For 97 percent of companies, IT quality has become "highly" and even "very highly" critical to the success of individual business processes – that's the result of a study carried out by renowned sourcing consultants ISG (Information Services Group) on behalf of T-Systems. Moreover, IT quality is a decisive purchase criterion for selecting a service provider: 98 percent of those surveyed indicated that IT quality "very often" or "always" plays a role in their companies' decision-making. In particular, the general performance – with regard to robust processes and future-capable services, among other factors – and past references are important factors.
According to the study, companies expect their service provider to supply end-to-end quality management – specifically, comprehensive programs especially at the technical and process levels, and robust governance processes and certified quality management at the employee level, for example.
"The results of the study validate our Zero Outage strategy. Its clear objective is to give our customers maximum reliability and availability for their IT. Quality and security – built on the foundation of Germany's strict data privacy laws – are decisive factors in the decision for the digital transformation to the cloud," comments Ferri Abolhassan, Managing Director of the IT Division at T-Systems. "Studies like this are very important to us. They help us understand where we might have to fine-tune our strategy, which in turn enables us to create high-quality solutions that add value," says Stephan Kasulke, Senior Vice President Global Quality at T-Systems.
The experts at ISG also provided information about the specific elements that comprise quality. Customer satisfaction and the number of major incidents are two of the major KPIs (key performance indicators) for assessing IT quality. Accordingly, high customer satisfaction is an indication of a provider's high quality standards. Other measurement criteria include MTTR (mean time to repair), MTBF (mean time between failures) and TBQ (time, budget, quality) – all clearly quantifiable dimensions.
The consultants' clear stance on SLAs (service level agreements) is particularly interesting. Their conclusion: the mere fulfillment of SLAs is not enough to earn long-term customer satisfaction. More than half of the ISG consultants feel that the subjective perception of service quality, combined with a deficient or non-existent account organization, is a key reason for inadequate customer satisfaction. Other reasons include different perceptions of the fulfillment of SLAs (the response time to an incident versus the actual resolution of the incident, for example) and insufficient coordination within multi-sourcing projects or between the IT provider and the customer's IT team. And even if the SLAs are fulfilled, new requirements of the IT can also result in lower customer satisfaction. These results show that in addition to the contractually defined service delivery, service providers should pursue intensive, structured interaction with their customers to ensure long-term customer satisfaction. "Quality and customer satisfaction are inseparably linked with one another and are at the top of our agenda. With the highest customer satisfaction level in our company's history two years running, we are already among the top 10 percent of European ICT service providers today," states Dr. Ferri Abolhassan.