CEC – 2018 – Data Driven Service Catalogue

CEC – 2018 – Data Driven Service Catalogue

As you may or may not know my passion is in Data Management primarily within the IT Service Management – a field that I have worked extensively in for the last 15 years. I have spent the last three of those years working primarily within a Cherwell organisation, throughout this time I have worked to understand and appreciate the business drivers of reporting and Data Analysis finally as part of a serice review I have been able to express and articulate the vision of a truely 3D Service Catalogue that works to maximise value at all levels. The mesh structure of the catalogue is handled transparently in the background while the customer and workers do not need to be aware. The reporting layer for this is phenomenial and suddenly the Service Catalogue is becoming an asset as opposed to something you have to try and get value out of. This will reinvent the way we work and how we deliver products and services.

Excitingly we are now also going to be adding service cart functionality another huge step forward for customers and a giant leap for reporting. All delivered with Power BI and a great reporting team.

I’ll be speaking about our work and the development on Wednesday 18-Apr-2018 and I hope to see you all there!

So what’s this CSI thing then?

Nope, if you came here looking for a fan site, I’m afraid this isn’t what we are, CSI or Continual Service Improvement is a process of structured change and development that ultimately leads to the improvement of a service being delivered.

The human brain sees “improvements” automatically, I’m sure we’ve all received a set of directions and having completed the journey a few times thought “I’ll bet if I just change… I would get to my destination quicker/safer/more economically”. That’s the simplest form of “Improvement” I can think of. The more analytical of you may have timed your journey different routes or used another benchmark (was it by a busy road, how much petrol did I use) the point would be you are actually making a comparison, the net result is that you are able to look at you journey times and make and informed decision on which route is the most appropriate. A few weeks/months later no doubt some more changes come to mind or open up or there are road works on your “optimal” route, does that mean having changed once that you can’t change again? Heck no, you’ll change your route to the best, who knows you many have even found that a different route was always preferable at key times/days. What you’re actually doing is living the Continual Service Improvement (CSI) process.

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Our new home

Our new home

So we got a new site and with it a new home, now all of a sudden I’m doing things properly, I have a proper website with a grown up URL and everything. I hope you enjoy your visit and drop me a line.

So after six months or so of sitting about and not really moving forward I took the advice of a good friend and pulled the trigger. We’re now here at www.bi4csi.com. I hope the change isn’t too much for any of you. Feel free to comment and send virtual house warming gifts

“Hello World”

32 Bit vs 64 Bit

I want to put a quick post in here because I released yesterday that I had been being a dense idiot with this. I’ve been around IT long enough to know how it works but I still fell into the trap so please pay attention to this.

32 Bit Office means it can only access the first 2GB of RAM on the system NOT up to 2GB per 32 Bit process. I spent over a week tuning my powerpivot sheet for Excel 32 Bit thinking “keep the RAM requirements under 1GB for launch and you’ll be fine”. Launch day came and tuning had kept requirements to 950MB (engaging smug mode) HOWEVER I started getting reports of max RAM errors. I looked into it and went back to my older school days of doing technical support and realised that it was things like Outlook (300 MB of RAM), Lync 2013 (250MB), other applications (500 MB). Suddenly it dawned on me, I had been suckered into thinking of that 2GB limit as almost portal.

The lesson is clear, if you have a hankering to use big spreadsheets and that then move to 64 Bit office. The old issues of incompatible plug-ins and macros may well still exist, but the difference of being able to use the 4+GB of RAM your system has make it worth it.

I’m actually amazed that we default to 64Bit OS these days and most systems have 4+GB of RAM yet we (and Microsoft) still default to 32 Bit Office… makes you wonder

Another day another village?

I am starting to really gain an understanding for how Dr Frankenstein must have felt, that terrible mix of pride at what he’d created and then horror as he watched it lurch off towards another village.

Today I recieve a Typical Request, this is the sort of thing I get used to, I’m so used to it now that that as you can tell I generally butcher my notes, be kind, normally there are only for me to read.

As a “Doer” (note I give myself a capital), I’m used to getting tasks like this, although if I’m honest I’ve done a pretty good job of collating this into something meaningful and in this particular case the customer had actually mocked something up… very unusual! This is however a great one to show you how it goes typically when I receive a request like this.

Step 1: Meet with customer
Step 2: Panic – What am I doing, what have I agreed to, why am I speaking to myself?
Step 3: Refer to Data Model, does it have the core data I need
Step 4: Create additional Measures as required
Step 5: Start setting out reports
Step 6: Meet with customer(s) and present results
Step 7: Rework as required (never ever underestimate this step, your first pass will invariably miss the point and not through anyone’s fault)

Step 7 is by far the hardest step for people to understand, this goes back to my time in Consultancy but is a hard lesson to learn and can be a bitter pill to swallow. Emergent Behaviour is not the same as people doing a “Lou” (See Lou and Andy), the reality is much more complex while at the same time being simpler – I’ll jack all this in at some point and become a motivational speaker – EMERGENCE. Emergent Behaviours are mathematically unpredictable without going through the steps. A great example of this is Langton’s Ant. So when you present to your customer/manager/trained/untrained imp a report and they say “couldn’t it do…” or “but I wanted…” generally what they really mean is “Holy Cow that’s blown my socks off, that reports shows me <Insert point here>, I wish I could dig deeper”. The Emergent Behaviour is that if you didn’t do the first draft/pass they wouldn’t know what they wanted. There is no way to predict the outcome without following the steps. Knowing that and releasing the stress of being asked to make changes is a vital step. Likewise, the frustration often felt by the requestor needs to be tempered (I find however reminding them off this rarely moves things forwards) hopefully one will read this an have that “Holy rusty metal Batman” moments (other super heros are availalbe!) and realise that in fact that first pass was necessary to help distil what it is they are looking for and to drive the key thing they actually want – An Invaluable Report rather than worthless jibber jabber.

Good hunting Starbuck!