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Is it shift left, shift right or shift anywhere?

By Dr. Don Page, ITSM Strategic Director, Marval Software


Support organisations are always looking for an improved customer experience, one with enhanced service and customer outcomes.

That’s not news. What’s new is the several inventive and resourceful ways people employ to describe their approach towards better Service Management. The latest term I am finding irritating is Shift left”.

The term Shift left simply involves bringing more complex work down to first-line staff; and, at the same time, moving more repetitive work and standard activities into web self-service portals. With the overall outcome resulting to improved first-time fix rates.

To anyone working in Service Support, this approach is one they have been doing successfully all along; while others are still struggling. Why? Because they have ignored some fundamental basics that need to be put in place first, such as:

  • The adoption of a service and customer-centric approach
  • Focusing on a great customer experience and successful business outcomes
  • Optimising, modifying and simplifying existing processes
  • Obtaining quality knowledge items and FAQs
  • Workarounds from 2nd and 3rd line analysts
  • Having up-to-date and detailed information on stakeholders, critical services and dependent assets associated with their critical dependencies and relationships

And of course, backed by a great IT Service Management software tool, like Marval MSM.

Personally, I believe that there is only one way to simplify and improve the service we deliver, and that’s by:

  • Continually reviewing our current processes and procedures and communication plans
  • Identifying our strengths and accepting our weaknesses
  • Communicating our successes and being open about our areas of improvement
  • Enabling our people to be more effective by providing the right tools
  • Embracing optimised, customer-centric processes

At the end of the day, it all comes down to people and processes. I don’t care what we call it, shift left, shift right or shift anywhere; Service Excellence is built upon proven processes, extraordinary people and the technology that helps instil within the organisation a culture of change and continual service improvement.

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