Those of you who follow trends in service desk methodology will have heard of “intelligent swarm”.
For those of you who haven’t heard of it, this blog looks at the commonalities and differences between this methodology and Agile Service Delivery, the other current evolutionary trend which we have discussed in our blog on agile service delivery.
For those who’ve never heard of it, our take on Intelligent Swarm (IS) is it’s:
- A paradigm shift from hierarchic issue escalation to peer collaboration; where
- Skilled employees feel empowered and responsible to the client holistically, not just within their stage in a process; and
- Hand-offs are replaced by seeking out partners for collaboration to resolve issues; supplemented by
- Self-learning and skills acquisition: within a
- Knowledge centric environment
All underpinned by a culture of feedback, flexibility and continuous improvement in terms of measurable client outcomes. And this, in turn, needs a support platform that guarantees clean metrics and places everyone in the same collaborative space.
Headline: “It’s about people and process where tools are the enablers not the solution”
The differences between this approach and Agile Service Delivery (ASD) are very fine indeed. The main one being that they start from a different imperative.
ASD preaches the elimination of hiding behind process through ownership, knowledge, empowered employees making their own decisions on priority, pulling the issues from a stack based on criticality balanced by their ability to own and resolve the issue. It also espouses continuous feedback, and places people ahead of process. The key difference from historic working practices is the proactive nature of issue management to replace responding to work you are given by someone who allocates work out, mostly by availability rather than expertise or need.
IS focuses on eliminating the hand-offs within a traditional 1st line/2nd line/3rd line support model, but again by delivering intelligent ownership, responsibility and collaboration.
Both need a very similar implementation path, building on the need for cultural changes, process assessment, re-design, implementation and on-going feedback and learning.
To us, these two movements share far more than they differ.
Particularly, from a PSA perspective, both have identical system needs:
- A platform that models issues, assets, client data and importantly easily accessible enterprise knowledge;
- A platform where employees can make informed decisions on work that needs doing and in what order;
- A platform where employees can collaborate to solve problems with clear ownership maintained at all times and where the client is permanently (and mostly automatically) kept informed of progress;
- A platform where categorisation can be as automated and touch free as possible:
- A platform where employees can build their own topic and priority queues populated by rules that are largely automatically triggered on inbound traffic; and
- A platform that makes knowledge capture easy, structured and connected to check-lists within ticket workflows
Harmony is such a platform.
About the Author: Harmony Business Systems Ltd (HBS) is the company behind HarmonyPSA, the most complete cloud PSA software on the market. Developed with functionality to cater for even the most complex needs of MSPs, VARs, ISVs and Professional Services organisations, HarmonyPSA truly is the next generation of PSA systems. HBS is an independent company based in the UK. Follow HarmonyPSA on Twitter or LinkedIn