So, you are going digital. You have started or completed a project/s to implement digital solutions. You and your technology partner have analysed your requirements and worked hard to test and turn on a digital platform. But what then….
One item often overlooked when implementing digital solutions is the changing environment within which they will work moving into the future. You see from day one of your new systems’ use it will start to have a decreasing ROI. This is due to the unstoppable changes in the environment in which this solution now operates. This environment includes the organisation, it’s people, it’s other processes and the external environment which can include things such as the legislative environment.
So, we have implemented a solution and we know that everything around that solution will continue to change causing a decreasing ROI. How do we mitigate this organisational risk?
We would strongly recommend that you have your technology partner provide a “Managed Service” for the solution / solutions.
For the purposes of this article a managed service is a contracted set of services that are provided by a solutions provider to a solution using customer. Typically, they are paid for monthly, operate as a use-it-or-lose-it facility and are used as needed to achieve specific solution outcomes.
As an Example;
A company, ABC flights, has a 6 hour per month Managed Service with their technology partner for their AP automation solution. They pay a monthly fee for this and request work against it via a web portal. Typically, ABC use this service to update invoice templates to ensure a high percentage of data is captured automatically when invoices enter the solution. They have also used it to make workflow routing changes, upgrade the software components to the latest version and seek advice from the solution experts on potential future projects.
So, who should demand these Managed Services? Well, we believe the customer and the technology partner should both demand them. They provide significant benefits for both parties. I have identified these benefits below;
Benefits to the Using Customer
An ROI that is sustained [and possibly even improved] over time. Work can be regularly scheduled to keep the system operating at peak level despite any changes to the operating environment. The Managed Service can also be used to digitise additional processes and drive even greater ROI.
Team member satisfaction with their work as the systems they use are modern and operating well. This is more important to organisations as the millennials continue to rise through the workforce. Like it or not, this generation expects their employers to be digitally savvy.
An ability to ensure you are maintained onto the latest versions of your software components. These versions generally have significant security upgrades as well as a slew of new and improved operating functionality. Whilst most organisations understand the importance of software maintenance, far less of them ever actually implement a regular upgrade process to ensure they are on the latest versions of their software platforms. This is often due to the cost of a technology partner implementing these upgrades. With a Managed Service, these upgrades can be done as part of the service thus ensuring the customer continues to reap the benefits of their investment in software maintenance.
Priority of work request processing with your technology partner. Your technology partner will definitely process their Managed Service customers in priority over their non-contracted customers.
A smoothing of cash-flow relating to the operation of the solution. Even if you do not have a Managed Service it is highly likely that at some point in time [usually when there has been a big problem] you will need to spend a quantum of money maintaining the system. This work is generally not budgeted for.
- A solution that adapts to the changing environment
- Maintained, reliable systems for workforce use
- Timely access to improved security and new / improved functions
- Priority response from technology partner
- Improved cashflow for solution maintenance costs.
Benefits to the Technology Partner
A happy customer that will often act as a referral customer. In our experience, our active Managed Service customers are easily our happiest. They get everything they want, when they want it and when there is an issue with the solution we don’t waste time trying to work out who is paying, we just start work. Having a Managed Service means that the technology partner can be at their best when things are at their worse.
The ability to resource accordingly so that service requests can be dealt with in a timely manner. When a technology partner has a critical mass of Managed Service customers they are able to staff their engineering departments with stable, high quality solution engineers. If a technology partner only ever does project work it is much harder to ensure adequate staff levels for peak demand.
Significant increases in customer delight. As well as all the standard benefits that accrue from a happy customer there are also lots of efficiency benefits that accrue. An unhappy customer needs a lot of management. Most of that organisational effort is nonchargeable and diverts organisational effort away from strategically important tasks [like growth].
Reduced commercial risks as deployed solutions remain valuable for the length of the agree service contract. There are less late payments and discount requests as the customers are happy.
A potential case study target. One of the most powerful things a company has is its customer success stories. It is these stories that often provide the confidence and credibility needed to succeed in attracting new customers.
- Turns customers into advocates
- More effective technical resource management
- Reduce customer rework costs
- Significantly reduce commercial risks
- Create case study opportunities
So, there are many benefits to Managed Services however there is one key element that needs mentioning for those customers considering using one – A Managed Service is only valuable if it is actively used by the customer. Failure to use a Managed Service just leads to an unjustifiable organisational cost.
