How to digitalize your service business: Defining the requirements-Part 1.3

How to digitalize your service business: Defining the requirements-Part 1.3

One of the results from our Drivers for Growth in Service research has shown that companies are struggling to design and implement an integrated digital platform to support their services business.

In this series of ‘Digitalisation of Service‘ blog posts we will discuss the challenges that service organisations may have in getting started with the design of such a digital service platform, and offer suggestions on how to address the challenges.

In our previous blog we explained the need for a common operating model and how a best practice library such as the one Noventum provides can be used to create a common way or or a way to work quicker, better and with lower costs.

In this blog we will explain how a common operating model based on best practices can be used to define the functional requirements of a digital platform by using a business-driven approach.

In addition to this blog, we also encourage you to listen to the related podcast in which we discuss this topic at length.
Functional Requirements

In our best practice library, the functional requirements are the functions and features that a software product or solution should provide. We have organized these functional requirements into a framework which we call the Functional Reference Architecture for Service and as such defines all the functionality a service organization typically needs.

For each business capability in our best practice operating model we have defined which functions and features are needed to support the business capability with an IT solution. Therefore, once the operating model has been designed as discussed in our previous blog, it can quickly be determined which functions and features may be required.

Taking a shortcut

Even by using a best practice model to define a common operating model, the alignment of all stakeholders involved may still take several months.

If however a company wants to kick off with the design of the future service IT architecture and start looking for potential solutions or products before the operating model is completely designed, a shortcut is available. Because the functional requirements are included in Noventum’s best practice model, companies can quickly identify the key functional requirements by pre-selecting the business capabilities that will be needed by their organization.

Determining which business capabilities are needed can be done by conducting a business scoping workshop. In this workshop, the participants, which should be business representatives, define typical end-to-end business scenarios from the perspective of key personas.

An example business scenario is: “A customer contacts the support center to report a problem with a machine. The machine is covered by a service contract. The problem can’t be resolved remotely and an FSE needs to fix the problem onsite within 8 hours. To fix it, a spare part as well as a calibration tool is needed. The problem is fixed within the agreed SLA”.

Based on the business scenarios, one can establish which business capabilities are needed to support that scenario. As the best practice library has defined which functionality is needed for each capability, we can then create a complete inventory of all functionalities that are needed to support all the business scenarios.

The requirements can then be further selected or prioritized based on the characteristics of the service business, business objectives and improvements. For example, if the company has a high volume of simple work orders and a large number of field service engineers – each of whom have several visits per day, then real-time planning optimization is more important than it would be for a company that provides complex services that require highly skilled and certified resources, large parts of repair kits, etc.

Alternatively, a more detailed requirements gathering exercise can be done to select and prioritize individual requirements to get a more precise view on what is required. The resulting list of functional requirements should be the starting point for designing the digital service platform.

Service business team

Last year Noventum helped a client design their service operating model, including the user stories that form the basis of the implementation. This was handed over to the customer’s IT implementation partner, but as they were not sufficiently involved, a knowledge gap appeared which made the implementation not only less efficient and also less effective in that the implementation was not entirely according to the design processes and management practices.

Therefore, it is important to establish a service business team that has excellent knowledge and experience of the service operating model and requirements. This team is responsible for designing the operating model and the requirements, and to support the IT implementation team to build the IT solution that is actually going to deliver the business requirements and help achieve the business objectives.

What’s next?
Now that the functional requirements have been identified, the next step is to start designing the solution architecture.
In the next blog post about the ‘Digitalisation of Service’ we will go into that.

Other blog posts in this series

Podcasts in this series

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