AMS vs DevOps – Month End Closing

It is month end closing! The first day of the month is usually the financial closing month as well. From a system view, there is always a heavy server load from last minute orders or batch job running monthly. This usually cause a whole lot of recurrent issues. I will do a quick comparison on how AMS (Application Managed Support) and DevOps view this standard issue.

AMS (Application Managed Support)
  • AMS will wait for issues to occur and await instructions to react and rectify the issue.
  • More support tickets will mean more job done.
  • The issue are addressed at face value. There will not be RCA (Root Cause Analysis) unless requested.
  • AMS resolve symptoms to ensure low severity and faster SLA
  • AMS are measured by SLA from support ticket. It is usually worthwhile to repeat same ticket type as response time will be fast due to known issues.
DevOps
  • Problems and risks are mitigated with business and system development knowledge.
  • Zero support tickets is the key objective to system stability.
  • DevOps conduct RCA for all issues and proposed enhancements or BPR (Business Process Re-engineering) resolve the root cause.
  • DevOps adopt short term and long term fix to prevent further recurring issues.
  • DevOps can be measured by low support tickets and positive Customer Experience (CX).

From the comparison, you can see the obvious benefits of transforming your AMS to DevOps. However, there is a reality that DevOps are much costly than AMS. So, which approach should you be going for?

Book Review: Competing in a Flat World: Building Enterprises for a Borderless World

The article on network orchestrators reminded me of my first book on this topic – Competing in a Flat World: Building Enterprises for a Borderless World. The networked economy and networked effect are research of topic then. This book focus heavily on a case study on the logistics company called Li & Fung. No spoilers below.

Source: Amazon
  • This book provides a case study approach to network orchestration.
  • You can have a look on the complexity world of logistics.
  • Logistics involves a complex network and mesh of tacit and explicit knowledge and relationships.
  • You can see how competitors are no longer a single entities but a network of alliances and coopetitors.
  • Organisation are leaning towards affective factors like brand loyalty, trust and relationships.

Overall, it is a smooth read and not so academic in nature. If you like case study, this is the book for you.

Measuring Satisfaction

The measurement of satisfaction have always been elusive. Many application system have not caught onto measuring satisfaction except for gaming. This is because gaming rely heavily on affective feeling. It is good to see your in-game character or account showing positive health or satisfaction. How should the mainstream adopt such format to measure satisfaction? These are some of ideas to get the product owner thinking.

  • Allow Satisfaction to be quantified and be calculated like Brand Value.
  • Make it simple to configure for satisfaction measurement.
  • Show clear display of satisfaction measures.
  • Consider satisfaction for cultural and localisation.
  • Let your CX (Customer Experience) team own the satisfaction index.
  • Benchmark against your country Satisfaction Index e.g. Customer Satisfaction Index of Singapore (CSISG).

CX Team

Customer Experience (CX) teams and careers are sprouting here and there. One wonder on what exactly does CX really do? How do you really embark on a career that is dependent on Experience? Although CX aims to bridge all touchpoints for customer, we are still lacking in knowledge of what CX really encompasses. This is a brief understanding of the key points on CX.

CX Lifecycle

CX Lifecycle is a simple method to model an end to end relationship with the organisation. It is widely studied in CRM (Customer Relationship Management). CX system are touted to be an upgrade of CRM. However, it suffers from similar issue for CRM because many backend and vendor system are not integrated or networked to form a complete lifecycle. Without networked information, the lifecycle cannot be view in completeness.

CX Indicators

Like my study on overall consumer satisfaction, the satisfaction indicators seek to measure the entire CX lifecycle. The creation of these indicators often involve many puzzles to be addressed. CX team must take ownership to plug the gaps or get these measurements. Often, CX team only support the engagement and monitoring process of these indicators. The ownership of the indicators still remains with individual application owners. This reduce the CX effectiveness when the driver and ownership is not from CX team.

It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.

Warren Buffett
Continue reading “CX Team”

The Challenges of Business IT Alignment

Business IT Alignment is a necessity in today economy. With the speed of technology deployment and Agile approach, features can now be deployed daily. Often, business are frustrated by IT over lack of innovation. On the other hand, IT are annoyed over the changing requirements. This is a quick summary of these challenges I encountered over the years.

