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    by Published on 7th July 2013 10:27 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Methods and Approaches,
    3. Templates,
    4. Quality Tools

    Here is a draft quality plan oriented towards a SME consultancy. In order to bid for a government contract you will need one of these in place. The first section is shown below:

    1. Purpose
    The requirement for the quality plan are driven by the need to achieve customer ...
    by Published on 24th June 2013 07:53 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Consulting Tools

    Developing the Business Case

    Some Notes on Business Cases and IT Strategy

    Strategic Justification
    This key deliverable, completed after final selection and confirmation of the IT Strategy, is the business case for the strategy as a whole, and an evaluation of its impact on the enterprise and its relevance to the enterprise's Major Business Programs & Directions.

    The key features are:
    • Risk,
    • Feasibility,
    • Levels of investment,
    • Tangible and intangible benefits,
    • Responsibility for the realization of both costs and benefits.

    Overall cost, benefit and resource plans are included. Policies for the future financial management of IT within the enterprise are also included.

    Benefits by Business Program

    This deliverable lists the tangible and intangible benefits that have already been identified as potential benefits in the Major Business Programs & Directions. They are quantified as far as possible and related to the achievement of business objectives in the major business programs. Benefit targets are defined and the responsibility for achieving them allocated. This will form the basis of allocating benefits to individual projects in the Cost/Benefit Analysis for each option being assessed.
    The deliverable includes:
    • Confirmed Opportunities
    • Benefits Related to Business Processes
    • Quantified Benefits Related to Business Programs
    • Benefit Targets and Responsibilities for Achievement
    Strategic Cost/Benefit Analysis
    This deliverable, developed for each of the options being evaluated, is a detailed statement of costs and benefits. It is a time phased investment and benefit/cash flow analysis. Costs are typically built up from the component level in the proposed IT strategy. Benefits are derived for each component as it relates to the achievement of business objectives in the Major Business Programs & Directions.
    It is supported by:
    • Cost Breakdown
    • Allocation of Benefits
    • Risk/Contingency Adjustments
    • Cash Flow Analysis
    • Sensitivity Analysis
    • Financial and Strategic Priorities

    REM
    by Published on 20th June 2013 11:27 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Quality Tools,
    3. Service Quality

    Measuring Service Quality

    When determining whether service delivery is meeting service expectations, it is useful to seek the views of service users. Quite often, an organisation will use a SERVQUAL questionnaire to gain the views of service users.

    SERVQUAL (Service Quality) is a self-administered questionnaire designed to measure how customers view/judge service quality. Parasuraman et al (1994) defined service quality as the degree of discrepancy between customers’ normative expectations for the service and their perceptions of the service performance.

    Parasuraman made the assumption that customers judge service quality by making a comparison between their expectation of the service that they should receive and their perceptions of the service that they actually receive.

    Differences between expectations and actual performance are referred to as 'gaps'. The SERVQUAL instrument can be used to measure any or all of the following five gaps.

    Gap 1: Consumer expectation - management perception gap
    Understanding the difference between consumer expectations and management perceptions of customer expectations.
    Gap 2: Service quality specification gap
    The different service standard between management perceptions of consumer expectations and service quality specifications.
    Gap 3: Service delivery gap
    The difference of service performance between service quality specifications and the service actually delivered.
    Gap 4: External communication gap
    The difference of communications between service delivery and what is communicated about the service to customers.
    Gap 5: Expected service - perceived service gap
    The difference between expected service and perceived service from customers’ point of view. Based upon these gaps, five behavioural dimensions of service quality have been identified and are now used in most studies using the SERVQUAL approach.

    The 5 Service Quality Dimensions.

    1. Tangibles - Physical facilities equipment and appearance of personnel
    2. Reliability - Ability to perform the service with the promised dependability
    3. Responsiveness - Providing a prompt service
    4. Assurance - Knowledge and courtesy of employees
    5. Empathy - caring and individualised attention to customers

    Users of the SERVQUAL questionnaire rate questions on a Likert scale (1 = strongly disagree to 7 = strongly agree). The SERVQUAL instrument comprises 22 statements used to assess service quality across the five dimensions outlined in Table 2 with each statement used twice - once to measure expectations and once to measure perceptions.

    I have attached an example of a generic SERVQUAL questionnaire as a PDF feel free to use. Also I have set up an free on-line version that Bizface members can use for their own assessments - you can find it here: BizFaceSurvey ::
    by Published on 4th June 2013 11:50 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Service Quality

    Service Credits in a SLA good or bad idea?

    In terms of a general principle it is not recommended to build into an SLA a so-called ‘service credit’ process. In such schemes, when the service measure falls below the agreed levels, a form of credit to the buyer is given.
    As an example, a payment schedule is defined for, say, a 98 per cent service level and, should service be 95 per cent, a lower price band becomes applicable – I have also seen SLAs with performance credits, with increased revenue for a supplier should the ‘standard’ performance be exceeded. There are several reasons why this is old-fashioned and bad practice.
    • First, the point of a service level is to define the required levels needed to support the business and no more. Improvement levels over time can be defined but the service needed is what the business should pay for – if it is exceeded you may have to increase your targets, but certainly not pay more for just doing the job.
    • Second, with a service credit clause you have no leverage over the supplier to fix the problem. The focus should be to restore the service to the agreed levels as soon as possible.

    Rather than a service credit clause, it is far better to put in place governance that forces the supplier to act to fix the issue, perhaps to the extent of the customer being able to call in independent consulting advice at the supplier’s expense to support service resolution. This use of an ‘independent’ adviser can be useful in monitoring the overall value of the outsource deal as it matures through its stages. It is important to include this in the SLA and agree the principles and ground rules for such an ‘independent’ with the outsource partner.

    Your staff will often see the problems much later down the line if you get it wrong, as one of our research participants said:

    Because the company have these people, they’ve got professionals who only write contracts, and they know how to work them, and the client haven’t got a clue, eventually they tried using some outside firm of solicitors, to read through the contract, but it’s too late then, and even they might not have been professional contract people. And they still got screwed in the end, and they still don’t understand, nobody, I haven’t met anybody who understands what the hell outsourcing is all about, has it saved them a lot of money, no it’s cost them more, have they got an improved service, no it’s much worse, why? Why have they done it? They say ‘oh well we are saving money on pensions’, you are not, you’ve transferred the pension money over, ‘we’re saving money on accommodation’ well you’re not really, ‘we’re saving money on pay’ well you might be saving money on some aspects of pay but look at how much money you are paying the outsourced companies to run these things, and of course the classic mistake they made is, they’re paying for a fixed sum of money, millions of pounds a year, for maintenance of the existing system, nobody mentioned, changes to the system, like, I don’t want the machine here any more I want it in the room next door or in the new building, ah that’s a change to the contract, it will cost you an extra x hundred thousand pounds, and I think the contract in the first six months was something like thirty million over the estimate because they are moving things all the time, closing buildings, building new ones, every time you get a change of hierarchy, it’s new broom, right we will change all this we’ll have the (Dept.) over here and that group over there, we’ll swap those two over, and they do it regularly and it all gets charged.

    Royston