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An Investment For Life

By Greg Pritchett, Managing Director, Marval Software

While I was growing up, things seemed to remain around us for longer (even summers and winters lasted longer). We had good, sturdy and practical furniture that lasted for years; white goods that never went out of fashion; and electronic devices that were -literally- an investment for life.

Our first colour television set was huge, ugly (by modern standards) but totally reliable. Being a TV engineer, my dad had the skills (and a soldering iron) to make good when things occasionally did go wrong. In fact, that TV was fully and perfectly operable for more than twenty-five years. Now get this, our TV had no less than 14 separate circuit boards inside that huge cabinet, yes 14! Nowadays all of that has been replaced with a power supply and just 1 board. Years after I’d left my parents’ home, that TV was still there. There was no reason for change. “If it’s not broken, we won’t change it”, we used to say. And hardly ever was anything broken.

If we could describe today’s behaviour in a motto, it would probably be “If it’s not broken, we won’t change it - unless a new trend, colour, size or model becomes available”. People nowadays tend to change their possessions even when they work perfectly, because a later, bigger, better or just sexier version is there. That single circuit board in the TV is no longer viable to repair, buying a new replacement board costs nearly as much as the TV itself, no brainer, just buy a new one.

Almost everything has become a commodity and nothing seems to stay around for long, not even people. Some years ago, workers would stay with a company for a long time, sometimes for life. They would grow (and age) within the business, often progressing to different roles and additional responsibilities. They knew the company and its customers inside out and could easily customise their approach, if needed. Employee turnover was never an issue. It is an issue today, though, for many organisations. Along with the increased volume and variety of IT devices, employee turnover can be one of the greatest challenges for the Service Desk; and a barrier for providing personalised service.

Software releases, product updates, new hardware announcements, new technologies, new topologies, new methodologies, emerging trends - and a flowing, restless and very mobile workforce, they all define our ever evolving, fast-paced marketplace. The Service Desk has to provide faster and better customer service in an environment that is not just unstable but deeply commoditised. Everything around us is dispensable and replaceable; and yet, we are expected to deliver exceptional, memorable and personalised service.

Maintaining service quality and consistency is easier said than done of course. In an environment where nothing lasts for long, nurturing the right way (and culture) of doing things won’t come naturally. It requires hard work and investment in people, processes and technology (in that order).

The right technology provides a common platform in which processes can be repeated and enforced. It provides a repository of data to ensure that nothing is lost, forgotten or ignored, even when the company’s turnover is high.

Good processes will help develop and maintain a customer-centric approach across the organisation, but they will need to be accepted and embraced by those following them first.

People are the ones who are most affected by this constant change, and let’s face it, there are very few people who actually enjoy and embrace change. When things change, people tend to hold onto the few things that may provide them with a sense of stability: in most cases, culture and process. So, with most things having become a commodity, the Service Desk can invest in the right ITSM technology to help them overcome the increased challenges and maintain high quality standards. They can still deliver exceptional, memorable and personalised service, and adopt a customer-centric culture that will survive the test of time.

In our ever evolving and fast-paced industry, it’s reassuring that the right ITSM technology really can be an organisation’s investment for life.


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