On Service Delivery: Helping your Service Provider Help You

A recent story in The Wall Street Journal about the ripple effect of technology glitches at U.S. airlines  –inconveniencing thousands of travelers, spawning long airport lines, delaying or canceling flights — got me thinking.
More often than not, the root cause has been said to be some sort of maintenance or software update that goes awry.  Which got me further thinking, did these companies even know that a change was being introduced into the system that they rely on to keep their business running?
Change Management is something that should be top-of-mind when working with an internal or external service partner.  In fact, part of the engagement has to be letting the partner know what the restrictions are (i.e. no change” or “change restriction” periods).  So, for example, as the summer travel season kicks into high gear, you don’t do a possibly intrusive maintenance or risky system update during critical customer demand periods.
You can get mad or you can get smart.  AIS suggests getting smart because maintenance and system updates have to happen.
Take the extra step to make sure your service provider has a deep understanding of your business model and key processing time frames.  For example, your provider should know if your business has weekly or cyclical periods of high processing windows that make scheduling medium and high risk changes undesirable.  Your provider should maintain a database of critical processing windows for their customers and ensure that the database is reviewed during the change approval process to avoid, where possible, scheduling changes during your critical processing windows.
Here at AIS, I have made it a point to continually engage with our customers to verify current change restriction periods remain as scheduled and when necessary, obtain approval for unscheduled changes.

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