Enagement: Something so simple, effective and an activity involved throughout the lifecycle, but yet we often overlook the value engagement can bring to any service management division.
Who is involved?
From the IT service provider perspective, engagement will be critical with customers, external suppliers, internal support teams and other stakeholders with a vested interest in the delivery of your services.
In my experience, the biggest area of concern that many organizations have is customer engagement. Engagement with the customer should involve more than just email communication. The customer will be the driver for the ITIL implementation and business-as-usual once all the ITIL elements have become embedded. Therefore it’s important that we establish acceptable communication channels, agreed upon by both customer and provider. The customer is required to be a key asset not just at the start of the strategy phase but throughout building, testing, deployment as well as after the service is operational. The challenge is to maintain customer engagement when the service is live.
It’s a challenge for sure! How do you ensure effective engagement? Well you can be forgiven to suggest tightening up existing contracts and ensure strong governance over new contracts. But even if agreed targets are being met, this will not necessarily prove successful engagement. The process of engagement from the IT service provider perspective is to ensure suppliers are aware of future changes within the IT service provider as well as new customer requirements on the horizon. So go ahead and work with your legal / finance teams to strengthen your current contracts and ensure new contracts are well governed, but remember that a supplier’s capability should not only be judged by targets being met but the extra value delivery being offered via successful engagement.
Internal Support Teams
Firstly, the internal support teams are not necessarily all falling within IT. As an IT service provider, you may be depending on other business units, like human resources and marketing to underpin your delivery of services. The internal support teams can be seen as internal suppliers, but with no legal contracts, unless certain support functions are outsourced and then they become under the bracket of external suppliers. Taking the example of internal support, it’s crucial that IT staff are kept engaged throughout the lifecycle of services. Internal support teams like external suppliers can provide the necessary knowledge of findings, improvements or new initiatives via successful engagement.
Other stakeholders can include investors, auditors, regulators, etc. The focus on these stakeholders will heavily depend on your organizational structure and the services delivered. All will have different interests but important to manage those interests to ensure no surprises. Every service provider should be aware of their internal and external stakeholders, their expectations and appropriate methods or techniques to ensure successful engagement.
If you’re interested in learning more, try Learning Tree’s course, Putting ITIL® into Practice: A Roadmap for Transformation.
*ITIL® is a registered trade mark of the Cabinet Office