Putting a Service Cloud Project Back on Track

Service Cloud is a customer service platform that provides users with real-time status updates on all existing incidents. It also provides multiple communication channels directly to IT and dynamic self-help capabilities. Beyond that, it allows IT staff to have a seamless transition of incidents between teams, clear ownership throughout ticket lifecycle, and automated workflows for case routing and management.

The client’s project for Service Cloud was originally put in place to address a number of user challenges. These included:

  • User perspective — extended resolution times were causing frustration, with users feeling that they had no visibility or control over their ticket, as well as a lack of self-help options
  • IT perspective — information technology departments were struggling with antiquated systems, plagued by operations fatigue, and surviving with broken workflows

However, the creation of this platform didn’t go off without a hitch.

Initial Challenges

The platform’s creation was initiated. Only three months into the project, though, a few significant roadblocks came to light.

  • Requirements were gathered from only one of the dozens of stakeholder teams with active ticket counts leaving an incomplete picture of actual requirements
  • The project plan and design phases were carried out in a silo; the stakeholders were not a part of the process and were unaware of the solution set prior to implementation
  • There was a lack of leadership visibility and involvement. The project was “running smoothly,” so there was no expressed need for executive involvement

As the project was finally introduced to the user community the project came to a screeching halt.  The team determined that the following was needed.

1) The project should be put on hold.

2) The design team would need to go back to the drawing board.

3) Executive leadership would need to be informed of the change in scope and the go-live date would have to be pushed out.

Our Approach & Methodology

We were asked to step in and take over product ownership, project delivery, and stakeholder relationship management, in order to ensure its success.

In order to facilitate the program’s development, we took a structured approach. Over the next 4 weeks, we:

  • Assigned a new product owner
  • Re-engaged and set expectations with executive suite
  • Identified and involved appropriate stakeholders for the vetting, documentation, and prioritization of business requirements
  • Hosted multiple emergency plan and design meetings, both with the extended team and stakeholders
  • Implemented a change control model in order to address requirements, changes, shifting priorities, and last minute “urgent requests”
  • Created a robust communication plan to prepare users for what was coming, as well as get support teams ready to use the new system
  • Created and carried out an extensive training program, closely integrated with incident and change management teams

Success & Value Realized

  • These changes resulted in a complete program overhaul, but added significant value to the project. Because of them, we were able to
  • Redesign a complex platform in 3 ½ months
  • Engage and train over 25,000 users on features available to them
  • Train and onboard 500+ IT support staff
  • Create 100+ knowledge articles, 20+ marketing materials, 15+ training webinars, and host recurrent user forums to increase adoption
  • Build 150+ automated ticket routing workflows, as well as 300+ support queues with customized dashboards and reporting capabilities

Lessons Learned

Along the way, we made a number of important discoveries. They are not only applicable to Service Cloud, though, but any project.

The first few steps are the most important ones. Getting off on the right foot can make all the difference in the overall success of the project.

This includes things like setting the right expectations for executive involvement from the offset. It’s also important to know who your stakeholders are, making sure everyone is aligned on objectives, approach, and responsibilities. This is not only essential, it’s the determining factor between success and failure.

Communication is key: an engaged audience is a prepared audience. It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about an ED doctor, a busy executive, or a team rock star here. A failure to prepare each of them for the potential impact that a project will have on their daily lives will always end the same way: in resistance and dissatisfaction.

Always be prepared, as the best laid plans could go wrong.We can never predict what will go wrong. In the end, we can only be ready to rise to the occasion and trust that our well-laid plans will ultimately lead us to success.

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