April 29 2014 President's Blog

Hello again,

As I said last week, I had two things that really stuck out in my mind after the HDI conference. The first one was on recruiting of talent. The next one is a more complex issue that those of us in Service Desk and Help Desk management deal with. That issue is all about reports and metrics.

Reports and metrics are more than just data. Many of us run reports to measure our operations, but are we really running the correct reports. Do you know what your Critical Success Factors are to ensure you are meeting your customer’s expectations and then building your reports around those factors? Are you using reporting to hold other departments accountable for their in-action? I will say that I had some AHA! moments during the metrics and reporting sessions because some of the puzzle pieces started being put together.

How many times have we felt like banging our heads on a wall because a customer issues is stuck with another team and that team just does not seem to have any sense of urgency on working an issue that has been escalated to them. How many times have you as a group lead or manager approached a technology manager that does not see themselves as being integral to the support process. Metrics and reporting can all change that. Using metrics and reporting, you can show other departments how they “have skin in the game” when it comes to customer support no matter what their role with in IT is. Are you using metrics to show the impact of downtime? What was the cost to the company or customer due to the escalation partner delaying work on that escalated issue? If you show that to your CIO or someone in the business, I can guarantee that group’s tune will change. Being able to explain and show an escalation point that their inaction is costing the company money can change hearts and minds.

As you start showing this data to upline management and peers, you must make sure that you are not just giving them metrics, but a true report. You must understand the difference between metrics and reports. Metrics is for practitioners, but reports are for our customers and up line reviewers. Metrics are for those who know what the data means but reports are metrics in an easily explained format that does not require explanation. If you tell someone on the business that your average handle time went up by a minute, that is a metric. It does not mean anything without context or explanation.   If you tell someone on the business that your cost per call went up by $2 due to increased handle time, now you are speaking their language. That said, you have to tell the whole story. Did that average handle time increase mean that your average time to resolve an issue went from one day down to half a day which is increasing uptime? Putting metrics in a format that the reader can understand and does not require interpretation is the difference between metrics and reports and can make or break your point.

So, this leads me back to one of my original reports. Do you know what your Critical Success Factors are? You may think you do, but do you know what your customers really want. Have you asked your customers what they really want from the help desk? Maybe they are OK with a 20 minute handle time if they know their issue will be fixed with only one call. Or, maybe they would prefer email support rather than calling into support. If this is what your customers want, you can work with the business to build your service desk and metrics around that. You may find that discovering your Critical Success Factors actually benefit the business and its operations.

If you are like me, you probably think that the metrics are set. Things like productivity rate, average handle time and time to resolution are what you need. You know what, you may be right, but are you looking at them the way you always have or the way your customers need you to. That is the difference.

If you think this topic would make a good meeting topic, please let me know and I will see what I can do to bring in a speaker.

Also, if you disagree or want to discuss this further, please feel free to contact me.

I hope to see you at our May meeting.

Joe Arechederra

President – HDI Gateway Chapter

[email protected]

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April 22 2014 Presidents Blog Message

Hello all,

As I type this, it has now been two weeks since the 2014 HDI Conference and all I can say is WOW! The conference gave everyone a chance to both obtain new knowledge as well as share the knowledge and experiences we have obtained, a chance to catch up with friends and make new acquaintances and to laugh as well as shed a tear. That’s right, you read that last line correctly. We talked about FOMO (fear of missing out) and about reveling in JOMO (joy of missing out). We heard from world class speakers who both inspired us as well as educated us. This was my first HDI Conference and I think I can say with certainty it will not be my last. For those of you who would like to get a glimpse of what the conference offered, I would highly recommend that you check out the digital experience. Information can be found HERE.

If you would be interested in attending a similar event with emphasis on Service Management and ITIL, I suggest you take a look at the 2014 Fusion Conference. This year’s Fusion event, which is sponsored by HDI and itSMF USA will be held at the Gaylord National Resort in Washington DC. Discounts for attendance and rooms rates are still available. For more information including tips on how to convince your boss into letting you attend can be found HERE.

In my last blog posting, I mentioned that I would share some of the things that I learned while at the HDI Conference. Not all that I learned came from the breakout sessions. I will say I learned just as much from the Expo and networking as I did during the breakout sessions. Two things really stuck out in my mind. I will talk about one of them here and follow up on the other.

The recruiting challenges that St. Louis is encountering is not completely unique, but distinctive. Other cities are encountering similar challenges, but few are seeing IT unemployment rates lower than 1% like we are. This means that companies in St. Louis really have to woo potential employees. These candidates are interviewing us and our companies as much as we are interviewing them. The most desirable candidates are leaving school or being lured from their current employer by many potential suitors. As they are interviewing, they are assessing and comparing the culture, the pay, the benefits, work life balance and the office environment. This is a drastic change from 2008 when one job posting could garner 50+ highly qualified candidates.   This competition is new for St. Louis as we now have to compete with companies of various sizes all going for the same candidates. Talking with colleagues from the West Coast including Silicon Valley and Washington state, they dealt with some of these growing pains with the growth of tech companies and had to rapidly adapt or be stuck with mediocrity. Luckily for our chapter, we will be holding a meeting in September that covers just this issue. Look for details on this meeting soon.

Our next meeting will be a lunchtime meeting held on Thursday May 22nd. The topic will be all around talking technical to non-technical people. Look for more information including location and start time very soon.

Remember, you have until Friday 4/25 to submit your name for VP of Vendor Relations or VP of Membership consideration.

Thank you

Joe Arechederra

President – HDI Gateway Chapter

[email protected]

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