Service management software can make a major contribution to the profitability and efficiency of a service management operation - not to mention the level of customer satisfaction that it achieves. But only, of course, if that service management software has been successfully implemented, and actually delivers on its promise.
Which frankly can be more difficult than imagined. Because successfully implementing a service management software system can at times be more demanding than implementing an ERP system.
Why? There’s no single, simple answer. But experts point to aspects of critical areas such as vendor selection, business process capability, and employee engagement.
Get these right, and your service management software system is certainly set for delivering the looked-for benefits—as well as helping to drive the business forward in terms of improved customer outcomes such as response times and ‘first time fix’ rates.
But get them wrong, and—well—there’s an awkward choice to be made. Settle for ‘second best’, with a service management software system that’s not quite right? Or start again—including, if necessary, repeating the vendor selection process?
Neither is satisfactory. It’s better to successfully implement your service management software system first time around. So here are three key areas to focus on.
1. Choose the right vendor.
These days, a lot of software suppliers are selling service management software systems. Some are ‘standalone’ systems; others are modules of an ERP system.
The key element to bear in mind is there’s little point in achieving seamless integration with a service management software system that doesn’t do what you want.
So when assessing vendors, ask some tough questions. From a pure system selection perspective, for instance, you’ll want to know how central the service management software system is to your vendors’ businesses. Is it something in which they have invested considerable resource? And, moreover, something that they will continue to invest resource in?
There are questions, too, from an implementation perspective. How strong is their service management software experience? Have they worked in your industry? Do they have a strong and robust implementation methodology? And how experienced are the people on the ground who will actually be installing your system? The answers to such questions can be very informative.
2. Get the business processes right.
We’re talking here about how to ensure a successful service management software system implementation. But let’s pause for a moment, and consider exactly what constitutes something that isn’t a successful service management software system implementation.
In other words, what does failure look like?
And the answer is this: it’s almost always not a system that blows up, or crashes the entire business. It’s simply a service management software system that people don’t use.
They find ‘workarounds’, so that they don’t have to use the system to get their jobs done. Management condone these workarounds, because they too see the importance of people getting their jobs done, and keeping customers happy.
And the single, key cause of people having to develop such workarounds? Flawed business process design, built into the service management software system. Job scheduling that doesn’t work, for instance. Or invoicing systems that get in the way, and which slow down service engineers in the field. And so on.
That’s why we at Kerridge Commercial Systems strongly recommend a thorough Business Process Mapping exercise as part of a service management software system implementation—in order to make sure that the way that the system works is also the way that helps the people using it (and especially field service engineers) to work at their most productive best.
3. Remember the people side of things.
Yes, you’re implementing a service management software system. And yes, it’s an IT system. But just as importantly, it’s a service management software system that the people who use it are going to have to buy into—and that means more than just carrying out business process mapping and building efficient business processes.
Otherwise, people simply won’t use it to the full, leaving its sought-for benefits unattained.
How best to get that crucial ‘buy in’? Good change management is vital, along with all that this implies by way of user education and communication, proper planning and testing, and a responsiveness to users’ concerns and difficulties.
Adopting a proven implementation methodology will help. So will a commitment to developing workflow, entry screens, and reports that meet—if not exceed—users’ needs and expectations.
But most importantly, strive for executive leadership and ownership that starts at the very top of the organisation. To a very real extent, how your service management software system works defines how your entire service management operation works. So show that the people at the top know—and care—about that.
Read our recent blog post Five ‘quick wins’ in service engineer productivity for quick productivity wins brought about through service management software.