to the actual ROI and the causes for discrepancy can provide much valuable information on how to go about the rest of the program and how to reset expectations.

Augusto Perazzo is a Principal Consultant at PA Consulting Group. Augusto works closely with Business and IT executives to define strategies and operating models, optimize processes and empower people, leveraging the power of information technology to design and deliver better services and products. Augusto has an MBA degree from USC Marshall Business School and holds ITIL and PMP certifications.

 IT Training Company, Tandem Solution, has partnered with Service Management Dynamix™ to provide a broad spectrum of ITSM training options for students. In addition to public and private training (Class Outlines), together they also provide a full complement of ITIL® Consulting Services: The Experienced Consultants/Trainers (Keith Sutherland  &  Butch Sheets) have long been considered  industry experts. Moreover, they serve on multiple ITIL® examination review boards and have over 70 years of combined IT experience and 20 years of formal IT Service Management knowledge. Contact info@training4it.com for more information or your free needs assesment.

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