Business Service Reliability: Correlating the Customer Experience and Business Outcomes
December 12, 2013
Tony Davis
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A recent poll on Business Service Reliability (BSR) found that IT needs to put an increased focus on managing and measuring the customer experience to improve business outcomes.

The poll — conducted by IDG Research Services on behalf of CA Technologies — sought to determine how organizations measure both BSR and the customer experience that IT provides. Business Service Reliability is a new approach to helping IT transform by providing a clearly-defined framework for managing and measuring customer interactions.

The majority of respondents (58 percent) are using a combination of surveys and other metrics (e.g. application downtime and call-center volume) to measure the customer experience.

Just over one quarter (26 percent) reported that IT delivers an exceptional experience. The majority of respondents (61 percent) classified the customer experience as adequate.

The remainder described it as inconsistent – the customer experience meets the expectations of the business some, but not all, of the time.

Lack of a single unified view of application health and customer experience (45 percent) was cited as the top obstacle to providing an exceptional customer experience, followed by inability to link end-user transaction issues to infrastructure, application and network components (35 percent), and difficulty prioritizing application issues and problems based on business impact (35 percent).

Improved customer satisfaction, loyalty and acquisition (65 percent) were chosen as the top benefits of Business Service Reliability, followed by faster delivery of new services (45 percent) and increased productivity (45 percent).

Increased communication with the lines of business to determine where the problems lie was the number one action item for improving Business Service Reliability, followed by investments in Infrastructure Management and Application Performance Management.

IT organizations need to better understand and optimize the customer's end-user experience with business services, rather than merely tracking metrics and thresholds for the various servers, storage, network and software components that support end-to-end service delivery. While components can be up 99.99 percent of the time, a customer may still have a bad experience with a service.

In today’s competitive market, customer experience has become one of the most critical ways to differentiate a business. By focusing on the 5 nines of customer experience rather than the 5 nines of availability, IT can help ensure every link in the service delivery chain is not only available, but is performing as intended and interacting appropriately to consistently deliver successful customer interactions.

By taking a formulaic approach to quantifying key success metrics, Business Service Reliability enables IT to concentrate on making sure every customer interaction is successful. IT organizations that succeed at managing the holistic service, rather than just the availability of supporting components, can deliver greater value to the business and spend less of their time clearing irrelevant alerts from their monitoring consoles.

ABOUT Tony Davis

Tony Davis is a 23 year veteran of the IT industry with a specialty in IT service reliability and strategy, currently serving as a Vice President of Solution Strategy & Sr. Consulting Fellow for CA Technologies North American Service Assurance business. Davis is the author of If My Availability is So Good, Why Do My Customers Feel So Bad?, a pragmatic guide to the 5 nines of customer experience.

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