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  • Mike Shields

Service Modernization: 4 Best Practices From Industry Leaders

Service providers are modernizing at a rate never before seen in the industry – it’s expected to hit a market value of $4.45 billion by next year. This is all happening in a world that has drastically changed culturally and technologically, with enterprises modernizing their platforms, shifting business models, and rising to meet the growing expectations of customers. And there’s good reason enterprises are rising to the task, despite difficult global conditions.

Digital transformations are making service providers more agile and responsive to market and customer-driven demands while driving new streams of revenue. A recent report by Capgemini Digital Transformation Institute showed that 18% of manufacturers plan to fully shift to a service-based model. That may not be the model for most, but regardless of your long-term plans, modernization benefits are massive.

We discussed service modernization in-depth during an event hosted by Service Council that I joined, along with our customer Andrew Creathorn, President & CEO of Adaptec Solutions and Justin Pittman, eLogic’s Vice President of Industry Solutions. You can stream the event here.

I’d like to share with you some of the best practices for planning modernizations that can improve your project’s launch.

Utilize Subject Matter Experts

Manufacturing and service enterprises are full of knowledgeable, experienced people. Make modernization a Business and IT project. These projects are woven into your daily operations, from service reps and technicians, to managers and executives. Bring in your key stakeholders to get a well-rounded view of the project and how it will be incorporated into the daily life of your company.

“Get engagement from all participants, those subject matter experts, and make sure that silence doesn't mean that they don't have something really good to contribute,” Creathorn suggests. “We found out some things towards the end of scoping that changed the way we were thinking of the business model that we may not have otherwise gotten.”

Define The Scope Up Front

Define your challenges and how you want to solve them – it’s the whole purpose and reason behind your modernization. Set the vision, goals, objectives, budget, so your leaders and users understand the purpose and plan of your project. Define roles for those involved, create timelines, and technology needs. As Dwight Eisenhower said: “Plans are nothing. Planning is everything.”

In the case of Adaptec Solutions, in just a few months they were able to launch a new service platform across three companies they’d recently acquired. It was a rapid modernization across numerous locations, businesses, and service orgs. “I'd like to say that we didn't stumble at all, but that might not be the entire truth,” Creathorn said. “But I think we've done a really good job of defining the scope up front.”

Don’t Underestimate Training Time

Field service modernizations will touch a great number of people – with a very broad range of needs and skills. The everyday users, like technicians, field service managers, and customer service reps, will need to have a solid understanding of the technology and systems, but some may not have experience with a tablet or service software. Their experience and skills with technology will vary, and it’s best to give a cushion to ensure your team is well prepared.

“Don't underestimate the amount of time it's going to take to train people,” Creathorn advises. “We were doing a lot of double-session training at the end. And there's probably a generational thing here, right? You get people that (are older), and you give them a mobile device and they’re less familiar with it or less skilled with it than somebody that’s younger.”

Get Feedback from Customers

Your customers are ultimately going to be the ones who benefit from your modernization. But a shift in business models or service agreements may not meet their needs. Getting their buy-in or recommendations can help you escape some of the startup hiccups you can encounter.

“Adaptec was able to quickly develop business model use cases and get that in front of the customer to determine if it was really valid or not, and in a couple of those instances it came back that no, they weren't, and that was good because instead of having a built-out solution and then saying ‘Hey, do you want to buy this?’ It was more of, ‘Here's what we're proposing. Does it make sense or not?’”

Read more about Adaptec's story here.

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