Reinventing the Support Center War Room


by Matthew Sellheimer
September 28, 2016

If you’ve ever brought people together in a single location to collaborate and problem solve in a traditional IT war room, you know the costs involved and effort this requires. This approach may be very effective for problem solving, but it can require pulling experts away from their day jobs for a week or more, as well as incur travel expenses and other costs. Because of the time and expense usually involved, most IT organizations take a war room approach for only the most important projects.

But what if you could take the war room approach to all significant projects and cut about 75% of the time, cost, and distraction from the equation? You could then have the benefits of a war room across a much larger set of initiatives and projects. Think about the positive impact this would have on your IT organization and your business, as well as on the quality and perception of service delivery from your users. With today’s IT collaboration solutions, the agile war room can actually be a reality.

So, what is an agile war room?

The agile war room extends the benefits of traditional war rooms beyond a single point in time. It brings together your best talent and your collective knowledge virtually to become hyperresponsive to the needs of the business around a key project or initiative on an ongoing basis—without many of the time, effort, and cost challenges of a traditional in-person war room approach.

What can you do in an agile war room?

An agile war room enables organizations to quickly:

  • Route relevant incoming issues directly to the war room
  • Assign a lead for each issue and a “collaboration team” to develop potential resolutions
  • Group issues into “major incidents” when they impact many users
  • Document what’s learned in the war room for reuse in the future and for feedback to the rest of the project team
  • Keep impacted end users and other stakeholders updated

Today’s IT collaboration solutions enable IT organizations to seamlessly execute each of these activities virtually, helping you obtain benefits of a traditional war room without the burden of taking people away from their jobs and bringing them together in a central location.

First, social collaboration helps you to crowd source and peer review knowledge about the project including IT environment dependencies and relationships, related policies, FAQs, and other resources that will help you address incoming issues.

Second, it identifies where to route specific issues, places them into “virtual channels” and notifies those people who are members of that channel so they can pick up the issues and start collaborating with other channel members and experts. In this manner, your war room experts can collaborate with one another in context of the specific issues being worked and the collaboration solution can capture new knowledge so that it can be shared with others and reused in the future.

This agile war room approach reduces the time to resolve issues and restore services by quickly crowd sourcing potential solutions to new incidents that may be coming in. And because these conversations are captured as new knowledge, they don’t get lost like with instant messaging or emails that get buried in inboxes or forgotten when team members move on to other projects.

Efficient and Cost-Effective

The agile war room can provide dramatic savings over the cost of a traditional IT war room in terms of IT labor, travel expenses, and business productivity. For example, instead of having to pull twenty people together in a war room for a week or more, they may only be needed for an hour day or a few hours each week. And, of course, no travel costs are involved.

The cost to the business from lost productivity can be far less because fewer issues occur, and because because rapid and permanent fixes are more quickly identified so that incidents aren’t repeated. Also, more issues can be resolved at Level 1 because of the knowledge available to L1 support, bringing your percentage of escalated tickets that should have been resolved at L1 down. Depending on the effort involved with your initiative, it’s possible that the labor and productivity costs can be reduced by up to 75% with an agile war room.

Agile war rooms let you bring the same benefits to more projects while dramatically reducing the level of effort and costs involved. With today’s IT collaboration solutions you can establish agile war rooms quickly and cost effectively—even without replacing your existing service desk solution.


As VP of marketing at ITinvolve, Matthew Selheimer is responsible for all aspects of the marketing strategy, including corporate and product positioning, social media, demand generation, direct and online marketing, media and analyst relations, internal communications, and thought leadership. A seventeen-year industry veteran, he has rich and diverse experience spanning enterprise business applications, IT management software, data center hardware, and consulting. Previously, he held executive marketing and product management positions at BMC Software, as well as sales, business development, alliance management, systems engineering, and consulting positions at Informatica Corporation, Compaq Computer, and Deloitte & Touche. Matthew received his MBA from Texas A&M University. Follow him on Twitter @mselheimer.


Tag(s): collaboration, communications technology, crowdsourcing, knowledge management, KM, ITSM, service desk, service management, supportworld

Related:

More from Matthew Sellheimer

    No articles were found.

Comments: