The day started badly for Steve, president and owner of Qs Inc. As he walked in the company door he was informed that the network was down again. He knew that his staff had already informed his IT service provider, XYZ Consulting (not its real name). But who knew for sure when they would show up or if they'd really be able to solve the problem since this would be the third time XYZ had been called for a network issue in as many weeks. He was especially upset since he'd just purchased and installed a new server, as XYZ had recommended. Talking with the people at XYZ was like talking to aliens; they just didn't seem to understand each other.
Steve looked around the office at many of his staff sitting idle. The few that were busy were on the phone with customers, trying to explain why they couldn't help them at the moment. It was a business-owner's nightmare.
Steve decided to take action. He gave John Kramer at Ascend IT Solutions a quick call to discuss the services that they provide. John told Steve that his network problems were primarily the result of a win-lose service model and poor processes. That is, XYZ makes money by fixing broken networks; broken networks are a good thing for XYZ. In other words, a win for XYZ means a loss for Steve. Furthermore, John pointed out, poorly defined and/or poorly executed processes—as well as a lack of standards and best practices—result in inferior and inconsistent service delivery. As the conversation went on, Steve began to realize that no matter how committed XYZ was to fixing his problems, things wouldn't change for the better.
John explained how his service model was based on win-win for Steve's company and Ascend IT Solutions. Ascend is incentivized to ensure that the network is functioning, because Ascend loses money when a client's network is down. Steve was also very interested in the idea of developing a Strategic Technology Roadmap™ based on the long-term goals he had for his company. That way he could be assured that there would be good alignment between his technology investments and business goals.
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