An open letter to software vendors

Dear Vendor,
I saw a tweet today and it made me think of you.

We could say this about anyone, couldn’t we? The truth is, people have limited time and as long as the new tool meets the basic business-as-usual needs, your customers are unlikely to go exploring the boundaries without provocation.

Too often, customers’ purchase decisions will be influenced by the length of your feature list or your responses to a spreadsheet. This isn’t sticky marketing, because you’re all addressing those same BAU capabilities. Where’s the magic? Where’s the value?

Remind me of those features I’ve forgotten about. Design email marketing campaigns with protips for my use case. Uncover and share those customers like me who are already doing innovative things with your solution. It doesn’t even need to be all that innovative, it just needs to be better than how I’m currently doing it. And you can see what I’m doing; you own that data.

What about your sales team? Does your product marketing team pass on that information about the goldmine of unexplored features? Do you give your account managers the ammunition to make a call to existing customers, provide value in the form of a few tips and how-tos, and potentially up-sell?

So, what do you say? I showed you my protip, why don’t you show us yours?


Hexigo pivots: from decision management to email management

still searching

 

I last wrote about Hexigo back in 2013. Back then, Hexigo was a tool for shepherding the decision making process and, ideally, capturing why particular choices were made. You can read back over the old post for an understanding of what decision management is in its truest form.

Things have changed since then. While many of us are trying to use more collaborative platforms, email is inescapable as the place where decision-making by committee happens. When it’s not face-to-face, at least. So, Hexigo have surrendered to it. Instead of fighting to get people to log into something else and use yet another tool for tracking accountability and conversations, they’re working towards making our stubborn attachment to email more efficient.

Hexigo now comes as email plugins that work with Gmail and Outlook to provide visual cues to an email’s priority. You can also track the status of an email thread where a decision or approval has been called for, and you can @ mention names to notify recipients that their particular attention is required.

Inbox popout

 

Outcomes 1

If you’d like to see how it works in Gmail, here’s a video.

We’ll be stuck with email forever, but at least there are tools out there to help us do it better.

 

This is not an ad. No money changed hands for this post.


ITIL as Dr Seuss: A challenge

ITIL as Dr Seuss

One of our biggest challenges in service management is explaining what it is and why it’s useful. The ITIL definition is dry and completely unsellable.

A set of specialised organisational capabilities for providing value to customers in the form of services.

It’s a problem ITIL has more broadly—it’s dry and bureaucratic in its worst form. It’s the nature of most best practice guidance, though, so don’t blame ITIL.

A recent thread on my Facebook wall prompted James Finister to challenge us to Seussify ITIL. Perhaps he thought it couldn’t be done, but Phil Green stepped up and posted a response. Following on nicely from my Return of Service post, here’s Phil’s representation of the definition of service, Dr Seuss style.

An outcome to achieve is what I desire,
Today, tomorrow, is what I require,
Will you help me achieve the outcome I require?
Can you, could you, should you be my provider?

I’ll help you achieve the
outcomes you require
I can, I will, exceed your desires,
I’ll facilitate the outcomes you wish to require,
I’ll be your Type III service provider.

But what about specific costs and risks?
I don’t understand, my thoughts they whisk,
I don’t want to manage those costs and risks,
My service needs provided in a way that’s brisk.

Specific costs and risks, I’ll own them all,
I’ll own them all whether large or small,
I’ll own them today, I’ll own them tomorrow,
Providing service so great you’ll get no sorrow.

You’ll facilitate the outcomes I wish to achieve?
With service so consistent in you I’ll believe,
And you’ll own the specific costs and risks?
Let us draft up the contract and save it to disk.

And so, I challenge you: can you Seussify an ITIL concept?


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