Customer / User notification of change

Discuss and debate ITIL Change Management issues
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changeborg
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Wed Mar 10, 2010 2:27 pm

I'm curious to find out what you all are doing to notify your customers/users of an upcoming planned (or unplanned) change. We have developed email templates which contain the information necessary to the business. The process however, while improving, is still in the dark ages.

We used to have the implementer of a change coordinate the notification with the service desk who would then send it out. The implementers are now using software to enter the necessary information and the tool sends it out to the specified individuals based on what was entered into it. While this is an improvement over the prior process, ideally I would think a subscription service/email marketing package would be the way to go.

What is everyone using out there and what has been your overall experience with the solution versus the customer feedback on the method?


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Timo
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Wed Mar 10, 2010 2:41 pm

Sorry, but I fail to see what is the problem? Emails work fine here, you can go a step further and post some sort of the bulletin. If there is a customer portal, it is quite easy to do and it has wide reach. If not, well... there is always a coffee room with a cork board on it. For one of the clients we did emails and customer portal bulletin board. Emails were being sent when the change was scheduled and one day before change was to be implemented, just to remind.

I guess it really all depends on the specific information needs of the stakeholders in your company. (like, do people know how to use email, or... can they read?)
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changeborg
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Wed Mar 10, 2010 10:33 pm

The problem is the sheer size of our organization. We have well over 50k employees spread out across nearly every continent. Users see email as spam and rarely read them. We have portals however they are so complex, nobody uses them. Lots of issues way outside of my paygrade to resolve.
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Timo
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Wed Mar 10, 2010 10:46 pm

But how many individual changes really impact the entire organization? I know what you mean though... Our IT sometimes uses pop up system notifications, but for changes that effect rather large user community it is still email. I agree though... mostly it is ignored. But I think at the end of the day there is only so much you can do. You do your diligence but the users also have responsibility, such as reading notifications from IT. If they don't, it's their own damn fault.
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thechosenone69
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Thu Mar 11, 2010 3:31 am

I suggest that any changes to the live enviroment should be communicated and organized by the service desk. PSA and FSC communication should become their responsibility, invite them to the CAB meeting, ask for their input, they would know the right method and who to inform inregards to the change, its their day to day job.

As for the impact, I agree with Timo, ?
how many individual changes really impact the entire organization?
If you have configuration management in place, Service Desk will be able to determine the impact and who to inform. The way I do it fo big organizations is create different DL's(Distrubtion List) for different branches, departments, offices etc.. and the service Desk will only inform the affected groups
Ali Makahleh
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“If you can't describe what you are doing as a process, you don't know what you're doing." W. Edwards Deming.
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Diarmid
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Thu Mar 11, 2010 5:42 am

This post relates to large and complex organizations much more than small ones which should be able to get pretty slick about customer/user communications.

Changeborg has a point. And he did say he "...sends it out to the specified individuals based on..." The issue is how timely does it have to be to ensure that the emails are read in good time. All mass communications media have levels of delay and of "ignore" built in as the world inundates itself. Login bulletins will not be seen until people login; emails will not be seen until people work their way through their emails and they may only do that once a day or less forgetting periods absent from work and absent from office (meetings etc.); bulletins that interrupt users in full flight are an annoyance and have to be kept to an absolute minimum - and they only reach people currently online and at their desk.

And, to cap it all, you can't train (or force) all your staff to check for updates all the time.

Nevertheless you probably have to use some or all of these or similar methods combined with as close a focus on relevance in your distribution list as possible.

However the key is really what the business wants in each case. The most important communication is with the business manager(s) responsible for the functions affected. no email rubbish here; face to face or at least on the phone - you need two way communication and you need it concluded in finite time. These managers may well prefer to spread the word themselves (or through chain of command) to their staff and they will certainly want a say in how much notice is given (CAB should have sorted that out - communications plan?)

In the end, it is all a compromise because some people will not hear of the change and will call the service desk when it happens. It's a case of balancing the numbers and costs.
"Method goes far to prevent trouble in business: for it makes the task easy, hinders confusion, saves abundance of time, and instructs those that have business depending, both what to do and what to hope."
William Penn 1644-1718
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anthonymq
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Fri Mar 19, 2010 3:25 pm

Keeping users/business informed is a good approach, the idea is to plan your changes and inform affected users before hand. This can be done in various ways depending on the infrastructure but the real challenge is to convey the message in the proper way without much effort.
We post bulletin messages in the corporate portal. Users have a tendency to keep a track on messages posted on corporate pages, and if the posted bulletin sends out a clear message in laymen terms, i beleive people will accept it positively.
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Murphysbone
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Thu Apr 08, 2010 11:25 am

If you're looking for a 'whistles and bells' Corporate solution...

Alarmpoint synched with Remedy 7 (or any other SMT)

Does 100k+ internal comms as well as external notifications. Subscription service, through Service Desk, all comms are templated and automated depending on CI set.

I like it, so do the internal & external customers...

Not cheap tho... :wink:
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viv121
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Fri Apr 09, 2010 9:27 am

Try Newsgator. It works. Alarmpoint is cool. ITIL is not about a tool
regards,

Vivek
"the only statistics you can trust are those you falsified yourself"
Winston Churchill
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