New IT Tool but Same Old Service? A Reflection at 30,000 Feet

Service WomanI often hear about customers wanting to embark on a new project to re-write processes or replace legacy toolsets in a quest to re-invent IT, transform the organization and bring closer alignment with the business. All are great aspirations at the outset, but too often when you dig in behind the endless Power Point slides, you quickly realize that it boils down to just another tools replacement project. Modernization of toolsets has its place in all IT organizations, but often it can be an endless cycle of maintenance and upgrades. Once the hype and hysteria of having a new toy wears off, users quickly realize they are no better off than they were with the old solution.

I recently had the pleasure of flying on a brand new aircraft with one of the world’s major airlines. Lots of fanfare and promises ensued and I was anticipating something special. What I experienced was quite eye opening. In this case, the airline (shall remain nameless) was on a program to replace some aircraft on particular routes with the new A380. This is the most technologically advanced aircraft ever with more room, an improved flying experience and so on. That’s all well and good, but the experience I had was the opposite and really made me think of the ‘tool swap’ analogy. The service on this flight was no different, and, in some cases, worse than what it was with the previous aircraft (777 for those interested). The crew was the same sort of crew, somewhat faceless and nameless, bounding up and down the aisles at ‘double-time’ to ensure a timely service. The major opportunity missed was to replace the seating with new up-to-date seats with power, USB outlets, larger video screens and other leading amenities. Instead, they opted to put in the same seats they have had in aircraft for the last 10 years. So, in essence, passengers have a new tool to consume, but with the same old experience and problems. Sound familiar?

We are often blinkered by the new toys and new features that are thrown our way and with the promises of an improved life thereafter. This is ‘how’ problems can be solved, but the blinkers prevent us from seeing ‘what’ problem needs to be solved. The change aspect of any project can often outweigh the perceived benefits of a new solution.

Don’t always believe the hype. Instead, understand if the need is there and if the benefits are truly beyond cosmetic. Change is the only constant we have, but how you consume it is in your control.

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Chris Pope
Chris Pope is a strategy leader at ServiceNow, helping customers transform their IT with enterprise service management. With more than 15 years of experience in driving enterprise-class technologies for Global 2000 companies, Pope has a proven track record of managing large-scale process and technical projects with global reach. Prior to ServiceNow, Pope worked at leading financial institutions UBS, NYSE Euronext and Lehman Brothers. He holds a degree in electronic engineering from De Montfort University in the UK.

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