Service management isn’t a tool for big corporations only. Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) can also harness service management principles to minimise costs and maximise efficiency. But what does service management entail for SMEs, and how does it contribute to improved business performance? Let’s explore.
Understanding service management and its importance
Service management represents a strategic approach to designing, delivering, managing, and improving how an organisation uses information technology. For SMEs, it encompasses every process and policy to provide customer value and maintain a competitive edge in the marketplace. The results span far and wide – from enhanced customer satisfaction to improved internal processes and cost control for SMEs.
The role of service management in minimising costs
How does service management keep costs down? Operational efficiency and resource optimisation hold the key. Effective service management ensures that SMEs productively deploy their human, technological, or financial resources.
Consider incident management, for example. A well-defined process to handle IT incidents can dramatically reduce downtime, ensuring business continuity and preventing loss of revenue. Likewise, robust problem management can reduce recurring issues, saving the time and cost of repeatedly dealing with the same problems.
How service management maximises efficiency
Service management isn’t only about cost reduction. It’s also about maximising efficiency and delivering value. Effective service management allows SMEs to streamline their operations, leading to quicker service delivery, improved service quality, and, ultimately, happier customers.
For instance, the change management process ensures that any modifications to the IT infrastructure occur systematically and efficiently, reducing the risk of disruptions. Service level management assists SMEs in setting, managing, and meeting their customers’ expectations, enhancing customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Implementing service management in SMEs
The journey to service management may appear daunting, especially for SMEs with limited resources. However, the right approach can make the benefits outweigh the costs. Start by defining your service management strategy, ensuring alignment with your business goals. Next, identify the fundamental processes that require attention – anything from incident management to service level management.
Invest in a service management tool that matches your needs and budget. This tool should help you automate, track, and manage your service management processes. Lastly, make sure to train your team. Everyone should understand the new processes and their roles within them.
Final thoughts from GWIT
Implementing service management in SMEs might take time, but it’s a journey that can yield significant cost savings and increased efficiency rewards. Where can service management make the most important difference in your operation as an SME? How can you start integrating service management principles into your business processes? Consider these questions as you evaluate your current operations and plan for the future of your business.
We’d be delighted to help, even to facilitate a conversation between SMEs to spread awareness of the benefits and some sharing of the challenges.
The health pandemic has changed how we do business forever. What went before may no longer be fit for purpose so we must avoid recreating it.
So, what is relevant now? Here’s an approach to defining what comes next.
Things in the world of work are changing, fast.
Many organisations have started on their digital transformation journey over recent years.
Those that were ahead of the game found themselves better placed to change the way they operated as the pandemic unfolded.
Remote working, increased usage of digital tools, rapid adoption of new delivery methods and adapting to people not being in the same building: just some of the transformations we’ve all seen.
Almost without exception, organisations now need to adjust to whatever comes next.
Focusing on two key questions will help this adjustment:
What do customers need?
How can you show empathy as you adjust your business to meet these revised needs?
Here, we discuss the five-step process GWIT uses when approaching business and digital transformation.
#1 Assess activities to identify purpose, value and challenges
Over many years we’ve been under pressure to do things faster, cheaper and better.
Technology has been there in abundance but so have old-fashioned ways of working.
It might be the curse of the spreadsheet, the Access database back in the day, the bloated email inbox or of course, the filing cabinet in the corner, full of client paperwork.
If we spent a day in the life of one of your team, what activities would their day include and how would they typically go about those activities?
The likelihood is that in recent months you have removed the daily commute, the office chit-chat and the lunchtime dash from desk to non-descript food chain outlet and back.
Maybe, you’ve been brave enough to question the value of meetings that are always booked in for an hour, regardless of the topic.
Take a look at the activities that make up your working day, working week, working month, working quarter etc. How long do they take? Are they repetitive? How often do you do them?
Do you do those things because you have always done them? What purpose does the activity serve? Does your customer care about the outcome? How do the activities contribute to meeting the needs of your customers? Could it be better?
Ultimately assess the value of each of the activities.
Do you do things that take a long time but offer little value in the eyes of the customer?
