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Managing the inevitability of change

There is something that is constant in our existence as service providers - that is change. Economic changes, evolving customer demands and the rapid rate of technology innovation require service providers to stay current and relevant. Although we all aim to maintain a strategic approach, we are continuously tasked with dealing with change and making decisions to address those changes. 

Any of these sound familiar?
  • General downturn in the economy, increase in interest rates or cost of living
  • Acquire a new company and need to consolidate the portfolio of services
  • Increasing competition requires redress of pricing and positioning
  • Introduction of a new service to capitalise on an opportunity
  • Customer requires an increase in availability of their business application
  • Change of commercial terms of a customer's service contract due to payment issues
  • New application version released for general availability
  • Hardware component update and no available stock for previous component
  • Changes in Microsoft's SPLA pricing
  • Increase in data centre power costs

Some changes are planned (e.g. pricing updates), some can be anticipated (e.g. change in power costs), some are very rare (e.g. acquisition) and some are uncontrollable (e.g. customer insolvency). 

Change in Customer Requirement

Take for example a customer that needs to introduce a new business application and is looking to optimise the availability and efficiency of their solution. Ideally, when this transpires we aim collect as much data as possible to make the most informed decision and create the best possible outcome. But...

Where do you go for that information? Where do you find what the customer has purchased, how much it costs, when did the contract for the services, what are our current prices,  is there a new discount structure how much has existing product/service changed, or are there new services that could be up-sold to address their new requirement? 

We continuously find this information is widely dispersed across spreadsheets, in service management systems, on scanned PDF documents and in employees inboxes. Consider the time it takes to respond to a customer wishing to spend more money with your organisation. More importantly, what is the impact if you get that information wrong - commercially, technically or financially? 

Change in Service Configuration

We wanted to share an example from recent discussions with a client. They provide a wide range of technology solutions, but are focused on cloud as the strategic direction of the business. The promise of cloud to their customers is that change can happen quickly; however, the ability to make changes to their cloud offering was anything but. Customers were starting to ask for a 'virtual server' with more horsepower to support more demanding business applications (e.g. SQL Server 2012 Enterprise) that would exceed the capabilities of the existing specification. 

The "change" to their virtual server offering would now include a new 8 vCPU configuration to compliment the existing 1, 2 and 4 vCPU options. Sounds simple enough to make some changes to their quote configuration system and get sales selling. Unfortunately, this was not the case. This change required business requirements, developers, UAT, time and cost - none of which where in large supply. 

How would you manage this change in your business today? How long would it take for this change to be implemented to get sales selling? What is the cost of lost opportunity? 

For this customer it was between 4-6 weeks using a unique developer skill set and between 3-5K GBP per change. Now, multiply that be the number of changes in a given month and it starts to add up. 

Managing Change in solutionEngine

Following on from our previous blog, we believe it is important for the power to manage change to be in the hands of the business with as few dependencies as possible. Accepting that change is inevitable we set out to design a platform that could centralise cost, product, pricing, customer, quote, order and solution information - improving visibility to data to make decisions - to ensure measured change can be executed quickly. 

We thrive on demonstrating how solutionEngine can address specific issues and help manage the impact of change - if you have an issue that is impacting your business, please reach out - let us give it try using solutionEngine. mike@servicepath.co

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