Shared Services: A Winning strategy for SMB field service
With continuing cloud computing innovation, there is an increasing opportunity for
Field Service Hubs to assist SMB service providers to manage these processes and
enable them to focus on what they do best – delivering superior customer service.
Shared Services: A Winning strategy for SMB field service
USA: +1-408-355-6000UK: +44-(0)-162-842-1500INDIA: +91-120-244 5144 Shared Services:www.Infogain.com A Winning Strategy for SMB Field Service Summary Field service agents by far bring the most significant voice of end users. A recent study by Aberdeen Research Group (2012) states that 65% of service requests require a field visit or dispatch. Often these field visits are conducted by small service businesses, typically with less than 5 employees, who provide superior service in a niche market. At that size, it is prohibitively complex for SMBs to own technology solutions to manage crucial lead management, opportunity management, order management and fulfillment business processes. With continuing cloud computing innovation, there is an increasing opportunity for Field Service Hubs to assist SMB service providers to manage these processes and enable them to focus on what they do best – delivering superior customer service. In fact, Gartner (2012) outlines their belief that cloud computing is one of the key factors that could allow field service organizations to enhance customer intimacy.
Typical Field Service SMB: In order to understand the ideal structure of a Field Service Hub, we need to understand the goals, core business processes and characteristics of field service SMBs they INTRODUCTIONare supporting. The figure Foundational issues with meeting the sophisticated requirements of to the right captures the managing a world class field service organization include having deephigh level view of a typical territory understanding, knowledge management and competitive pricing. field service SMB — its In order to overcome these challenges while delivering superior customer characteristics, business service on a national scale, the need for technology investments is evident. The question is, would total cost of ownership of end-to-end technology be processes, capabilities justifiable for an SMB? If not, what are the alternatives? There seems to be an and goals. emerging solution. Let us call it a Field Service Hub. A proven test case for this opportunity to establish a field service hub is Uber. A recent Wired Magazine1 article provided an overview of Uber (www.uber. com) who recognized an opportunity to connect a geographically diverse customer base willing to pay premium prices for private limousine services with limousine owner operators in a growing list of cities around the world. At the time of the article (July 2012), Uber connected people with drivers in 9 cities. In less than one year that number has increased to almost 30 cities in the US, Canada, Europe and Asia. In this case the client receives superior limousine service with the confidence and convenience of purchasing from an internationally recognized brand. At the same time the limousine operator benefits from increased utilization rates without the need to invest in lead generating activities or lead management processes. The following diagram shows the role a Field Service Hub plays in connecting clients with field service organizations. 1 Tsotsis, Alexia, “Calling all Cars.” Wired July 2012, page 82
An example of an existing vendor who could leverage a Field Service Hub to add complementary services is U-Haul. A field service hub Field Service Hubs can be leveraged to create standalone businesses (like Uber), or could potentially they can provide an opportunity for existing vendors to expand service offerings or enable U-Haul to provide complementary services for core businesses. leverage local moving Key Field Service Hubs Capabilities services SMBs to While Uber and U-Haul are not typical field service organizations, their success as provide packaging, a hub depends on overcoming the key challenges of getting the right service agent to the right place at the right time. The table below briefly talks about some of theloading and unpacking challenges and specific Field Service Hub capabilities required to overcome these to complement its challenges. core truck rental Challenge Area Key Challenge How Would a Field Service Hub Help? business. Large technology Field Service SMBs Cloud based service solutions (e.g. investments are focused solution ServiceMax, Salesforce.com’s Service Cloud) providers in niche eliminate the need to make large upfront markets without the technology investments. financial resources to undertake this level of investment Tribal Lack of knowledge of A hub could provide a single repository partnerships complementary local of the capabilities of many field service solutions organizations, enabling cross-selling services from complementary local solutions. Demand and Inability to forecast The ability to leverage field service SMBs supply balance demand and hence lack enables vendors to flex capacity to meet of supply side controls seasonal demand fluctuations or expand service territories without the heavy fixed cost of creating a local field service organization.
