Today I was working from home and waiting on the repair of a recalled Samsung washer (if you don’t know about the recall the washer can “explode” under heavy load on fast spin cycle, click here). When the repair technician arrived in a Dish Network van and sporting natty Dish Network attire, you can imagine my head was spinning (get it? washer humor!). Of course, the first thing I did was ask the technician why Dish Network was performing this service. His answer is the reason for this post.
Home pay network television delivered by traditional cable or satellite is on a downturn with the advent of internet streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime and HBO Go. Dish Network has built a large field services capability that today is under-utilized due to slowdown in their core services. While many organizations may have scaled back on their services and cut their teams to only what was necessary to service current customers, Dish saw an opportunity to expand their value and brand by instead leveraging what they had spent millions building.
Dish branched into services areas that they had no direct expertise in. You could say that at the time they had the core ability to perform these services but no specific knowledge of how to complete the tasks. What they did have was capacity in the form of people, trucks, equipment, and customer service and logistics experience. And by combining that ability with capacity you get a new capability.
Ok, but what does this have to do with IT? It's simple, really. The type of transformation that Dish services are undertaking is in response to market demands and a need to optimize the investments they have made in their core service delivery. IT can learn a valuable lesson from this by creating new ways for their delivery capabilities to service their constituents. For example, if you have an IT help desk that is manned 24/7, why wouldn’t you enable that team to perform infrastructure tasks or administration duties during down time? This can be achieved via development of Knowledge Centric Services (KCS) methodologies and has the added benefit of averaging down the costs of performing those tasks. Or, maybe, because the help desk has the soft skills necessary to interface with users, they can become a vehicle for advancing user training or community adoption of policies such as security awareness.
Likewise, in the operations teams, if the user community (“market”) is consuming cloud services (“shadow IT”), what really is the lift for IT to regain control of these new compute and service assets? With today’s service platforms such as Vistara and on-demand, consumption based services for SysOps and DevOps, the old traditional barriers for IT operations, are greatly reduced. The teams you have invested in can acquire new delivery skills through service brokerage without giving up control or governance. Sometimes, all it takes is finding the right partner to do that delivery on your behalf.
And that is the story here. Samsung had a need to fix 3 million washers in the US, therefore they brokered the service to Dish Network because of that company's capability. Not because Dish is known as the appliance repair mecca of the free world, but because they had all the tools and resources necessary and could be educated to perform the actual task. And while a Dish service technician may not have gotten into his career to fix washers, he recognized an opportunity to expand his skills and retain his value to his employer.
You can now have your smartphone screen repaired in your home via a Dish technician, and soon, Dish might be installing your homes solar panels. By expanding their vision of what it means to be valuable to their customers, and leveraging what they already had invested in, they have expanded their market and created new revenue streams. IT can do this too, by taking off the traditional operational blinders and re-imagining a future state where all of the business technology requirements can be fulfilled simply and effectively through an expanded services portfolio.
With the advent of next-gen technologies, aaS offerings, and self-healing infrastructures, many in IT operations may feel that their days are numbered, and that their value is slipping. However, it doesn’t need to be this way. The future of IT operations is bright, as long as you are willing to expand your horizons and adapt to the “new normal” of information technologies consumption, and just as importantly user expectations.
Click here to learn about how modern IT Help Desk approaches and how cloud platforms and a tech-savvy workforce have fundamentally changed the support game
By Geoff Smith, Director of MS Business Development