Digitalisation of Service, how to manage complexity

Digitalisation of Service, how to manage complexity

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 discuss the challenges that service organisations may have to get started with the design of such a digital service platform, and provide suggestions how to address those challenges. In the previous blog we discussed the challenges that companies could face when designing a digital service platform, and that the design can become rather complex.

In this blog René Boverhuis, Senior #SolutionArchitect at #Noventum, discusses the how to manage this. In addition to reading this blog, we also encourage you to listen to the related podcast here, in which we also discuss this topic.

As discussed in the previous blog, designing a digital service platform to support the service business is a complex task and should not be underestimated. Most companies take several years to do this. In this blog we will explain how companies can do this in a matter of weeks.

A complex problem, such as designing a solution, can best be managed by breaking it up into smaller problems.

In the case of designing a service management solution, we break it up in smaller problems by using our functional reference architecture for service. The reference architecture shows all the functionality that is typically needed by a service organisation. The functional reference architecture is based on the business capabilities the service organisation needs to achieve its objectives (as defined by the common operating model). So, it is really driven by the what the service business needs rather than what an IT solution promises to provide.

Using the functional reference architecture, a fit-GAP analysis should be done to determine which functionality already exists, which application provides it and then determine what functionality is still missing.

This can be done by assessing the current application landscape and map the existing applications on the Functional Reference Architecture for Service. The result of the Fit-GAP analysis are the functional gaps that we need to address.

When selecting technology or products that complement the solution, it is important to look at both the functional and technology fit.

The functional fit is important as this greatly influences the business benefits a company can get out of it.

It is important to identify the most strategically important functional requirements for your business. For example, if your business has a high volume of visits per technician per day, the field service forecasting and planning functionality is going to be very important. Or, if you have a very knowledge intensive service business, then knowledge management and artificial intelligence is very important.

Technical fit is important because without a good fit, the risks and costs of implementation and operating a solution go up. From a technical perspective it is important that the technology is aligned with the existing IT architecture, IT strategy and roadmap. For example, it must work with the strategically chosen IT platforms. Strategic IT decisions are often platform decisions and has a great impact on the technical fit. For example, if a strategic IT decision has been made to use the SAP (ERP, service parts management, finance) in combination with Salesforce (Sales, Service), then it does not make sense to introduce a third platform just for service. So, then it is best to find out how the selected platforms can fill in the gaps or look for a best of breed product that integrates well with the existing platforms.

If not carefully assessing the functional and technical fit, the end result will not be as expected. For example, one of our clients made a rather emotional choice for a service platform based on good relationships and reputation of the vendor, despite that fact that we had factually proven that this was not the right decision. Five years and 25 million euro later, the service platform still is not implemented. Because of this, they missed out on becoming the leader in their market.

If you do it right though, you can be successful such as another client. They did make a well founded and fact-based decision on the technology and managed to transform their global service business in three years’ time. They standardized service processes in more than 30 countries, implemented a new service management solution, and introduced new service propositions that have been driving their growth. They now doubled the service revenue in three years’ time.

To assess the functional and technical fit requires an understanding of all service-related software products and platforms and it can take years to obtain that knowledge. A typical service organization has access to this.

Service Solution Blueprints

To help companies accelerate the design of the digital service platform, Noventum has captured this in what we call Service Solution Blueprints, which can be used by all companies to help them in this process without the need of a lot of external help. Using Service Solution Blueprint, the high-level solution architecture can be designed in a matter of weeks.

What’s next?

In the next blog post about the ‘Digitalisation of Service‘ we will explain what a service solution blueprint consists of and how it can be used.

Other blog posts in this series

Podcasts in this series

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