If your company buys something as a service from another company, then you may be able to use Service Management to hold your supplier accountable. This ensures that you get the service that you are paying for - and that your customers get the service that they are paying for, too. This will drive-up customer satisfaction, and may even enable you to charge your customers a premium for better service. Or alternatively, it can ensure that you only pay for what you get, saving you and your customers money.
Below we give some examples of Service Management in action, based on the experiences of our customers, and then we talk about how Service Management can be used to ensure service quality throughout the whole IIoT supply-chain.
This is perhaps the classic use-case of Service Management: If you buy connected devices as-a-service (e.g. EV chargers, or Smart Meters, or Pumps or HVAC units) then you need to know whether they are working and available to use, 24/7, understand their reliability and failure-modes, and put in place processes to deal with problems. Service Management provides all of this.
If you pay a third-party to install your connected devices, then you want to know when devices go live, and whether they are well-installed, or suffer from Kindergarten problems. You also want to put in place processes to ensure that everything is always done right, and problems are quickly caught and resolved. Service Management is the right tool.
Your connected device needs to be connected to the internet somehow, for example by cellular connectivity, in which case you’ll be buying-in the SIMs and the service that goes with them. Are you getting the data throughput, signal strength and dependability that you’re paying for? By feeding live metadata from your comms provider into DevicePilot, Service Management can give you the answer on the same “single pane of glass” that you’re managing the rest of your service - see for example the blog post on how to do this by our partners EMnify.
Your device will have some kind of power supply, and you’ll want to monitor its availability and quality, and Service Management is the perfect tool:
- It could be high-power mains electricity (e.g. pumps and EV charging), in which case you want to prove that your DNO (Distribution Network Operator) is providing the specified voltage all the time, with very few outages.
- If your device is powered by batteries, then you’ll want to keep a eye on battery drain (battery quality, or software/hardware issues), and automate some process for replacing the batteries in a timely way.
The IIoT Supply Chain
Let's now zoom-out to look at the whole IIoT supply chain, of which you are a part. At each stage in the supply chain, Service Management enables the two transacting parties to discover the actual quality (or amount) of service that is being delivered, and adjust their relationship accordingly.
The exact supply chain for each IIoT application varies, but broadly it usually looks something like the picture below. A Connected Proposition vendor buys-in the following from third-parties, and can use Service Management to hold each of them to account:
- Devices - how many are live, are they working as expected, are they running the right software, are they reporting hardware problems etc.?
- Installation - did the installers successfully make the device live? Are there typically Kindergarten problems?
- Comms (e.g. cellular) - is the coverage good? How much is each device costing?
- Power - is the supply good and reliable?
Having assembled it from these pieces, the vendor of the Connected Proposition then sells it to one or more large "channel customers", who in turn serves a lot of individual end-users. Service Management can be successfully used to monitor each stage of this chain too, at a more aggregated, big-picture level. Is the Connected Proposition being delivered to the Channel Customer with high availability and high reliability? At every site? How, and how much, are end users using the product, where and when? All of this information can build-up a picture to enable every vendor in the chain to improve their service, and it’s all based on streaming IIoT telemetry data from the devices.
Service Management is a tool to discover the truth about the delivery of service between two parties in a service relationship, enabling them to account fairly for the value transacted between them. This view is live and can easily be broken-down by time, location, customer-type etc. as needed.
Unless you're an end-user, you're probably a supplier to someone else in the IIoT supply-chain, so it’s a good idea to get proactive about this before your customers begin to hold you to a Service Level Agreement. With Service Management you can understand exactly what level of service you are delivering today - and what contractual numbers are probably safe to agree to.
The trend to move from one-off product sales to ongoing service sales is hugely enabled by IIoT, and because vendors are connected in a supply chain as shown above, this trend is gradually moving along the whole supply chain. If you deliver a service to your customers, then you probably want to buy-in what you need as a service, too, to enable you to “back-to-back” your business model and optimise cashflow. Service Management is the tool to measure the service delivered, enabling both parties in each relationship to ensure that it is satisfactory.
Contact us today to discuss how Service Management can help you hold your suppliers to account - and help you serve your customers better.