Dynamic approach towards applying the SPOC based organization model

Dynamic approach towards applying the SPOC based organization modelYoung people of today have grown up with access to a new dynamic set of communication technologies like cell phones, mobile communications, social media, instant messaging, Web searches, online communities, etc. The result is that new generations work together in new and creative ways. They build up networks of friends, direct colleagues and internal and external contacts that can help them getting things done. In exchange, they open up their insight and expertise to their network and at the same time benefit from the feedback they get from it. Informal channels may well help these new generations to get some things done in a more dynamic, flexible and efficient way than official structures may have done in the traditional strictly hierarchical institutions of the past.

This way of working requires a view on communicating across the organization that goes beyond only offering a Single Point of Contact for a particular need. Some traditional organizations almost look like ending up with more SPOCs than people! People are not allowed to call the person they know in the marketing or HR department, but need to go through a formal SPOC. The SPOC  will then validate the relevance of their communication, filter it and potentially escalate it to the right party within the respective structure. Or it may also turn out that the wrong SPOC was used, that the communication was not submitted through the right  channel or according to the right rules for a particular channel. It would almost look like keeping colleagues away from getting things done together. Some implementations of SPOC functions create barriers for access to solutions rather than lowering them.

The same thing can happen when implementing a overly rigid Service Desk structure and related SPOC based models according to ITIL. Cases have been known where adoption of the Service Desk was difficult to defend because users did not see the added value of the way it was implemented. Yet IT management did impose the implementation on its users out of a claim that it is better for them. Other implementations have even suffered from low added value of the SPOC so additional costs were generated for something that did not improve service or synergies.

In other cases, contact channels and procedures were made too rigid for users to work with. For instance, walking in for support would be perceived as a bad thing until a ticket reference number could be acquired. Or either phone or mail (or even a prestructured web form) would be imposed as the only contact channel with support. This comes with a risk of increasing visible and hidden costs, while not improving the service for the organization or the customer. In a multi-partner environment where every party has their own SPOC, one additional SPOC would probably need to be created to maintain the overview over them.

So while the idea of lowering barriers of access by clearly defining how to contact IT support in a flexible and dynamic manner is still valid, the way to implement such support access would certainly not suffer from a radical modernization. Today's communication is centered around the needs of the one needing support in combination with a  down-to-earth  view  on  the support chain that starts from there across the organization and  even across organizations.