ITIL like an IPod
By Leigh Wilkinson, OIT
In a January 20, 2010 article published in CIO update, David Moskowitz compares the customer experience in an ITIL based organization to that of the customer experience in using an Apple IPod. The full article is located here . David Moskowitz is a principal consultant at Productivity Solutions, a Philadelphia-based consulting firm that helps its clients thrive in an eBusiness Web-based economy. He is a certified ITIL expert and instructor and an ITSM consultant. In these capacities, he has guided many successful projects.
Why is Apple the largest leading seller of Mp3 players? IPods weren't the first to market, their pricing certainly isn't the lowest in cost per GB storage and IPod batteries eventually wear out and need to be replaced through the factory authorized service (or the IPod can be discarded in favor of a newer, ‘cooler' model). Those ubiquitous white headphones are far from high quality and have sparked a profitable after market for replacement headphones that look and sound better. So how come they continue to lead the market?
Apple IPods are designed to give the customers what they want – functionality and design. Experts agree that IPods are intuitive to use and easy to operate with supporting software such as ITunes. There are features embedded with IPod models that the customers never knew they wanted until they tried them and now just can't live without. (I was thrilled with my IPod Nano until Santa brought me an IPod Touch. Now I can't live without wireless connectivity and streaming content! ) Apple innovates and integrates functionality into each new IPod design they produce. In 2003 they opened the ITunes service to ensure that customers had an optimal experience in loading music and videos to their IPods. Apple reported 2009 sales of 8.7 million IPhones, 21 million IPods and 2.5 billion songs sold over ITunes.
How does this relate to ITIL? Easy – ITIL is supposed to produce similar customer experiences and delight for IT services. ITIL is IT organized to provide a service orientation that provides value to our customers, the government partners in the agencies we serve.
As David Moskowitz states in his article:
The value proposition is understanding what the customer values (facilitated outcomes) and then delivering/meeting the value required. Customers don't care about the technology inherent in a solution. It's not about building a better mousetrap (the technology). It is about the figuring out how to make the mice less visible (solve the problem; the reason someone wants a mousetrap).
Services are measured end to end. Everything in between, from a user's perspective, just has to work, which, don't groan, brings us back to the iPod. What Apple did was make the entire end to end experience seamless, easy, and not about the technology. Although there is a lot of technology built into the iPod, the technology doesn't get in the way, it just works.
OIT has the same goal – we want to provide services that solve the problems of our government partners in the agencies. We want to make it seamless and easy for our customers – we don't want the technology to get in the way – it should just work. In order to provide these services, we will build on the ITIL best practices to enhance our capabilities, measure our performance and improve costs. All along the way we need to ensure that we are keeping the customer experience simple and rewarding by anticipating and resolving their business problems in the simplest and most satisfying way.