With the recent launch of ServiceMax Service Performance Metrics™ the Californian based field service software provider has created a new tool that sits between the worlds of consulting and technology. But what exactly is Service Performance Metrics and will this see a shift towards professional services for ServiceMax? To find out more Kris Oldland spoke exclusively to Rei Kasai...
KO: You’ve mentioned previously that you see ServiceMax very much as a field service company providing technology rather than a technology company providing a field service solution. How big of a differentiator is that amongst those other companies in the space?
RK: I think to be fair, it’s why we have been successful. Going back to comments from customers on why they choose us; they view us as experts, they view us as “You are field service”. It’s interesting seeing it that way because it’s not just the technology, that’s just one aspect of it and there are many great technology companies out there; but the big difference is, how do you apply those things into real-world business problems and solve them at scale?
"I think, if you look at what we’re doing, it’s not just taking these technologies but empowering them into these common practices and I think that’s what the big difference is..."
We need to democratise this and make this knowledge more widely available, that’s our job as a company to bring this value set to everyone in our ecosystem. So we brought those best practices, from a measurement point of view and then put them into a product so our clients can take advantage of it.
These are common metrics, all interpreted in a different way, but we made it so that it could be available to anyone as a customer.
KO: So what makes this new development so exciting, because let’s face it, every FSM software company out there seems to be talking about analytics tools right now...
RK: They’re talking about the technology aspect.
But there’s two components of what we are doing; one is that if you cannot measure, you can’t improve. So we start with what should I measure? Well, we have an opinion on what you should be measuring and that is based on what the best-in-class companies are measuring and then we codify that as eight standard metrics within the technology.
How do I visualise that in a dashboard, how do I slice that data over time? That’s the technology aspect.
But to even come to an opinion on first time to fix, time to repair with a contract attached etc, you need to understand what you should be measuring.
In the second piece, we have what we call ‘catalyst’ and catalyst is what you can imagine as the packaging of process.
"Service has not really changed from a procedure point of view over the last 20 years..."
Some companies may or may not know what those processes should be and so going back to why they come to us, it’s like “Oh, you understand how service business should run. You understand how we run” and so we could even help them run better.
KO: Would you say that this is positioning ServiceMax essentially as a much as a consultancy as you are a technology company?
RK: No, we’re still a software company.
KO: But there’s something more here, isn’t there?
RK: I ‘d say it’s really about capturing the knowledge of hundreds of years of domain experience by all these industry people that we’ve hired onto our team.
Because it’s one thing to consult a customer, to gauge and understand their problems and eventually come up with solutions to them but how do you enable that into the technology so you can scale this?
You may not be able to afford those expensive services but how do I democratise this for everyone in the ServiceMax family?
it’s one thing to consult a customer, to gauge and understand their problems and eventually come up with solutions to them but how do you enable that into the technology so you can scale this?
RK: Exactly. I think in the end, from a customer point of view, there’s a whole personal connection - but how do they drive value? How do they become the champion within the organisation? They become the leader and we enable them in that way.
KO: Is it applicable across all different verticals?
RK: I think at minimum it’s having the understanding and part of that is education, some customers may not know any better. So, how do we empower them with the knowledge to do something better for their business and then drive that?
I think that’s part of our major difference why people choose us.
KO: That’s an interesting point because obviously there’s a journey of continuous improvement for most companies so how easily does the solution evolve? Because obviously today’s best practice may not be tomorrow’s...
RK: Exactly. And that’s why I think, how do we make it flexible? Because we know that we want people to change as part of how we believe we can make the biggest advances.
We want people to change, so how does the technology allow that? We have to measure that change so we can improve it, it all circles back to if you can’t measure, you can’t improve.
But at the same time a measurement and also a solution, is a point in time of where that company was in their lifecycle. As it grows and we help companies go through that maturity, how do we enable our customers beyond this?
That is all part of our product strategy and as we add other elements and components into the solutions we will see it evolve further.
KO: Coming back to the Service Performance Metrics specifically as a tool, how much is it about the technology and algorithms and how much is about the insight from your customer transformation team?
RK: This is where we get into some of how we design products, in effect it’s about not coming up with technology and then trying to find use cases but instead everything is brimming out from the use cases.
We see our most successful implementations driven this way especially compared to those companies who go ‘Here are 300 features, go implement them’.
And so, with that foresight, it’s very easy to engineer those things because if you have that foresight to know where you want to go with it, it’s much easier to plan and much easier to execute and I think that has really helped us.
I think with the global customer transformation team and the engineering team being in close partnership has enabled us to deliver these analytics but that’s just the first stage. You have 96% contract attachment rate - great, so...what does that mean?
But the reality is it’s comparisons that will add value.
So we also have a notion of time-based series analytics built in. It’s analytics of how you do in comparisons over a period of time as it relates to revenue, cost and time. Those are some of the metrics that we are able to measure.
KO: There’s a position I firmly believe in, which is that in field services the implementation of any service provider software should be viewed as a business investment rather than a technology investment.
RK: It is.
KO: So do you think products like Service Performance Metrics will help service directors make this distinction to their executive boards?
RK: Absolutely. Because it’s ‘How do I translate the business case into true requirements for a solution.’ But also keep in mind the day to day realities of executing the processes.
You really don’t want to re-implement again in the near future so instead of looking at it from the point of view, of ‘I’ve got to get this solution live as fast as possible and just re-do what I have now, but with some automation’, understand that this is a time for change.
Having that point of view and the team understanding that as a goal, and as an outcome focused point of view -it changes the way that you implement.
You really don’t want to re-implement again in the near future so instead of looking at it from the point of view, of ‘I’ve got to get this solution live as fast as possible and just re-do what I have now, but with some automation’, understand that this is a time for change. And if you were to think of it in that way, what should you measure and act on? What are the key things that you need to measure to move the business forward? Then think about how you can implement the solution to achieve that.
I think that approach can really help. We see our most successful implementations driven this way especially compared to those companies who go ‘Here are 300 features, go implement them’.