As we continue down the digital transformation path, more and more organisations will be implementing digital work solutions. These work solutions need to give great ROI and ensure that any human labour required by solution is deployed on high value tasks. First-world economies need for this to happen if they want to be able to maintain high wage levels.
Organisations that want to ‘Win’ in the information age need to implement solutions that deliver great ROI, delight their staff, adapt to the changing world and maintain high levels of security. Implementing a Solution Managed Service for your digital solutions is the best way of maximising your organisation’s chances of being one of the ‘Winners’.
Do you have any experience with Managed Services on Digital Solutions? We would love to hear your story.
Contributed By: Lee Bourke, CEO, FileBound Australia.
By Rex Lamb
Return on Investment (ROI) is at the heart of every significant business decision. In the simplest of terms it is a measure of what you get for what you give. Research by Ohio State University found that 4 out of 5 buyers seek “value” before price. In other words, most people will give more to get more.
“Value” includes Quality, Flexibility of the offering and Availability all as a function of Price. “Quality” means the product delivers what is required (or wanted) and does what is promised. Economists call this the “Law of Marginal Utility.” For the rest of us, it means what blows your hair back won’t necessarily interest the next guy. When we talk about ROI, we have to keep it in the context of what is important to the buyer.
What are businesses requiring today? First, they want more customers and more sales. That is pretty well true no matter what the economic conditions are. Beyond that, however, is that business today is desperately seeking ways to engineer cost out of the business. Most of the improved earnings reports are the result of cost reductions. And while cost reduction began as a way to respond to the recession, evidence suggests that it is quickly becoming a permanent part of business culture.
With a paper-based invoice processing system the company incurs a significant “cost” in handling paper, but it is difficult to quantify the short-run cash savings. Creating a long-run “saving” by installing imaging, for example, doesn’t add value if I still have the floor space, the employees and all my other out-of-pocket expenses. The value may be intrinsic, but few businesses are investing today based upon intangible value. The CFO will say “Show me the money!”
FileBound offers a rare opportunity to eliminate work at a value-based price. A major task in the AP department is entering data from paper invoices into the Accounting System. Typical information entered is a vendor name, purchase order number, invoice number, payment due date and general ledger account code (s) and total due. Because this information is normally put into the accounting
system after all processing and approvals, other logging and data entry of the invoice typically takes place before the invoice is ready for entry to the accounting system.
With FileBound all of this changes. Invoices are scanned immediately upon arrival. The needed information is electronically picked up off the invoice and captured eliminating data entry and other manual tasks to a fraction of the time normally required. Routing and review of invoices is all handled electronically, eliminating hand routing and handling of the invoices. Finally, the scanned information is automatically imported into the general ledger accounting system and invoices can be paid without further data entry.
Best of all, not only is the work more efficient, much of the original work (key entering data) is gone forever. This provides the opportunity to either repurpose staff to cash-producing work (such as AR collections and sales proposal follow-ups) or eliminate head count. Either way, the business gets cash returns for the investment.
Added benefits include improved accuracy and reduced mailing expense. Errors in data entry create extra work and cost. With FileBound, that problem is gone forever because the information is picked up electronically from the invoice. Invoices received at field offices are now scanned, eliminating mailing or courier expense.
High value for a low price with FileBound – an easy ROI!
While working with MCSC it was determined that they needed a more cost effective way to file, search, and transfer school records to colleges and universities. They also identified a need for a better disaster recovery plan for all of their school records from 1960 to present.
It was determined that a FileBound document management solution would not only meet their needs but was also at a price point that they could afford. This new solution automates the way they manage and protect their school transcripts, human resource files, and other records within the organization. FileBound allows them to securely access and share transcripts with outside requestors in a much more efficient way.
FileBound was installed and all the staff training completed in a matter of a few days and on budget.
As stated by Chuck Muston, Principal of Mooresville High School, “FileBound has made our school a better place to work and learn. It has given us the opportunity to organize our data and access desired information with ease.”
According to MCSC, they realized a $55,000 savings by purchasing FileBound compared to other solutions that they considered. They also estimate a savings of $1,000 per week for hourly employee costs. MCSC also saved approximately $3,000 in filing cabinets, labels, hard copy records, and other storage materials. The bottom line is that this system saved MCSC both time and money and resulted in a more efficient running organization.