Core Technology’s Agency Listening Tours
By Greg McNeal, Chief Technology Officer
During the month of May and June 2008 selected components of the Core Technology senior management team, within the Office of Information Technology (OIT), conducted the first “annual listening tour.” The purpose of the tour was to hear first hand how well, or not so well, Core Technology is performing in the delivery of technical services and daily IT support. This was the first time we had an opportunity to communicate directly with our customers. We were asking for a report card.
We were not disappointed. The feedback was both fair and constructive. Our rankings, based on a scale of one to ten, with ten being the highest, ranged from a low of three to a high of seven. The average grade for the year was 4.5. For an organization that is just shy of three years old, this rating shows a steady improvement, as well as a solid commitment by OIT to achieve our consolidation goals while striving for high customer satisfaction ratings.
So what did we learn? The list of “to do's” is relatively short but extremely important to our continued success. The recommendations that were brought to our attention during the listening tours are the basis on which our improvements will be tracked.
The customers want us to establish realistic expectations. Some of our customers see OIT as a black hole. Once a Footprints helpdesk ticket is submitted, there is inadequate communications back to the customer to establish an expectation. This includes equipment orders as well as a request for technical support. After-hours support is also an area of concern where expectations are high. Technicians are working diligently to improve this area and have made significant progress; however there is still work to be done.
The customer wants an effective communication mechanism that will disseminate information in a timely and efficient manner at all levels of the organization, not just at the management level. They want more direct communications between the agencies and OIT. Communications is one of the toughest areas to improve. Through the effective use of newsletters, web sites, Footprints, and meetings we hope to see a steady improvement in this area. Anyone have any recommendations?
When agencies had their own on-site IT staff, much of the technical support was done without being “billed” directly. Since the OIT consolidation, these same services now are covered by “rates” – leading to the perception by some on the listening tours that IT services are more expensive now, and with less responsive service. It is a fact that technology implementation and maintenance are expensive. However, the benefits that technology provides to the agencies will result in their efficient delivery of services to the citizens of Maine . According to customer surveys and our statistics from Footprints, we continue to improve in the delivery of our services and support. We are striving to contain State spending on IT.
There is still a lot of work to do, but we heard on many occasions from our business partners that they understand our challenges and are willing to work with us toward a common goal of providing quality customer support. It was a positive experience for all of us who participated in the meetings. Thank you to those who participated, for providing us with very good and constructive criticism. For more about Core Technology Services and the services we provide, please see our website at: http://inet.state.me.us/oit/services/CoreTechnology .