Noventum have been a trusted pillar of the service management community for a long, long time and now they have established an excellent process to allow field service companies establish which FSM vendors best meet their needs. René Boverhuis guides us through their methodology...
A Field Service Management (FSM) solution is a key enabler for a service business to deliver best-in-class customer experiences, maximise business efficiency and achieve strategic goals.
Selecting the most suitable FSM solution can be a daunting task as there are numerous products on the market, each with its own strengths and weaknesses, and no single product can support complete end-to-end service processes.
A complete service solution will almost always consist of a combination of several products, some of which may already be implemented, except in a greenfield situation. Organisations thus have to accommodate their existing IT strategy and architecture in which the FSM solution should be integrated.
To select a FSM solution, Noventum recommends a seven-step approach:
1. Define strategic business objectives and goals
Before starting to select a new FSM solution, it is important to understand why an organisation needs this and what the organisation wants to accomplish with it.
Questions that need to be answered include:
- What direction is your service organisation heading?
- What type of services will be provided to your customers three to five years from now? Outcome based, predictive maintenance, etc.
- What are the main business goals in terms of growth and profit margins?
- Why not strive for a standardised global operating model and supporting service IT architecture?
It is important to understand the strategic objectives and goals as the new solution should be able to provide the functionality to enable the business to achieve the goals and be able to support the services that will be launched in the future.
2. Identify key service characteristics and service process scope
The type of service contracts that are offered, the type of market the organisation is addressing and the way these services are delivered greatly influence the required capabilities that a FSM solution must provide.
To get an understanding of the nature of the service business that needs to be supported, insight into key service characteristics is needed, including:
The different service contract types that are offered.
Service market as a B2C service organisation has quite a different dynamic than a B2B.
How is service delivered? By using internal resources, subcontractors, outsourcing of service activities, or a combination? Does this differ per county, region or business unit?
Size of the service business (if possible broken down per country, region or business unit) in terms of:
- Service revenue per year
- Total number of service contracts, service requests and work orders per month
- Number of technicians, dispatchers, service managers
- Value of service parts consumed per month
- Total number of installed base objects
The functional scope required of a FSM solution is dependent on the service processes that the organisation needs to have in place. To be future proof, the processes required in the future also must be identified to be able to support new type of services that are planned.
At Noventum we use the Service Capability & Performance (SCP) Standards as a framework to identify the business capabilities that should be included in the scope. A good way of determining which service business capabilities are relevant for an organisation is by identifying key end-to-end business scenarios and for each business scenario determine which SCP capability is touched by it.
Using this approach, a high-level business capability model can be created relatively quickly. This can also be used as a starting point for the definition of a new global standard.
3. Design High-level Service IT Architecture
Most organisations already have IT applications in place that support part of the service business, often this differs per geography or business unit.
To determine which elements of the existing IT landscape can continue to be used or which applications are no longer needed, it is important to fully understand the landscape. It is important to understand:
- Which applications are currently in use?
- Which processes are they supporting?
- What the technical state of these applications?
- How satisfied the business users are with the current applications?
- What are the gaps in terms of functionality?
This analysis can then be used to design a high-level vision of the future service IT architecture which can be used to: decide which applications should continue to be used, identify the gaps for which a new solution must be found, and determine any dependencies that should be considered.
This also includes a mapping of the service process onto the new architecture. For example, it could be the case that the existing ERP implementation is used for production and installation at customer sites. The initial installed base then is created in the ERP, then transferred to FSM solution and maintained in the FSM solution from that point on. Using the new High-Level Service IT Architecture, the process scope for the new FSM solution is further refined.
4. Define functional and non-functional requirements and constraints
Now that the business processes have been defined, the next step is to define the functional features that the new FSM solution must have.
To define the required features, Noventum’s SCP Functional Reference Architecture is used. The reference architecture consists of a set of functional domains, each with a set of typical features. The processes from the SCP Standards are mapped to the functional domains and therefore we know which ones are relevant for the process scope (fig.1).
This results in a comprehensive list of features that the new solution must support. This list is prioritised according the business goals and strategy.
Besides the functional requirements, the non-functional requirements and constraints are also defined. This includes the typical things like performance, security, availability, flexibility and interoperability, and constraints that define the context and environment in which the new FSM solution must be deployed.
5. Identify short-list of FSM products that match requirements and constraints
The functional scope, High Level service IT Architecture, functional and non-functional requirements and constraints can now be used to the define a short-list of products.
Noventum has good understanding of the FSM products on the market today, which includes that feature they provide and how they fit in existing architecture. We regularly publish our FSM Reality Check (fig.2) which ranks each FSM solution in terms of the ability to provide business benefits vs. the risks and costs involved in implementing and operating these solutions.
Using our knowledge of the FSM products, Noventum can help organisations to quickly reduce a long-list of potential products and vendors to the two or three most suitable ones, eliminating the need to go through a lengthy RFI process.
6. Evaluate FSM products and vendors
For each of the vendors and their product on the short-list it needs to be evaluated into detail to what extend the product can address the functional and non-functional requirements, whether it fits into the existing/future IT architecture and if it can meet the constraints.
To significantly shorten the time required to select a solution, Noventum often assists organisations in defining the RFP (using the functional scope, non-functional requirements and constraints) and evaluating the RFP responses, demonstrations and presentations.
As part of the process Noventum believes it is important that reference visits are part of the selection process as this provides the opportunity to hear from peers about their experience with the solution.
Reference visits also provide insight into why an organisation selected their specific solution and to give confidence that the solution works in practice.
7. Conduct Proof of Concept
High user adoption of you FSM solution is a critical success factor and there might be some essential specific functionality for a service organisation that needs detailed evaluation.
A Proof of Concept is a good way to validate whether the technicians are comfortable using the mobile FSM app to do their job, for example. Other examples include testing contract types, SLA’s or complex preventive maintenance schedules.
Together with Noventum and the product vendor, some of the key business scenarios defined in Step 2 can be implemented in a short period of time and validated with a select group of stakeholders.
The Proof of Concept is thus used to confirm that the selected product indeed is the best suitable FSM product to support the service processes and enables the service organisation to meet their strategic goals.
Although selecting the right FSM solution for an organisation is a daunting task, by using the right frameworks, knowledge of the service business and FSM market, it can be done in a much shorter time frame and cost. While an organisation can be sure that they select a solution, which is able to support their service business now and in the future.
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