Do you do things that are fast and valued by the customer?
Could you do less of the former and more of the latter?
How do you test whether customers value the activities?
How easy is each activity? Is it easy because you have become very good at doing it over and over again? Where things are difficult or challenging, what are the reasons for this?
Look at what you do and how you do it. What activities do you or your teams carry out that are time-consuming or subject to other challenges?
We know customers themselves are redefining their needs and expectations in a post-COVID world. Can you be confident that your work results in delivering personalised, next-level help and value to those customers?
Start to think about what might happen if you suddenly stopped doing some of the activities that take up the valuable time in your working day. For the things you don’t stop doing – might there be easier, alternative ways to operate that also improve the customer experience?
#2 Devise ways to streamline what you do
Lots of people go to great lengths to avoid having to change anything. It can be quite exhausting.
But often there are significant benefits from making tiny tweaks to streamline what you do.
For activities that remain, because they add value, is there a better way of going about things?
Can steps be removed from your processes?
Could delays and ‘wait time’ be removed?
Is there scope for duplication of effort to be eliminated?
Might errors be removed by seeking to take out manual steps and introducing a level of automation?
As the world looks to define what comes next, be mindful that customer needs and expectations may have changed significantly.
While DOTWIMP originated in the manufacturing industry, its adoption will identify savings and efficiencies for you regardless of the nature of your business.
Defects: When customers discover errors in your products or services, the cost of remediation is high, and there is a significant risk of reputational damage.
Overproduction: Do you make things before they are needed – leading to stockpiling / storage challenges?
Transportation: Does work move around your office or factory? Could this be made more efficient, particularly now that we are working remotely or in a COVID-secure way?
Waiting: From delays between departments to time waiting for an individual who may have become a single point of failure. Do you always need to chase that approval? Does everything stop until one person acts?
Inventory: Stockpiling materials and unsold products. Tying up capital expenditure but also risking damage and obsolescence.
Motion: Do employees have what they need in one place – or do they routinely need to seek information or materials from multiple sources, suppliers or locations? Do they need to log in to various systems to do their job? Do they struggle to respond to queries promptly because of this?
Processing: Are you using more steps and more tools than you need to? Particularly important if you’re using technology that you pay for on a consumption basis.
#3 Implement changes at speed
Adopt an agile approach. Make changes small but often and earn value every step of the way.
Bring the right people along with you. Enable your team to lead and manage the changes, learning from competitors and other industry leaders.
Fail fast, fix fast.
#4 Measure and continually improve
Monitor the effect of your changes and look to continually fine tune the way you work.
Give yourself the ability to ‘fail fast’ on the more daring of changes and to adjust your course quickly.
After just a short period, the way things work may be quite different from what had gone before.
#5 Communicate success to foster further innovation
Clients are shocked when they look back at their achievements over even a short period.
Not only have they fallen into the trap of delivering things so well and so fast that they consider it normal – they have missed out on the opportunity to celebrate their success and to share the good news stories with their customers.
A key part of the ‘measure and continually improve’ step that we covered above is concerned with having the ability to demonstrate the success of your change initiatives.
Share your successes and encourage your customers to respond and contribute to future successes.
Keen to get started?
How about an initial 1-hour review of the way you work? If we can help we’ll recommend some next steps. If we can’t help, well, we will be honest.
The BBC TV programme Tomorrow’s World fascinated me as I grew up. Many of their predictions have since become mainstream.
The science behind today’s technologies may be complex, but smart application results in straightforward, engaging experiences for customers.
At GWIT, we continually grapple with the marvels of today’s digital world. We encourage clients to question what has gone before and to move to digital ways of working. As one said:
The pinnacle of the motorsport world is Formula 1. Here new technologies are developed that later enter mainstream motoring.
Away from the motorsport world, at GWIT, we keep an eye on what world leaders in emerging tech are focusing on.
These are the technologies that will next influence our daily lives, with or without us realising it.
Quantum technology is already being used in our daily lives, for example in the ultra-precise atomic clocks behind your car’s satnav system, and a vast array of other microelectronic devices. But that’s just a taste of what’s to come. Another revolution is already taking shape.