Shift-Left is a technique of documenting and vetting an IT remediation or implementation process where a less-skilled Resource can engage with confidence and success.
Shift-Left = Hiring a Tech
An extreme example of Shift-Left that one Managed Service Provider (MSP) uses is having a Level III Network Engineer document a standard build for some cutting-edge technology for the sole purpose of handing that work off to a Level II Network Engineer. The Level II Network Engineer then uses the documentation to implement the next 3 to 4 projects, while vetting the standard build and implementation process.
Once the Level II Network Engineer’s implementations go well, the standard build is handed off to a Level I Network Engineer or Help Desk Resource for the duration of the product’s life. The MSP in this example says they have Help Desk Level Resources spinning up Virtual Machine (VM) environments and Off 365 migrations.
Where the Term “Shift-Left” Came From
The term “Shift-Left” comes from a skill line that starts with Level I Network Engineers on the left, Level II in the middle and Level III on the right. At some point Level 0 was added on the far left. Level 0 is a Customer facing, self-help portal that has been set up and populated with do-it-yourself documentation.
A more common use of the Level 0 self-help portal is password resets. It is well known that if you can move password resets off Help Desk personnel, there are significant labor savings. The same concept is true with the rest of Shift-Left applications. Shifting VMware projects from Level III to Level II is like hiring another Level III Network Engineer.
Shifting from Level II to Level I is like hiring another Level II Network Engineer. Will we ever see VMware projects available in the self-help portal? Who knows? There was a time when an insurance salesman was needed to purchase car insurance. I’m not sure about you, but I have been buying car insurance from a self-help portal for years.
Shift-Left Doesn’t Really Save You Employees, But What It Does Is…
For the most part, Shift-Left does not save you Employees, but it does move the work from highly skilled, seasoned, and highly valued (and therefore highly paid and hard-to-find) Employees to those more readily available.
If the MSP continues to look at the work being done at every level that can be documented and shifted left, then Help Desk work shifted to Level 0 would make room for more work from above. This saves the Company on Resources.
Ironically, shifting well documented work to Level 0 is a win-win situation. Customers love the ability to find workable solutions when they need them and at a convenient time, which most often is NOW. This forms a real double benefit of Shift-Left. Not only does Shift Left have a positive impact on making more money for the company, it also makes hiring easier.
For more conversations on Shift Left concepts and applications specific to IT Service Managers’ responsibilities, consider joining an MSP-Ignite Service Manager Peer Group.
Learn more about Stephen Buyze.