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The Science of eXperience. A movement.

Individuals are exercising their power at a level not witnessed before. The best evidence of this power is through the conversations that they have with each other.

“One brief, shining moment, that was known as Camelot.” – Alan Jay Lerner.

The enchanting capital of King Arthur’s realm with Queen Guinevere, Excalibur, The Round Table, Merlin, and Sir Lancelot, has inspired people for a thousand years. It has become synonymous with the concept of a virtuous circle. Even though it only lasts for a brief moment in time, it is so thrilling that when you are a part of a Camelot moment, it forms you for life.

Every professional lives for their Camelot moment. A period where zest meets purpose. When everything just IS. It all clicks together. Friendships that will last forever are forged in the pursuit of an inspiring challenge, where work seems like play because the formidable task is so much fun.

From ITIL Service Levels to eXperience Level Agreements

The Barbican Theatre, 1991. Together with luminaries and legends like Malcolm Fry, I did a keynote at the inauguration of ITIL. With immense pride, we launched a cohesive set of useful best practices, not knowing that this would inspire the creation of a global movement. The best practice books were followed by best practice courses; the courses developed into certification. The enthusiasm of the people at the launch became a service management forum, and an entire service management toolset industry was unleashed. Today, according to PeopleCert, over 2,000,000 people have an ITIL certification. ITIL is a multi-billion industry.

ITIL met an untapped need. Organizations were struggling to manage the sprawl of client/server computing with its vast unruly technology infrastructures, the challenge of creating and managing sourcing agreements, and the costs, forever the costs. On most of the IT challenges over the next two decades, ITIL had a perspective; ITIL had something useful to say.

ITIL: From Camelot to Category

ITIL still has useful things to say, but it is no longer a movement. Today, ITIL is a category. It is one of the ten things we do when we run a technology unit. Many people are still passionate, but ITIL no longer ignites in the way it once did. Like all categories, it now exists in perpetual and continual incremental improvement.

The ITIL Camelot moment has run its course. So, where do the zesty people turn?

The Science of Experience and XLA are the new stars on the firmament.

An idea whose time has come. An insight about to burst into a movement: A new Camelot! The science of eXperience sets out to really understand people, to understand the context of their actions, to create conversations with them, to create an experience with and for them that will make them feel good after each interaction, each use of a product, or a service. At the core lies the eXperience level agreement, the XLA.

The XLA is a commitment to providing an experience that matters.

Why has the time come now?

Individuals are exercising their power at a level not witnessed before. The best evidence of this power is through the conversations that they have with each other. There were over 3 billion online conversations last month between consumers. Many were about brands, experiences, or intent, but only a subset of this talk was directly with a specific brand. The conversations are occurring without the subject in the room. The sheer number of conversations means they are a silent power for social change. This naked power is especially applicable to people under 35, who already spend over 3 hours a day in conversations.

Whether you are talking to consumers or colleagues, every interaction with you is a chance for them to vote with their wallet or their feet. That vote is primarily emotional. They can choose to invest in you, tolerate you, or walk away.

It is not going unnoticed. In a 2017 Harvard Business Review article, 86% of CEOs said that superior customer experience was critical to their company’s success. Yet in the same breath, only 34% believed they had the right mix of skills and tools to deliver on that success.

The unmet need has become the challenge of the day for organizations everywhere, not just in technology. Yet technology must play its part; after all, digital transformation has made tech a critical component for new product and service delivery.

So, what about us? Are service professionals leading the charge to a better experience?

Not yet! Recent research by Giarte informs us that less than 2% of KPIs used today have anything to do with the experience of customers or employees. Recent polls by ITSM Academy indicate that only 2.7 % of technology professionals are happy with their Service Level Agreements (SLAs). 87% said that their SLAs are internally focused and are not about the customer, the employee, or the experience.

The gauntlet has been thrown down, and the contest is on. The sensitive observer who reads, watches, listens, can feel the movement starting to form.

See a new generation of enlightened leaders arising; lobbying, pushing, and pulling the case for experience. Hear that loud cracking sound as exciting new technologies like NexthinkAmeliaWonderflow break out; their data fueling the science of eXperience as it weaves its way into designs, conversations, propositions.

SLAs encapsulated into XLAs, Service desks becoming eXperience desks, call centers becoming conversation centers. The buzz of a service management organization becoming an eXperience management organization, supported by XLA training and certification.

Even Old dogs like SAP are learning new tricks, armed with innovative toolsets like Qualtrics.

Yes, my friends, these are the unmistakable signs of a movement forming.

Arise Lord and Lady Zest, A new Camelot adventure awaits!

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Note: The content references and images are from the XLACollab Copyright, and all rights reserved. Material from this publication has been reproduced with the permission of the XLACollab