Although they may deliver great financial data, mainstream enterprise resource planning (ERP) software have limitations which impacts an employee’s ability to deliver the service the customer expects. Most ERP’s were designed for manufacturers and focus on finance, not service. The service staff are left struggling with day to day operations knowing that decision makers will never agree to replace their system.
“You can get the best of both worlds by integrating it with a service management system,” Gary Jones, head of sales at service Geeni, said. “The finance team can continue getting secure data reporting from the existing system, combined with an add on that will ensure you are delivering first class service. You need to enable your greatest asset, your staff. Although most service businesses know this, some still do nothing. This could be because they are concerned about the cost and time to implement a new system, but more often it is because they are frightened about integrating two systems and the risk that carries.”
One such system, application programming interface (API), can help companies to connect services as a software (SaaS), on premise and cloud applications and instantly infuse artificial intelligence into any business process. “This fear of API Integration is born from past experience and how integrations used to be primarily code based,” Keith Rigg, director of Jitterbit, explained. “With this, came a lot of problems including the length of time it took for a project to come to fruition and the likelihood and frequency of it going wrong. People are even more cautious when they are thinking about integrating an ERP system because of their financial data requirements. The business might be a programmable logic controller (PLC) and need to report its profits to investors, so the last thing they will want to do is jeopardise financial reporting.
“Today, there are very safe and reliable ways to achieve efficiency and have an optimised cost model. Bring in a solution that is vendor supported and have the correct support frameworks in place, then you can be agile and achieve massive efficiency gains. You can do all this with risk mitigation in mind but doing nothing is not an option.”
With ERP’s being primarily finance driven, the information within the system is only looked at from a profit and loss perspective. Therefore, the focus is always on cost and profits, not service efficiency, despite this, the two go hand in hand. To improve revenue, service managers need to push for a system that will enable them to improve the service they are providing. First time fix rates (FTFR) are critical for any service business that wants to increase customer retention and therefore profit.
“If you cannot track first time fix rates, then you have no chance of improving profitability,” Jones continued. “Financial director’s working in the service industry need to understand the link between service operation efficiency and profitability. And if the system does not capture and support the active use of this level of data, it is almost impossible to improve service delivery and customer satisfaction. So, those top level financial reports are still going to show poor numbers.
“What the people at the top (The C Suite) do not consider is how many people in the business are just making do with the system they have, luckily, there is a resolution to the problem. You just have to integrate your financial information with a system that can cater for service delivery. That way you get the best of both worlds. We all care about service. Think about the last time you complained and eight out of ten times it will be linked to service, not a product failure.”