During the last quarter of 2018, we successfully established our first operational Managed Service for a strategic customer based in France, in order to provide support for Oracle CPQ (Configure, Price, Quote) and CRM (Customer Relationship Management) via OSC (Oracle Sales Cloud).
Recognising that the service-wrap is a key component for any solution provider operating SAAS (Software as a Service), how did this come to fruition and what were the challenges we faced in order to provide the customer with an effective solution and service?
Firstly, we needed to establish an appropriate partnership with a solution specialist for Sales Cloud. This would allow us to leverage our expertise in CPQ in tandem with their expertise on Sales Cloud (in this context operating as the customers CRM tool). To this end, we collaborated with BPI OnDemand who themselves had a Managed Service offering already established.
We also looked to leverage best practice, loosely following the principles of ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) and taking the salient elements of our years of experience operating complex Service Desk practices in global organisations.
Through effective collaboration, process mapping and face-to-face dialogue, we were able to very quickly establish a way of working which allowed our Technical Consultants to utilise the same tool and consistent logic as our Partner. Clear assignment and responsibility for resolution of tickets upon receipt of the request was encompassed. Initially we avoided automation and self-service, to allow us to develop a highly-responsive, customer-conscious behaviour for both our internal roles of CSM (Customer Success Manager) and CPQ Consultants in addition to the external roles of the BPI OnDemand team. Aligned to our core values, our focus remained on people and relationships as opposed to systems.
During the first few months of the Managed Service, we deliberately sense-checked all requests from our customer and stayed close to all responses being provided. This offered us the opportunity to ensure consistency in the questions, whilst also coaching our partners and vice-versa with them coaching us. This allowed good knowledge transfer and allowed us to take some lessons learned from the resolution of the early tickets. This also naturally allowed us to develop a strong relationship with both our Customer and our supporting Partner allowing us to consistently offer a highly-responsive Managed Service.
Our Future Aspirations
With informal response times and behavioural trends being managed internally, we do not presently require robust or vigorous SLA (Service Level Agreement) mechanics. We currently operate around a ‘best-endeavours’ model for responding to issues (same day responses are a pre-requisite and we strive to operate with a <4 hour per update target). A formally stated FTR (First Time Response) of 30 minutes for ticket assignment is in place, which is well suited to our cost point for operating the Managed Service. As we increase in scale and potentially ramp up our headcount the option to incorporate more robust options for SLA for our services and OLA (Operational Level Agreement) for dependent services by third-parties can be further assessed.
Self-Service (for logging tickets and receiving automated responses) is also a natural stage to progress to and we have defined the mechanics for introducing this in the future during our initial assessment.
The use of a KB (Knowledge Base) is an established process and we will explore options to introduce this capability further downstream, in parallel with the provision of the self-service portal.
Problem Management and RCA (Root Cause Analysis) are currently being handled independently of the Managed Service Tool so we may also explore the option to incorporate this as we expand further.
‘A Managed Service Implementation – Walpole Partnership Style’ was written by Ian Jenkins, Senior Consultant for Product Delivery, at Walpole Partnership.
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