Automating service operation could have been simple had people not been involved
In a recent article published on Mackinsy Quarterly, Harold Brink, Senthil Muthiah, and Rajan Naik share experience from a service automation project that went south the first time round only to emerge successful on the second attempt after key blockers have been removed from the process. Interestingly, and quite as expected, these blockers were mostly related to human factors and had hardly any bearing on the technology.
While such challenges, as the ones described in the article, are common to many IT intensive projects, my belief is that for service automation and optimization projects the challenges are even bigger on account of two main factors:
- The impact of change on a service workforce, and field workforce in particular, is significantly bigger as it changes the day to day routine of people and typically limits the flexibility they have in managing their activities within the day
- Service automation systems from leading vendors do not restrict themselves to providing decision support information like most computerized systems, but would also go to the length of making an automated decision that affect people’s activities.
The disciplined approach of simulation, pilot tests, and process change as suggested in the article does make perfect sense and one that I’ve seen many service organization follow to a successful implementation.
I would also add to this approach a discovery phase to uncover the service policy of an organization and ensure alignment across all working levels. Such educational consultancy services are part of our ClickSoftware University program specifically built to guide a service organization management team through this process even before a technology investment has been committed.