Challenge Area Key Challenge How Would a Field Service Hub Help? Identifying the Understanding a Guided selling, included with many cloud right service customer’s exact need is based CPQ (Configure-Price-Quote) provider often a challenge, but it solutions lead individuals who lack skill in is critical for eliminating a particular solution through a discovery erroneous field service process to pinpoint customer issues before dispatches meant to dispatch-eliminating unnecessary dispatches solve the wrong problem and speeding resolution while on site. Pricing and Ability to identify the In addition to guided selling solutions, quoting required solution and cloud based CPQ (Configure-Price-Quote) While Uber and U-Haul generate accurate order solutions typically provide configuration are not typical field documentation capabilities to help select the correct solution for each client situation. Further, service organizations, leading CPQ solutions have integrated document generation tools to create their success as a hub accurate quotes and orders at the push of a button. depends on overcoming Appointment Creating appointments A centralized scheduling capability allows the key challenges of Booking between field service appointments to be scheduled while the representatives and customer is requesting service. getting the right service the client can become a frustrating game of Providing a centralized schedulingagent to the right place at telephone tag capability, to match available field service appointments with customer service the right time. requests at the time the need is reported reduces unproductive overhead and enhances customer satisfaction. Knowing the Managing a field service Cloud based service solutions (e.g. customer hub on a national basis ServiceMax, Salesforce.com’s Service Cloud) can give the appearance maintain customer contact information, of not having deep local including details of their service entitlement. knowledge How Relevant Is Cloud Computing? As cloud computing innovation continues, there are clearly certain solutions that have leading edge capabilities at reasonable prices. A quick comparison of capabilities in the configure–price–quote (“CPQ”) area is shown below: Big Machines WebSource CallidusCloud Chameleon Apttus CPQ CPQ CPQ CPQ Product Product Product Product Product Catalogue Modeling Catalogue Modeling Catalogue Configuration Product Configuration Product Configuration Price & Quote Catalogue Price & Quote Catalogue Price & Quote Order Configuration Order Configuration Order Management Price & Quote Management Price & Quote Management Order Execution Order Order Order Order Order Management Documentation Documentation Documentation Documentation Order Execution Approvals Approvals Approvals Approvals Guided Selling Guided Selling Guided Selling e-Signature
One such framework used by the authors to evaluate investment opportunities is Through structured the value and constraint index. An organization’s key business goals are weighted toFrameworks and specific show relative value. For example a field service organization’s key goals may focus ondomain knowledge, and utilization, customer satisfaction or order errors. At the same time each organization has constraints limiting its ability to implement one or more investment opportunity with the innovation in (cost, expertise, organizational capacity to adopt change). Investment opportunities mobility, big data and can be prioritized by value ratio, the weighted values of benefits divided by the weighted value of constraints for leading investment opportunities. A samplecloud computing, all the value ratio analysis is shown below. In this case the two most valuable investment challenges mentioned opportunities available to the field service hub are managing its supply of field service SMBs (fleet / inventory) and providing a centralized repository of customer above can be resolved information. with a pragmatic roadmap and thorough business architecture definition. THE INFOGAIN ADVANTAGE Infogain has extensive experience helping clients implement cloud-based service solutions across a variety of industries and functional areas. A relative sample of case studies is outlined below. Customer Business Issue Solution Benefits Infogain has rich and Leading home de- Ability to dispatch Salesforce Service Enhanced lead process- relevant experience sign solution design consultants Cloud based field ing efficiency / reduced and installation pro- service dispatch paperwork enabling businesses fessionals to client solution based homes in more than to create competitive 300 cities across North America advantage by offering Large data storage Unacceptably slow Salesforce Service Real time access to superior field service solution provider order fulfillment Cloud middleware account, product and integration to corpo- field service providerprocesses through cloud- rate middleware. information Network access Lack of partner Partner Resource Enhanced sales and based solutions. solutions for mobile management lim- Management and business visibility / pre- enterprises ited sales visibility lead to fulfillment dictability and reduced workflow inventory cost