The Best of CSI, Part 1

We conclude our "Best of" blog series with Continual Service Improvement.
CSI and the 7 Step Improvement Process
Originally Published on January 24, 2012

I would like to revisit the 7 step improvement process from the perspective of CSI, since there has been a slight (logical) modification to it.  The concept of measurement, what we measure, gathering the data , processing it into understandable formats and then being able to analyze it, is fundamental in our ability to perform (CSI)  Continual Service  Improvement as an overall vision and in support of the business need and the underpinning of tactical and operational goals.

1. Identify the strategy for improvement: (Plan) Talk to the business, to your customers and to IT management.  Utilize your service catalog and the associated service level requirements to define a starting point.  The question “What is important to the business?” must be answered.  Look to the corporate vision, mission, goals and objectives.  Identify the IT vision, mission, goals and objectives.  Are these properly aligned? Tie in the Critical Success Factors.  Are these being met?  Is value creation happening? (Wisdom)
2. Define what you will measure: (Plan) This directly relates to the organizations strategic, tactical and operational goals.  It is in this step where we actually define what can be measured.  If a gap exists between what can be measured and what we need to measure, then a gap analysis must be completed and then finalize an actual measurement plan.  CSI can identify opportunities for improvement. (Data)
3. Gather the data: (Do) Data can be gathered from multiple sources.   Quality is the key objective of gathering the data for CSI.   The emphasis is not on assuring real time performance (that is an operational perspective) but on identifying where improvements can be made to existing levels of service, or IT performance. (Data)
4. Process the data: (Act) Data is processed in alignment with Critical Success Factors (CSF) and Key Performance Indicators (KPI).  If necessary we can align this data all the way up to the vision.  The goal here is to process the raw data into an understandable format that can be rationalized and made consistent.  We begin to create information.  After this we can begin to analyze the information and begin to make the essential comparisons. (Information)
5. Analyze the data: (Check) In this step the information begins to be transformed into meaningful knowledge of the events that are impacting the organization.  We can begin to define any trends that may be happening within our environment.  We can also determine if these trends are positive or negative.  It is important that we ensure that proper analysis takes place, to support our future recommendations before we present this data to the business. (Knowledge)
6. Present and use the information: (Check) At this point we present and use the information in whatever way is necessary for the target audience.  It is imperative that you understand your audience and the purpose for which the report is being given.  The purpose and the value being created must be properly articulated.  This will prevent the gap that often happens between what IT reports and what is of interest to the business.  This will underpin our recommendations and assist the business in defining the next steps. (Knowledge)
7. Implement improvements: (Act) Here the knowledge gained is used.  We can optimize, improve and corrects services and processes.  The issues have been identified and solutions can now be applied.  Since each stage of the lifecycle has limited resources it is also here where we prioritize which improvements can actually be implemented.  Once done, new baselines can be established and the process can begin again.


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