Daily Archives: June 24, 2008

Workforce Management: A Servigistics Approach

Workforce Management, as defined by Wikipedia, is a business process that encompasses all the responsibilities for maintaining a productive and happy workforce. A workforce management solution is a software-based solution that optimally plans and dispatches field service technicians and their properly stocked vehicles to a customer’s location in a timely manner in order to deliver on their service commitments. Such a system will typically addresses demand management, workforce scheduling, workforce dispatching, and mobility solutions.

The workforce management solution offered by Servigistics, a Strategic Service Management Solution Provider (that was discussed last year in Tomorrow’s Strategic Service Management Today) addresses all of these points. Its workforce planning component forecasts workload to determine the appropriate workforce size, its scheduling engine can automatically set and adjust optimal assignments based upon available data and available rules and update those assignments in real-time if higher-priority service calls enter the system, its web-based appointment request feature allows customers to self-schedule, and its service mobility solution not only enables workforce communication, but allows the technicians to indicate where they are in the delivery cycle.

The scheduling engine is an advanced engine that can take into account dozens of variables that include contract / SLA type, service level, customer priority, ticket type, visit number, severity, customer inquiries, and age scores as well as transit times – which can be automatically computed based upon optimal routes computed by its GIS-aware engine that integrates with Google Maps. It allows the user to define priorities and scheduling rules and will take those into account in its computations. It also allows users to define alerts, such as a technician being stuck in traffic or a missed SLA because a technician wasn’t able to make the repair during the first visit. This not only allows the user to escalate the issue, but notify a customer when a technician might be late or unable to make the repair in the estimated time. (This, of course, goes a long way to keeping the customer satisfied as they know the service provider is working on the problem and keeping them up to date.) Furthermore, the scheduling engine is very effective in both its production and automatic update of schedules in real-time. In some deployments, the default schedules are usable as is by Servigistics’ customers, who include multi-billion dollar global enterprises (like Dell), as much as 98% of the time.

The view engine contains your classic GANTT chart view with drill down for details into specific tasks, but also supports map views with multiple filter options based on time period, priority, job type, and technician, among other factors. In addition, the job indicators can be color coded based on priority, whether or not they have been completed on time, or technician. This allows a support representative to quickly find jobs that might need to be escalated or reassigned. Finally, it allows jobs to be displayed in a grid, with user-defined detail columns.

The solution also supports multiple built-in report types and trend computations on multiple built-in dimensions such as resolution time, tickets closed, technician utilization, and overall performance. In addition, the solution integrates with their Command Center, their Knowledge Management Solution, and their Mobility Solutions which allows technicians to be more productive and keep their home office up to date on the status of the current service call.

Considering their success at a number of global multibillion dollar companies across IT, telecommunications, manufacturing, and automotive verticals, among others, and their recent updates in the real-time scheduling and mobility domains, it’s certainly worth a look if service is a large part of your offering.