We Want #ITIL Service…And We Want It Now!

New Timico helpdesk ServiceNowMany years ago I worked at Marconi Electronic Devices in Lincoln. The purchasing manager there, a canny Scotsman,  had a certain approach when it came to the acquisition of software. His opening bid in a negotiation would be the cost of the physical tape required to carry the software to our premises.

These days software doesn’t come on a tape. In fact it often doesn’t come at all but resides somewhere remote and fluffy in “the cloud”. What’s more it can’t even be described as software – more a set of APIs and capabilities. When it comes to estimating a value for such an entity it has to be in terms of the benefit to your business.

It wasn’t so long ago that Timico was a small ISP. The company has been growing quickly to the point that had weNew Timico helpdesk ServiceNow continued without change the best efforts that kept customers happy and the wheels on the engine turning were no longer  going to be good enough.

Around a year ago we decided to invest in a Business Transformation programme that would create a world class service organisation with our customers at its heart. After all the only reason we are here is to provide service to this most important set of people.

Simplistically put this is a new system with which to run our business. Undergoing such an activity has taken up a huge amount of internal resource and not inconsiderable assistance from external experts.

The first delivery in the programme of work is a new help desk called ServiceNow.

ServiceNow helps us to enforce the ITIL disciplines for service management and reinforces our ethos for delivering exceptional customer service. Customer self service is in the pipeline and a nice touch is that we will be able to integrate this system with that of many of our customers which should add value to our proposition. New Timico helpdesk ServiceNow

Our business processes are all being reviewed and refined, so that we can operate more efficiently and eliminate the mistakes that we make. The breadth and increasing complexity of the services we provide for our customers mean that we need to raise the bar and operate to higher standards of quality and consistency.

Our systems will be more automated and integrated, so that any information can be entered once and re-used wherever required. And by aligning the new systems with the new processes, we will be able to scale the business up efficiently in line with our ambitious growth plans.

There we go. Sounds almost like a sales pitch but it isn’t really. It’s what a small company has to go through on the way to being a big company. I believe the investment, which when we have finished the initial phases of work is going to total in the £ millions, is going to be of significant value to the business. Another exciting development on the road to world dominance 🙂

Published by Trefor Davies

Liver of life, father of four, CTO of trefor.net, writer, poet, philosopherontap.com

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  1. Trefor Davies

10 Comments

  1. All sounds good Tref, but if it’s a line problem which lies within BTs purview, how exactly will this light a rocket up BTs backside?

    It’s all very well for an ISP to get their customer service systems finely tuned and I commend you and Timico for doing it, but if as an ISP you are a BT reseller and therefore somewhat dependent on BT, the whole thing may come to naught. All the customer will see is Timico failing – they don’t see BTs glacial pace and often half hearted attempts at problem solving.

  2. I disagree Tacitus – most people understand that BT is hard to handle, and do see BTs glacial pace. Even when you do get through on the right number to BT, it is normally an offshore operation and speaking to the same person twice is a row is not possible – they do not care one bit that your single xDSL line is down and that you as small business is suffering – trust me i have been here many times. In Tref’s case they (Timico) will have a very large account with BT, and BT account managers, who do care when one of their bigger customers is not getting the level of service they require, as they see Timico as a whole not as a per customer basis.

    What people want is someone with knowledge and experience to fight their corner for them, so they do not have to spend all day chasing a call centre only to be told that they are “working on it”. Even if someone calls you with bad news or to tell you there is not update just yet one would be expected in the next minutes/hour etc, that is better than silence and being left in the dark knowing nothing. Communication is key.

    Have been in both a none ITIL work environment and in a ITIL work environment i strongly prefer the latter. You can follow a process, the team can follow a process and you all sing from the same song sheet. SLA are met, incidents dealt with better, customers get better service and managers, account mangers are more happy.

    BE.

  3. Whilst I’ve not worked in an ITIL environment I have worked in a similar business process environment and agree they do help. I wasn’t criticising Timico in any way as I think it’s a good thing they are doing this. My point was that in the end, to a greater or lesser extent, they are dependent on an external organisation – BT – who are outside their control.

    Nonetheless I take your point regarding size carrying influence. It does point to the days of the smaller ISP being numbered, particularly if they are primarily a BT reseller and are attempting to cater to the consumer market.

  4. Thanks for the comments both. Interesting discussion. My view is that size is very much going to be important. Without size a business won’t be able to invest in technology and systems needed for this cloudy world. That isn’t to say that there is no room for small specialists but these guys will definitely struggle if they are focussed on consumers and will probably sell mainly to smaller business.

  5. concerning on the level of security around your screen shots… showing customer tickets, customer account names and numbers and the URL for service now. Also showing how slow it takes to fix different groups of tickets KPI report assuming this is live date. I assume ITIL has nothing about security management then!

  6. I have worked in a network the the WAN is 100% owned and controlled via BT. It was large UK local government – if one of the sites went down for want ever reason, an alert was generated by both BT and the companies monitoring platforms and a ticket would log a ticket on each with the ticket number, site location and contact details. For example if i came in one morning and saw a site was down via the monitoring platform i would call the site ensure they have power, do the BT power on power off, check filters etc. Then call BT at a UK call centre and quote my details and ask for a SLA and fix time. An engineer (frames/ASDL/PSTN) would be sent that morning or remote hand would stable the line – if that did not happen and a resolve was not given by the time they quoted, i would call the BT account manager and ask him to deal with it – and he would period. BT could not afford to loose the vast amount of money they were paid.

    BT can be controlled, you just have to have the right amount of credit! Indeed size matters. 😉

    BE.

  7. I’m not with them but it seems Andrews and Arnold (AAISP) have built themselves an enviable reputation for handling BT!
    If Timico are able to build the same reputation it can only do them good 🙂

    NB. I’ve tried a couple of times to find a ‘Service Status’ page for Timico – and failed.
    ‘timico service status’ is a suggested Google search term so I guess it means lots of people have used it but unless I’m being very dim (quite likely!) then it’s not obvious where it is!

    For me seeing how companies report and communicate problems is a good indicator of how things work (or not) so it’s something I’m always interested in. Tref can you let me know the link please?

    1. We did have a service status page but it was not very well managed and didn’t give anything in the way of useful service information. Because of this we took it down with a view to replacing it with a better solution.

      In the interim period customers have been able to register with their account manager to subscribe for alerts.

      We recently took on another web developer to do some much needed improvement to the Timico website and it should come as no surprise that the first thing on his jobs list is to sort out a service status page. This will be linked to the Service Now system to provide live, real time service statuses.

      This should be going live next month and I will do a blog post when it has been launched.

      As far as AAISP are concerned they are good guys and very passionate about the way they manage BT. I know their CEO Adrian and he is legendary in the industry in the way he terrorises BT.

      Our system when finished will also have significant hooks into BTs back office system. This includes automated provisioning, fault reporting, line testing and status alerts and updates that will automatically filter though to Service Now.

      Much of this is standard stuff actually but is ultimately going to be more visible both internally at Timico and externally to our customers.

      Hope that helps.

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