4 Service Management Trends in 2017 you can’t ignore

Everybody is talking about Enterprise Service Management these days. Companies strive to implement or improve existing Service Management. It has been a relevant topic in the recent years, and emerged from ITSM (=IT Service Management). But, whereas ITSM focuses exclusively on the IT department, Enterprise Service Management can apply to all functions of the company (HR, Customer Service, Finance, and many more). It allows to create a modern work environment and increase productivity and by that changes the way people work.

More and more successful companies are service-based (e.g. Uber or Airbnb) and have good Service Management in place. It allows them to provide a better user experience, deliver products to market faster and have a higher transparency on consumer requests or transactions.

While in the last years we have noticed trends like the increasing importance of SaaS solutions in the Service Management area or the growing aspiration of business to seek their own Service Management solutions, new trends have been emerging lately and every year, various studies deal with current CIO priorities.

In this article, we have collected 4 important trends related to Service Managementin 2017. And even if this list is not exhaustive, if gives a good overview on some of the most relevant trends this year.

1) Further extension of self-service
Not a completely new trend, but still very relevant. More and more users/customers prefer to use self-service portals over calling someone on the phone. In 2017, Service provider will therefore continue to invest in self-service to provide a better user experience while saving costs.
Companies like ServiceNow have responded to this trend by providing Out of the box Service Portals within their platform that can serve both internal or external users.

2)  A rise of automated customer conversations
With the introduction of intelligent agents such as Siri or Alexa, customers more and more use these agents as their first point of contact. Companies will therefore invest more in chatbots and other intelligent agents that will continuously improve over time as they embed deep learning and artificial intelligence. According to Gartner, by 2019 40% of enterprises will be actively using chatbots to facilitate business processes using natural-language interactions.

3) Increase of Robotic process automation for service delivery
As it becomes increasingly important to deliver the right customer experience, customer service operations need to become smarter. This is why companies now see the value from (robotic) process automation (RPA) and are focusing on using them for routine business processes and for simple decision making. The main difference to traditional automation is that software robots are configured by training them to execute tasks like a human user instead of coding or scripting them. They can be seen as virtual workers and can be intuitively used by business users.2  
In 2017, companies will strongly focus on automating repetitive rules-based tasks with RPA.

4) Transformation of business models through IoT
Today internet of things (IoT) is used by 25% of companies, and another 27% plan to do so within a year.Support automation is used more and more to preventively diagnose or fix issues from connected devices.

This IoT trend influences consumer innovation and experience. Advantages generated through IoT are cost savings, mitigation of operational issues but above all the IoT-generated data which gives insights that permits value creation in form of new revenue streams or improved customer experience.4
IoT in Service Management can help – for example – to proactively identify incidents by monitoring device performance. This way, incidents can be forecasted before they even occur.5
IoT will continue to foster the transformation from product-based to service-based companies in 2017.

These trends show: There is a lot going on – steady innovation and quickly advancing technology that permits continuous improvements. Service Management and delivering an excellent customer experience continue to be extremely relevant topics for companies. In order to stay on top, companies will have to continuously innovate, improve and  invest in the right technology.

 

Sources:
1) These 4 trends are a selection of the 10 Customer Service Trends presented in the Forrester report: Customer Service Trends: Operations Become Smarter And More Strategic Vision: The Contact Centers For Customer Service Playbook by Kate Leggett January 27, 2017

2) Wikipedia: Robotic Process Automation, Robotic vs. traditional automation https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robotic_process_automation#RPA_vs_traditional_automation

3) Forrester surveyed 3,289 global enterprise telecom decision-makers in business and technology across 10 countries. Source: Forrester’s Global Business Technographics Networks And Telecommunications Survey, 2016.

4) IoT:The story of Data, Mike Simons published on businessvalueexchange.com https://businessvalueexchange.com/blog/2016/05/23/iot-story-data/

5) IT Business Edge: 7 ways the internet of things will influence ITSM http://www.itbusinessedge.com/slideshows/7-ways-the-internet-of-things-will-impact-itsm-02.html

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Michel is one of the co-founders of Aspediens (acquired by Fruition Partners in 2016) and now CEO, Europe at Fruition Partners. As a serial entrepreneur with strong experience in innovation, product management and solution delivery, he spots trends and writes about the future of Service Management.
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