Service Delivery in a Framework

Find out how Dell Technologies is using a framework for service delivery.

Helping the customer by maintaining and optimizing IT infrastructure is not a heroic act of a single trusted advisor. Although in a unique relationship, this might seem the case, the services delivered are often based upon a set of customer experiences.

To ensure best practices are duplicable, companies gather them into a library and reshape them into general procedures for practices such as Problem or Service Continuity Management.

Service Value Chain – What is ADF

Within the Account Management Delivery Framework (ADF), we have related a dozen key practices into our Service Value Chain (SVC). ADF is based on successful customer experiences, servicing customer’s needs and progress improving their solutions. These key practices are divided into five pillars: demand, engage, deliver, serve and value.

Demand: With customer relationships, we can understand the business objectives and IT requirements of complex solutions. We establish and maintain key contacts at the right level in the organization and define and improve support services deliverables and tools automation.

Engage: With collaboration, we proactively identify gaps between customer’s IT needs and Dell Technologies offerings. We determine common objectives for practice alignment.

Deliver: With prevention, we deliver to progress operations efficiency and automate system maintenance, leading improvement activities within customer’s environments. We review our performance of best practices adoption and delivery.

Serve: We support to serve our customers through a single point of accountability for Dell Support Services and report on the deliverables by reviewing ProSupport Plus best practices, ensuring proactive support services and field operations. 

Value: We make our customers happy.

For example, as an outcome of patching a hard drive for different customers having the very same incidents, a trend analysis is initiated. Another department can investigate the root cause of this behavior trend and conclude that the fault originated from a certain production batch. To avoid further issues, a pro-active field replacement would be a permanent corrective action for potential affected IT infrastructure solutions containing drives of this batch. By replacing those, potential issues can be prevented.

Combining the above-described practices, incident, problem management, change control and field operations into a chain creates additional value towards Dell Technologies’ customers.

In comparison with the ITIL4© Service Value Chain, the elements of “demand” and “value” have been integrated so that certain practices around onboarding and customer satisfaction are integrated elements within our account management services.

Woman working remotely on her Dell XPS 9310 laptop.

Differing approaches based upon the complexity

Depending on the complexity of the customer relationship, different practices are used to manage the customer. For some customers a simple review could be appropriate. For others a deeper discussion on a particular practice would better fit.  To ensure the right approach for each customer our key practices have been categorized into three lanes – base, core and advanced.

Certain key practices, valid for all types of customers, are categorized in the base lane. Other practices, mainly used for deepening the relationship, are in the core lane. The advance lane is a set of deliverables which can be used to grow the relationship.

Together with the key practices pillars we have a 2-dimensional SVC in place, embedded in a kind of matrix.

Scaling by tools and resources – what are technical layers

Defining and categorizing procedures is good and when in- and outputs are linking the procedures, value can be created repeatedly. However, tools and resources are required to scale-out. To ensure an end-to-end service account management towards customers, best-practices should not only be valid for a certain IT line of business (LOB).

Especially within larger companies, Dell Technologies products include client and enterprise solutions. Laptops, workstations, servers, switches and storage devices are all covered by service management. Based upon the technology demand, different tools and resources are required for the same practice. System-maintenance for clients might be far more automated, as this is the case for complex storage clusters. Think about your monthly auto-patches on your laptop versus planned data center maintenance windows.

To ensure that the five-pillared SVC is capable to support different offerings and LOB’s, technical layers are included:

    • Organizational practices
    • Technical management practices and
    • Infrastructure and platform management

Organizational practices structure different offerings and roles, the two others are around tools and resources. The latter one contains the external customer facing tools for the different practices, such as TechDirect, SupprtAssist for Clients, Dell Command Suite, MyService360 or CloudIQ.

By bolstering the SVC with different layers, the framework is now emphasizing value, complexity and technology.

Focus on areas by value pathways

In addition to those dimensions, certain focus areas need to be ensured as well. Operational excellence, customer sentiment and advanced planning are just some of them. To amplify hereupon, certain practices are combined into pathways within the framework.

The customer sentiment pathway, for example, is all about asking questions and listening to the customer. What is the customer saying with the feedback in the survey? Do I understand what was said and could I propose suggestions to overcome customer’s current challenge? Or should I ask for more information?

To help create the added value required, elements have been added to the toolkit to enable a Service Account Manager or Technical Account Manager to ask and listen again and again. Demand is evolving over time and what was valid for the customer a few years ago might be out of date today.

What’s in it for me/customer/company?

By embedding these pathways within the framework, value can be created. When answering the question “What’s in it for me?”, value can be added for stakeholders. By extending the same question to customer and to company, all three perspectives can be reflected, and a triple win is achieved.

In a nutshell, framing our deliverables and backing these up with tools and resources, a framework has been created for Dell Technologies ProSupport Plus customers. By adding value pathways and checking what is in them, service delivery is not only based upon the experiences of the past, but is also progressing towards new requirements of the customer.

Quinten Ockers

About the Author: Quinten Ockers

Quinten Pieter Ockers has been Service Account Manager at Dell Technologies since 2010 and has been active worldwide for eight years. He serves customers worldwide to manage and optimize the experience of ProSupport Plus services in each country. His main goal is to work with people all over the world, to get to know different cultures and to support them in such a way that IT services work everywhere.