What are "Big Difference Factors" in IT support?

In my two feature articles entitled "If you want "Big Difference" service improvement, ITIL is not enough" and "What's Wrong with the Resolution SLA?", I explained that if you simply implement ITIL’s Service Level Management and Incident Management processes at face value, service provision doesn't get any better.

The reason for this is that you need what I call "big difference factors".

Big difference factors are:

  • A structured approach to work handling that goes far deeper than ITIL. What does this mean? It means an enhanced system of workload prioritisation. It goes without saying, the better you're able to prioritise, the better you'll be able to meet end user needs and expectations. The system guides support staff from one activity to the next in the most efficient and effective way and allows managers to see where teams are falling behind.

  • Motivators and personal performance management. What does this mean? It means that if you can present "total effort" of individuals, i.e. all work activity, comparative to average level benchmarks, staff will be naturally motivated to maximise evidence of their performance, by closing more service tickets and recording everything they do. For a Service Desk team, this will usually include six activity types. Other than being a great motivator, managers are able to work fairly with under performing team members, homing in on exactly where the individual is falling short. Also, IT will be positioned to know and show how much work the department or service provider actually does, complementing accountability to the supported business through accurate, innovative KPI's.

  • Detailed operational overview and insight, empowering the ability to manage by exception. What does this mean? It means utilisation of Smart Dashboards that present real-time performance across all current workload, allowing support staff and managers to zero-in where action is needed. It also means having "at a glance" visibility of all service ticket activity across a team, putting managers in control of work quality.

  • Reliance on teams; less so on individuals and managers. What does this mean? It means that commonly, IT departments don't recognise the 6 key benefits that will be realised from working collectively in teams as much as is practical. This capability is enabled by enhanced prioritisation and assisted by improved event notifications.


Key outcomes and success factors would be:


  • Timeliness and reliability.

  • Demonstrably high levels of support ticket activity.

  • Service knowledge and operational control.


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