Simon Kent gave an impressive talk at SITS17 about BRM and business value. In this article, he references two SITS presentations which highlighted the need to improve our attitude to managing people.
There were some fantastic education sessions at SITS17, with a wide-range of topics and speakers on offer. It was good to see the show opening with two keynote presentations which challenged attendees to look at ITSM and service desk from a different perspective. Firstly, Natalie Calvert of CX High Performance reminded us that the people element of IT performance is still greatly under-appreciated. According to her organisation’s research, the performance differential between high and low performers in any service-provisioning team is 72%.
Natalie’s team performance advice included an inspired conclusion that we shouldn’t spend too much time trying to elevate the worse performers or lauding those who excel. Instead, we should focus on the middle-of-the-road employees. In her experience, nurturing the middle-ground to become great yields the greatest results.
Too much process
This presentation led me to question why we spend so much time worrying about processes and technology-related projects when helping people improve is likely to be more valuable. It also served as a reminder that while initiatives such as BizDevOps and Business Relationship Management (BRM) are vital for bringing people and continuous improvement to the fore, we can’t allow them to become just another IT process.
The second keynote came from Georgina Owens of Vodafone who spoke candidly of her previous experience running service desks. Memorably she spoke of one desk which she joined with a 37% customer satisfaction rating. The problem, according to Georgina, was people with “no customer mindset” were delivering the service.
Just like the previous keynote, this session underlined the importance of people in delivering service. It seems obvious doesn’t it? Of COURSE we know that people deliver service. But all too often, IT forgets and allows projects and methodologies and meaningless stats to cloud our judgement.
It’s difficult to find a common theme running through the education sessions at SITS because of the broad subject range. However as well as the aforementioned talks, SITS for me was all about delivering business outcomes. The main goal for ITSM, service desks and indeed anyone involved with IT is to converge with the business to ultimately contribute to strategic objectives.
It’s why I champion Business Relationship Management so strongly. Yes, we can never turn ‘people’ into a process. But what we can do is acknowledge the importance of people at every level of IT. We can understand and document their relationships. And we can map the interdependencies and see how each action affects everything else within the business.
As Natalie Calvert pointed out, managing people is “part art and part science”. BRM will help with the science. The art comes from the creativity, dedication, and vision of those delivering and managing IT.
If you want to know more about BRM and how it could help your service desk, I’ve written a free guide you can download here, plus you can read my blog on what Business Relationship Managers can learn from great leaders.
Simon Kent is chief innovation officer for Sollertis. He is a SITS Insight Expert, regularly offering opinions and ideas on topics such as digital transformation, IT-business convergence and BRM.
If you’d like to become a SITS Insight Expert, please get in touch with James West using the contact details to the left.