  1. Timing is key. Consistent alignment is recommended.
  2. Manage stakeholders expectation, not user expectations.
  3. What you want is not what you need. Wants and needs is a constant battle for alignment.
  4. Business or IT Sign off is not alignment. You will need communication more than a sign off.
  5. Remember to build for unarticulated needs. What you cannot see is could be the key to alignment. Dig further.
  6. Speak a common language. Carrier, trucker and vendor may mean the same thing.
  7. Giving in to business or IT does not mean you are aligned. Alignment means a common understanding.
  8. Learn to design your solution for alignment and adapt for change.
  9. Always include political factor as part of alignment process.
  10. If you cannot be aligned, it means that neither Business or IT is ready. Do not come to alignment for the sake of alignment. It is common not to be aligned.

Customer Experience 101

Customer Experience (CX) is an emerging trend in many organisations. Sales, customer service and customer support are being renamed into Customer Experience teams. However, are we ready for CX?

What is Customer Experience?

Customer Experience is a holistic management of customer touchpoints from infancy to “forever”. It is an integrated view to provide a positive and lifelong effect on overall consumer satisfaction. The experience combine the cognitive and affective state of mind to increase expectations beyond the customers needs. In layman terms, it is to make customers so happy and satisfied that they engage in a lifelong relationship with the organization. One such company that comes to mind would be Apple.

Why Customer Experience (CX)?

CX sounds like an idealist view and one wonders how this differs from a combination of presale, sales, customer support and customer service. As mentioned in my previous study of overall consumer satisfaction, there are different aspects of satisfaction components in consumer. All these satisfaction parts may lie in different parts of the organisation and beyond like third party vendors and logistics providers. CX aims to unite network together from these disparate systems, service providers and organisations into a single integrated experience.

Reality Bites

In reality, how many of us have really experience CX? It is common for loyal customers to be let down by services that are beyond the organisation such as third party logistics and vendors because these information are not shared. For many years, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) have been touted as the game changer for capturing customer relationships to achieve similar objectives. CX may suffer from the same verdict as CRM if many of these customer data remains in silo. Data analytics, machine learning and many other cloud technologies looks promising to change and make CX a success. By then, what will CX be rename to?

A lesson from The IT Crowd

Hello. IT. Have you tried turning it off and on again?

Source: The IT Crowd
Speaker: Roy Trenneman

On numerous occasions, we have a one liner requirement that require us to implement the request in our application system. Getting such a requirement always lead me to seek solace in a the famous funny classic show “The IT Crowd”. The phrase is one of my favorite in the show because I always feel like a reboot could be great!

Eager to Please

We are sometimes the result of our own action. It is natural to please the customers without know why they need it. Usually, the person conveying the message are not a suitable person to articulate the customer needs. Thus, do we “shoot the messenger”? Unfortunately, our old code of chivalry have prevents us from doing so. So, what are the next course of action we should consider?

Customer is Not always Right

Firstly, the organization must understand that customer is no longer always right. It is interesting to find that many demands are actually made from internal to implementation team with the thought that giving what customers wanted will please the customers. In summary, the purpose of giving is to please the customer. It is time to throw our old ways and consider a new way of handling requests.

Shooting the Messenger

A request should not always be translated to a task or action. This enlightenment means we must drop our chivalry and “shoot the messenger. Of course, this is not literally and meant that we must drop the practice of the reliance of passing the messages. With Cloud technologies, data can be easily be obtained to confirm or disprove requests. The key is to understand what customer really needs.

Customer Experience

After “shooting the messenger”, organizations shall turn towards a new role called Customer Experience (CX). This role is like an ambassador who learns, understand and even feel the customer wants and needs. The role go beyond passing message to needs analysis and “deep learning” to provide a positive experience aka consumer satisfaction (You could refer to my initial study on overall consumer satisfaction). Deep learning requires capture of data points to measure with the purpose of improving customer experience. So, is your organization agile enough to take the step to “shoot your messenger” and transform to Customer Experience?

Meanwhile, I can only stick to Netflix watching The IT Crowd.

A basic CX read, Customer Experience: What, How and Why Now