Monday, February 2, 2009

Is Your FM Technology Really Giving You What You Need?

I don’t know about you, but where I work it seems the technology dragon never takes a break. We spend a lot of effort conceptualizing, socializing, designing, building, deploying and operating various technology and information systems. Our mode is generally to self-develop the applications, allowing us to customize them to a very high level. One advantage is that we have a very rich relationship with our IT cousins. A disadvantage is that we are sometimes held hostage to their resource issues. That said, we’ve done it a lot and generally been very successful at improving services to staff and customer satisfaction.

At the end of the day, these systems are generally about two things; improving process and the customer experience, and being able to pull metrics out of the process that we can use to report and manage the service.

Here are useful questions that we use to evaluate our information needs when considering new technology requirements.

· Are we properly staffed?

· Do we have SLA’s for the service or operation under consideration?

· Are we performing to the SLA?

· Do our SLA’s roll up to the right KPI’s?

· Are we (or the service provider) correctly reporting KPI’s?

· Can customers communicate with us clearly and quickly regarding this service?

· What are they telling us?

· Do we have internal collaboration gaps that affect service quality?

· Do we really trust the metrics we do have? Are we measuring the right things in an accurate and timely manner?

· Do we speak the same language for the same service across functional and location silos?

· Are we totally transparent about the cost of the service?

Asking these questions at the outset of any technology project will always lead to a wider discussion. Sometimes the result is a set of changed assumptions, a scope revision, or even deferring or canceling the project. The intent of the dialog is to test assumptions, help develop consensus, and provide a springboard for the next step.

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