We all play different roles in our daily lives. From being a parent to an employee, a customer, or even a mere observer, we shift roles constantly. Similarly, in the bustling world of service management, there are various ‘characters’ or stakeholders, each with its own set of interests and expectations. Let’s make sense of these roles with simple explanations and relatable examples, whether you’re into IT or just curious about how things work behind the scenes.

  1. Stakeholders:

These are individuals or entities with an interest in an organization, project, or service. Think of them as spectators at a football game. They’re invested in the game’s outcome, even if they aren’t directly playing. Examples: This could be anyone from the company’s employees, its shareholders, to the suppliers delivering the coffee for the break room.

  1. Service Provider Organization:

This is the ‘home team’. Within this organization, you’ve got players (employees and teams) delivering services. But remember, this doesn’t just mean a big corporation; even a smaller project with its team and budget can be a service provider.

  1. External Stakeholders:

Like fans from other teams or the hotdog vendors outside the stadium, these entities aren’t part of the ‘home team’, but they still have interests tied to it. Customers: These are the folks buying or availing of the services. In IT, they’re the ones setting and agreeing to service levels. In our football analogy, think of them as the team sponsors. They invest in the team and expect good results. For Clarity: We often hear the term ‘customer’ thrown around in different contexts. Sometimes, when someone says “our organization is customer-focused”, they might mean the end-users of the service.
Users: These are the individuals using the service regularly. If you’ve ever used a software application at work (like an email service), you’re a user. But note: not all customers are users. A CEO might decide to buy a software application for their company (making them the customer), but if they don’t use it daily, they’re not its user.
Suppliers: Picture these as the equipment providers for our football team. In the IT realm, they supply the essential tools and services. This could range from software vendors, internet providers, to big outsourcing firms.

  1. Diving Deeper into Customers:

There are two main types of customers in relation to the service provider: Internal Customers: These are people within the same business as the IT service provider. Imagine a fashion company. The design team, using IT tools for designing clothes, is an internal customer to the company’s IT department. Both the design team head and the IT head might report to the same CEO. When the design team pays for an IT tool, it’s just money moving within the company.
External Customers: Now, imagine our fashion company uses an external tool for 3D design, provided by another tech company. Here, the fashion company becomes the external customer to this tech service provider. They’re two separate entities, and transactions between them typically involve formal contracts.
In a Nutshell:
Just as a football game is more than just the players on the field, the world of service management involves various stakeholders, each with its distinct role and interest. Knowing who’s who can help you better understand the dynamics of the game, be it in the IT world or any other service industry. So next time you use a service or buy a product, you’ll appreciate the intricate web of stakeholders making it all happen!