In 2013, TSIA members reported through the Field and Support Service Benchmark Surveys that they achieved great success through the utilization of remote monitoring and proactive support tools. The most notable improvements reported by TSIA members included significant cost reductions, reductions in the time to resolve an incident, and improvements in customer satisfaction. In a just-released member report, “Remote Monitoring and Proactive Support,” we took a closer look at how successful companies are optimizing their service delivery channels in all phases of the remote monitoring continuum.
A Business Case for Change
Everything will be connected. It is estimated that there are over 10.7 billion objects connected to the Internet today. That number is expected to grow to 50 billion by 2020. As more companies enable their equipment and software to gather data and diagnose problems remotely, customer expectations for improved performance will only grow.
Developing an integrated service channel optimization strategy is top of mind for many organizations. But it’s not just about cost avoidance. Avoided field service visits and fast, efficient repairs also make customers very happy. The more that incidents are addressed remotely, the less impact to customer operations. Customers experience less downtime, there are fewer escalations, and more output can be generated from their operations.
Listed below are summaries from the TSIA report mentioned above, regarding the financial and customer benefits that have been generated by implementing remote monitoring and proactive support tools.
Financial and Customer Benefits
Service Channel Optimization: The financial benefit of optimizing service delivery channels is significant and undeniable. The shift of incident resolution from a high-cost direct labor channel to automated support resulted in total cost savings approaching 50 percent―resulting in a major improvement in gross margins.
Spare Parts: Leveraging remote diagnostics to optimize spare parts management is another significant opportunity. At a past Technology Services World conference, hosted by TSIA, one enterprise hardware company reported that they were able to reduce the time to initiate a spare-part order with a 99 percent accurate diagnosis. This was accomplished through automated service requests based on alerts from embedded diagnostics.
Reduced Time to Resolve / Increased Uptime: An added benefit of embedded diagnostics is increased uptime. An accurate diagnosis of the problem is automatically provided before arrival on site, without human intervention, including instructions on the repair and how to install the replacement part. The result is a reduction in the mean time to repair.
Improved Service Entitlement Tracking and Revision-Level Upgrades: Product asset information is made available for analysis and verification of issues. This information provides automatic feedback into the knowledgebase, which is used for future product improvements. The product asset information is also used for automatic revision-level upgrades and downloads.
Reduced Learning Curve for New Hires: The development of a knowledgebase to support proactive support has an added benefit for talent management. One TSIA member company reported that it reduced the time to bring a new support representative on board while increasing employee satisfaction and reducing employee attrition rates.
Improved Customer Satisfaction: Comparison of before and after customer satisfaction scores among all pacesetter companies highlighted in the report show significant increases.
Success stories and pacesetter practices are also shared in TSIA’s report, noting how technology service providers deploy embedded diagnostics to remotely monitor the health of installed equipment, analyze equipment performance data, predict and analyze equipment failure, and trigger preventive spare parts and on-site repair events.
The bottom line: The implementation of remote monitoring and proactive support is one of those rare initiatives that can make customers and the CFO happy. With the number of connected devices growing at an exponential rate, if you haven’t started down the remote monitoring continuum yet, you risk falling way behind.
About the Authors
Vele Galovski is TSIA’s vice president of field services research. During his career as a services executive, he has provided thought leadership and driven breakthrough performance in high profile assignments in a diverse set of companies including: Xerox, Eastman Kodak, Bank of America, NVR, and several cloud services startups. Vele may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ken O’Reilly is the former vice president of support services research for TSIA. He lead TSIA’s efforts in industry benchmarking, research, and thought leadership in the area of support services. His responsibilities included driving the TSIA research agenda related to the fast-changing world of support services.