A Vision from Down Under
By Michael Poole
I am writing this blog post sitting beside what has been described as the most beautiful harbour in the world. I am writing it in English, so the spelling is correct on this side of the world!
One of the joys of working for Kinetic Data in Australia and looking after any part of the world that is not North America, is exploring the differences in the varieties of English that are spoken especially the different meanings of words and phrases we use.
As an example, just the other day I was talking to Nancy, our marketing director and the controlling entity behind this blog site, about my resource-scheduling problem. Getting my newly resident son and his girlfriend to “wash up” after they have used the kitchen and had a meal. The conversation was at cross-purposes until I realised that what I should have said was “do the dishes.” Nancy had visions of me insisting that they have a bath after every meal!
…And that is a great segue into the real message of this blog—resource scheduling and timely responses to requests.
One thing I notice as I sit here at Circular Quay, is the way the ferries that ply the harbour always have a birth at the wharf available. You can see that just as a ferry appears from under the Sydney Harbour Bridge, another ferry departs a wharf, leaving room for the new arrival. Most times this works like clock-work—a good example of resource scheduling, albeit in a very controlled environment. The schedulers know exactly how many ferries are in operation, and the requests for wharf space are also scheduled and controlled. There are no unforeseen calls from ferry masters to have a space urgently. It all works like a fine tuned machine.
It would be great if we could run our IT support operations in the same way, scheduling incidents and service requests at regular intervals, making sure that we always have resources available and no backlogs of unresolved tickets.
But we can’t, no matter what country you are in, incidents, like accidents, just happen and need to be resolved. Delays in resolution nearly always result in some level of customer dissatisfaction.
Talking with our clients, I have found that there are a number of things that can be done to improve client satisfaction even in our unpredictable world of IT services:
- Give continuous feedback on the status of the incident or request;
- Give realistic estimates of resolution times;
- Ensure that MACs do not deplete resources at times of high incident numbers—typically Monday morning or at the end of the month;
- Implement a good calendaring system to keep an up-to-the-minute visual watch on incidents, requests, MACs, events and resources—both human and system
- Get timely feedback from users on the resolution of an incident or request; and
- Immediately notify managers of any negative feedback. A manager’s calling a user to discuss the problem and how to improve service has turned many negative situations into positives.
And of course, they do this all with the help of our Kinetic Data Suite of applications.
Gentle readers, I know most of you are surrounded by snow, but I will end this post sending you my deepest sympathy as I go back to enjoying the sun glittering on the harbour waves and watching the ferries moving in and out of the wharves like clockwork.