I’m a fan of interesting words – and a fan of great customer service – and the word “ubiquitous” seems to be linked with both. When you read articles by the butlers of the world – they will reiterate that great service comes from ubiquity and from being proactive; anticipating needs.
IT, however different from a manservant, still shares some common ground; the very best IT groups seem invisible, yet are there when you need them. It goes beyond just keeping the systems running and problems suppressed – it includes being able to quickly and effectively respond when problems *do* come up.
This has long been a source of frustration for IT leaders over the years. When you’re excellent, no one talks about you. There’s no recognition of “negative space”. So how do you analyze where your IT organization is, relatively speaking? Customer satisfaction surveys are one method, but they don’t indicate well how much you’re contributing to your business.
Last week, I was sitting in a client meeting, thinking about the mountain of work we had performed, and the smaller mountain of work we still had in front of us, feeling just a touch sorry for myself. Then the client sidetracked for a minute, and started talking about their intranet; how it was old, very static, not very helpful, etc., etc., and did we have thoughts on how it could be improved?
That’s when the light went on. Two months ago, this client was talking about having basic connectivity issues – drives missing, Exchange Server full, etc. A month ago, it was questioning the backup strategy, asking about PC/Software inventories. Now, they’re talking about the Intranet.
This follows – almost identically – my approach to IT based on Maslov’s Hierarchical Needs – I’ll talk about that in another blog – but suffice to say that you can gain a good deal of insight into how your organisation is doing by listening to what people are talking about. Are they talking about the basics? Are they talking about things that you get a bit embarrassed by – knowing you’re not providing them? Or are they talking about items that mean your IT group can be impacting the business at the highest levels?
And more importantly – over time – are they talking about the same things, over and over – or are they talking about Different Things? If they were talking last year about having an Intranet, this year they should be talking about Business Intelligence.
And that – if only anecdotal – is the definition that your IT group is succeeding.