Last week, I decided I wanted a new Moto Razr cell phone. I could have taken my purchasing card down to the Cingular store and gotten one that night, but I decided I'd play by the rules. So, I went online to Brigham Young University's Cell Phone office page (part of the purchasing department) and sent them a note. Of course, that's where things starting going wrong. Here's a list:
- No one sent back an e-mail or called to confirm the order, so Monday I had to call them to make sure they got the order. "Oh yeah, we have that right here...we'll get right on it."
- I was told that the phone would take several days to get in.
- To their credit, I got an e-mail telling me the phone arrived (five days after I ordered it), but when I went to pick it up, I was informed that the guy who handles that is only in between 1pm and 4pm.
Now, this isn't a huge list. After all, things could be worse and so I'll bet they think they're doing great. They have a Web order form, they're being responsive and letting people know when the phones come in. Unfortunately, in a world where I can go to the store and pick it up in 15 minutes, it's not good enough.
IT shops suffer from the same kinds of problems. We think we're doing great because it's so much better than what we were doing five years ago. Meanwhile business units can outsource it and get exactly what they want.
Here's a proposal for the Cell Phone office at BYU and by analogy, for your IT shop.
The Web page ought to state explicitly that you're welcome to go to the local phone store or get your new phone from the BYU Cell Phone office. There ought to also be an easy way for people to see the cost of the phone using the Cell Phone office so that they can comparison shop.
Next, BYU should pull data out of the financial system to measure the loss to BYU from people buying on their purchasing cards. Reward or punish the director of the office based on the size of that number.
In other words, BYU's Cell Phone office ought to compete for the business and the people who run it ought to be rewarded for winning business (and thus saving the University money) or punished for losing business. I don't think BYU will implement this plan anytime soon, but you could. Can your IT shop compete? It should.