CSI is more than a TV franchise of crime investigation shows with increasingly clever ways of removing a pesky relative.
Continual Service Improvement (CSI) has been around for years as a key component of the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL). ITIL is a series of best-practice guidelines that can help you improve business processes in a variety of areas.
Whether you are an olympic athlete, a computer gamer, or a small business, you will already have a fair idea how you are performing from your latest time, score, or sales figures. In order to improve in any area, there are seven CSI steps that can help you achieve improvements in your business.
The key to using CSI effectively is measurement.
1. WHAT SHOULD YOU MEASURE?
This is related to your strategic/operational objectives. In what areas of your business do you want/need to improve? It might be something straightforward, like number of sales in a day. It might be something larger scale, like your overall customer satisfaction score. Either way, you need to work out what you should measure in order to work out if you are improving.
2. WHAT CAN BE MEASURED?
What you would like to measure may not always be easy or even possible. Look at what can be actively and easily measured/recorded. There is no point trying to improve something if you can’t tell if it has actually improved or not. Baseline the current performance so you can see how things are progressing over the short and long term.
3. GATHER THE DATA
This is where you run your queries, reports, or whichever process you need to run to gather the data you want to measure. If you can automate it, even better! Let the computers do it for you.
4. PROCESS THE DATA
You have your data, but data isn’t information. Processing your data means converting it to a usable form. Do you need to put it into a spreadsheet to compare to previous months? Do you need to create charts to make the data easier to read? Don’t over-complicate things. The simpler the information is to understand the better.
5. ANALYSE THE INFORMATION
You have your measurements, which became your data, which you have turned into readable information. Now what? It’s all about the results and trends. Are they what you expected? If not, why not? Find out what it was that either made you reach or miss the target. This will help you either leverage the good things or remove the stumbling blocks for next time.
6. PRESENT THE INFORMATION
You have the results. You know why the figures are what they are. You know what improvements you are recommending to implement for the future, but who is the information for? Ensure that when you present your information, tailor it to your audience. There is no point spending time on something that your audience will not understand.
7. FINAL STEP! IMPLEMENT IMPROVEMENTS…
This after all is the whole point of the process. Hopefully by this stage you have some solid measurements that you have turned into useful reports. By analysing the information, looking at trends, and identifying improvements, you can now plan on implementing them. Hopefully by the next time you run through the process, you can identify that the changes you made have had a positive impact, and you can look at other areas where CSI can benefit your business.