I had a brain wave yesterday… (!) All of a sudden it dawned on me that a ‘want’ is not the same as a ‘need’… It is quite OK to have ‘wants’ as long as you understand that you can easily live without any of them. (Although a friend of mine commented that ‘wants’ are really ‘needs’ at some level, which I thought was really funny!)
So what does this mean for Service Level Management?
Well, we all know that we need to discuss with our customers what their needs are and when you read the ITIL books there is a differentiation between stated needs and natural needs. Needs are important when we discuss the Services and Service Levels with our customers. When we discuss new services with the customer we need to find out the Needs and needs levels, in other words: Service Requirements, of the customer for this service. But, if Service Requirements Statements are about the customer’s needs, then why do we so often end up debating the customers ‘wants’?
Do you really NEED 100% availability of your email capability? Or is that a WANT?
How critical is this IT Service for the continuity of your business processes?
For some clients the answer to this question is: “It is 100% mission critical. All our business processes start with an email”. Well, in that case you talk about a NEED. But I’d like to argue that in most cases email capability is a WANT and not so much a NEED. We can still sell without email… we can send faxes or, hang on – this is a novel idea: call people on the phone and meet them in person!! (Yes, again – not possible for some organizations, but very true for most…)
Don’t get me wrong… I have nothing against WANTS. After all, I am a girl who loves to shop 😉 But it has to be clear to both IT supplier and customer that we are discussing WANTS and not NEEDS, and that additional WANTS have a pricetag. Especially when it interacts with the mission critical services and systems.
Maybe we could re-write the ITIL books! Rather than talking about a business Service Catalogue and a Technical Service Catalogue, we need to develop a NEEDS catalogue and a WANTS/ Nice to have’s Catalogue.
Do you think that would make it easier for the average Service Catalogue Manager and Service Level Manager out there??