How to: service management for every industry
With the right software, assets and products in place, both speed and responsiveness can be achieved, says Jane Thomson, MD at EOH Infor Services.
Service-centred industries face two key challenges in their pursuit to success: becoming ever more responsive, and delivering accurate, reliable services at speed. The services industry can be fickle. Research reveals that customers are twice as likely to report a bad experience than share about a good one. This means services must be delivered on time, as required, and in excellence to avoid watching customers walk out the door.
When managed correctly, service management entails a customer-focused approach to delivering IT, providing value to the customer while strengthening the relationship. With the right software, assets and products in place, both speed and responsiveness can be achieved. Industry-specific service management software solutions help businesses to perform better, by supporting the delivery of better equipment service, faster problems resolution, and the efficient management of the entire service process.
According to Jane Thomson, Managing Director at EOH Infor Services (formerly Softworx), Infor's Master Partner in Africa (operating as a Gold Partner), to be effective, service management solutions must offer five key functions.
"For the business to derive real value from the solution, the software must offer improvement in five areas," confirms Thomson. "The first is work orders. The tool must be able to track and manage work orders for faster completion and more accurate billing. Second is scheduling and dispatch. The solution must help the organisation to gain visibility into each technician's schedule and qualifications to increase resolution speed and minimise non-essential trips. Third is service history. Does the software offer access to complete historical data? Without this access, informed decisions cannot be made. This leads on to the fourth key function, analytics. There's no value to the data if it cannot easily be analysed down to the detail level. Last is service contracts. The tool must track and manage service level agreements with maximum efficiency."
All of these functions must work together to achieve the overarching service management goal; to maximise service supply chains. "Service supply chains are often more complex than the supply chain of finished goods," adds Thomson. "As a framework to structure IT-related activities, and the interactions of IT personnel with customers, strategic service management meets the needs of the customer without undue complexity or supplier cost."
Every industry has unique needs and challenges. Utilising industry-specific software is therefore paramount. Solutions such as Infor Service Management provide highly focused capabilities that help companies compete effectively in selected industries. "With specifications for contract service organisations, equipment maintenance, general manufacturing, hospitality, facilities, and HVAC, the solution delivers unique benefits to each industry," concludes Thomson. "In the process, it develops a highly responsive, information-driven service organisation that is capable of building trusting, long-term customer relationships."