|Our Model – An Integrated Solution Network (ISN)
Supporting technical solutions through a virtual resource network.
Outsights’ Community believes the way technical support commonly works in the industry cannot work well for the technological solutions with which we are challenged going forward. Supporting solutions is different than supporting products.
The industry needs a new way of working if we are to keep adding more complexity. (i.e. why do we need a different model).
Special Note - In 2012, we are launching an Integrated Solution Network for the industry, called The SuVortal, to help experts, service partners, vendors and customers collaboratively create and share record breaking levels of value. For information, see The SuVortal page.
To improve the performance of solutions, support needs to know and show 3 things:
An ISN operates like a network instead of like a production line. It measures the economic value of the work rather than trying to measure every activity. It uses an addressing schema to apply to the right resource. Because it integrates these 3 things as it works, it becomes more effective as it expands instead of increasing transaction administration costs.
- Relative Value – A consistent measure of value which integrates all relevant factors and distributes the value to the appropriate people. The level of investment in a solution and the scope of impact of an issue influence value. Preventing issues increases value. Those who collaborate to sustain optimal performance share value.
- Right Method – Issues have to be processes with the appropriate urgency of actions, timeliness of resolution, and scope of visibility. We must know what the expected resolution effort, skill and mitigations are for known issues.
- Right Resource – Apply the expertise needed at first point of contact even when we don’t know at the start what the problem is or what product is creating the problem.
ISN builds on the organizing design of Knowledge Centered Support (KCS). In the original design, these dynamics are what were to pull together the “solve” and “evolve” workflows. It is described in the work on the adaptive organization (i.e. the Betty model). It took more than 10 years to just get the first workflow going so the industry never quite closed the loop. This evolution closes the loop.
Why do we need a different operational model?
Outsights has been involved in designing and deploying knowledge centered support for more than 15 years, implementing collaborative teaming to meet growth challenges for the last 10 years, and designing reputation-based performance metrics to expand service levels across partners and customer communities, for the past 5 years. We learned the product-based, escalation-dependent operational model will not scale.
Providers and customers of product support services cannot afford the costs associated with supporting whole solutions in dynamic operational environments. Their current environment is characterized by:
It results in:
- Product queues
- Proprietary knowledge bases
- Activity-based performance metrics
- Single threaded cases in CRM systems
Technology users are left searching around for the right resource (i.e. person or vendor) to solve their problems and have to work through a lot of trial and error for the right resolution to their issues. It is more and more difficult to even know what is not working and how to prevent issues – yet increasingly, everyone’s livelihood depends on these technologies and services.
- Stagnant backlog of open cases
- Half or more of the support costs are driven by less than 10% of the support volume
- Customers have to escalate to get personalized attention in the support workflow
- Environmental factors have as much if not more influence on problems experienced- and the environment is not adequately tracked
- Experts feel over-extended and under–compensated
Experts have a hard time adhering to rigid transactional processes and don’t have time to expand their skills to meet new demands. Support organizations cannot draw a line between what they are responsible for and what is the responsibility of another product or service provider. Ironically, the more tools and resources support providers invest in to enable better support, the more tedious the support processes become. More content means more searching, more specialization means more processing options, more data means more inactionable metrics, resulting in less understanding and accommodation of the customers’ needs.