by Brian E. Thomas

Bringing your best service delivery game

Sep 05, 2017
IT Leadership

A critical aspect of winning at service delivery is strong relationships. The sooner you can understand that building strong relationships, or partnerships, is the foundation for winning at anything, the better.

You’ve heard the saying, “If you’re going to do something, do it right the first time.” There’s a reason for doing it right, and you need to do it with passion. Of course, you need to develop a solid foundation around your service delivery process. This is more than the traditional IT metric – system uptime. This includes measurement of IT services in terms of the value and service, and now we must benchmark ourselves against these outcomes. More important is full transparency on what you do and what you deliver. This is because technology has shifted, causing more customers to utilize and view technology as a commodity now.

Using service-level agreements correctly

It’s important to establish service-level agreements (SLAs) for any service you provide. But more than that, you need to communicate those out to the organization in a timely and transparent manner. These services must be managed with a simple and effective process so that customers feel they are getting the service they are paying for and rightfully deserve. Use SLAs not as a negative tool of enforcement, but as a positive, open, honest and transparent platform between service provider and the customer. Ultimately, you want both parties to be able to talk about their business challenges and strategic goals in ways that can be mutually beneficial. As a service delivery manager, it’s your job to make best practices clear and then follow through. Make sure you understand your role and objectives, working with your CIO if need be to clarify these in detail. On the surface, you represent the service provider to your customer. But more than that, you represent the customer to the service provider. It’s critical to remain proactive, open, honest and fair when it comes to dealing with both your customer and service provider.

Obtaining support for the services you offer goes beyond the moral and includes true technical support. Make sure you’re aware of the service provider’s internal organizational support capabilities and balance them with the business’s service-level requirements.

Fostering strong relationships

A critical aspect of winning at service delivery is strong relationships. The sooner you can understand that building strong relationships, or partnerships, is the foundation for winning at anything, the better. That includes vendor relationships, project management, or getting your CFO to approve a large technology purchase. Learn your customers’ businesses like they know them, be empathetic, and eliminate their pain points. Building solid relationships from day one will help gain support for your technology initiatives down the road. Additionally, fostering the right relationships will allow you to select a strong ally and champion for these technology initiatives.

If you are a global provider, a clear differentiator in the service delivery game is the ability to offer not just the full line-up of end-user services, but one that is consistent and integrated across the globe, says I – Global Intelligence for the CIO. And while reach, quality and consistency drive the delivery of services to your customer base, true success begins with understanding your customers’ needs and goals. That can be anything from ensuring their business functions operate more efficiently to assisting them in hitting greater numbers of transactions. Extend your vision past your immediate client and to your client’s customers to win your service delivery game.

Many service delivery managers fall into the trap of offering cookie-cutter, standardized services in an effort to streamline operations. However, while this is noble from a baseline establishment point of view, it should act as only that: a springboard for customizing outcomes based on the specifics of the client’s business to include its nature, geography and culture.

Striving for more than average

Entrepreneur puts it best: Being average is a choice. If you aren’t consciously aware of what you are doing day in, day out, time will leak through your hands and lead to feelings of frustration, negativity and disbelief in the greater good. It’s time to do something more: Be extraordinary. Think differently than everyone else, come up with a clear set of goals, and be clear about what you want for your business and your customers. Staying even with the status quo won’t get you very far. Inspiring the mediocre starts with becoming a believer.

The bottom line is, you have to have the right service delivery model and process, but more important, the right attitude and high energy in delivering the service. This ensures your customers will trust in the process and they will continue to be champions of your processes and new technology initiatives that you will deliver in the future.