The Sourcing Maniacs 2008 Vendor Tour Part 19: Servigistics

Today’s post is a little length, so it’s been broken up into Survey, Service, and Servigistics.


Wakko in a pie shop, somewhere outside of Boston
What’s taking so long?
Dot It’s only been twenty seconds!
Wakko But I want my pie now!
Dot When don’t you want pie?
Wakko When I want baloney.
Yakko Figures.
So, SupplierSoft‘s supplier management applications, built on Salesforce were really cool.
Dot Who knew that SRM, like CRM, had so many fundamental similarities … that both required extensive information management capabilities.
So, where are we off to now?
Yakko Are we still on the S’s?
How about Saqqara?
Dot What do they do?
Yakko e-Procurement and Item Master Management I believe.
Dot Anything unique on the e-Procurement Side?
Yakko I think it’s primarily catalog and content management.
Dot Probably worth checking them out. Where are they?
Yakko They’re back in California.
Dot I’m still not ready to go back yet. Who else?
Yakko SciQuest?
Dot Aren’t they working with Emptoris now?
Yakko I think so. Maybe we shouldn’t bother. I’d hate to trek all the way back to North Carolina just to be shut out again.
Dot Do you really think they’d do that?
Yakko I don’t know. I do know that the doctor hasn’t covered them, despite the fact he thinks they’re important enough to make his Vendor Day listing, so I’m not taking that as a positive either.
Dot Okay. So we’ll leave them until we happen to be back in the area. Who else is there that starts with S? Didn’t the doctor tell us the name of a company that starts with S that we were supposed to check out?
Yakko I think he did! Let me check my notes.

Here it is … Servigistics!
Dot SERVIce loGISTICS? What on earth would they do?
Yakko I haven’t a clue. Maybe we should check out the doctor‘s posts for some background. I’m getting a little tired of looking stupid …
glaring at Wakko
Wakko What I’d do now?
Yakko ignoring Wakko
According to the doctor, in his post Servigistics – Tomorrow’s Strategic Service Management Today, Servigistic’s does strategic service management, particularly in the areas of parts, pricing, and workforce management.
Dot What’s strategic service management?
Yakko According to his wiki-paper, it is a proactive approach to satisfying the customer in a manner that is both efficient and profitable while balancing organizational strategy, resources, commitments, and pricing. Strategic Service Management supports the integration, optimization, and management of core business processes, adds to your overall business solution, and helps to differentiate your offering from that of your competitors.”
Wakko That’s a mouthful. What does it mean?
Yakko Good question. Just a sec …
taking out his cell-phone
    ring … ring
the doctor Hello?
Yakko Hello, Doc. We have a question. Let me put you on speaker.
Yakko activates the speaker phone.
Wakko We don’t want to look stupid.
the doctor We’ve been over this already, Wakko. I’m not *that* kind of doctor. You want a plastic surgeon …
Yakko No, no. What Wakko means to say is that we’ve decided to go see Servigistics and we don’t want to show up not knowing anything about strategic service management. We’re getting tired of looking stupid because of our ignorance.
  We skip ahead a bit here. Part 16 filled in the blanks.
the doctor Okay. So what do you want to know?
Yakko When you say that “strategic service management is a proactive approach to satisfying the customer in a manner that is both efficient and profitable while balancing organizational strategy, resources, commitments, and pricing”, what do you mean.
the doctor That’s from the wiki-paper. Did you happen to read more than the first sentence?
Yakko The first paragraph …
the doctor If you’d learn some patience, and read the great materials that are available to you — at no cost, I might add– in full, you’d probably find that the wiki-paper answered most, if not all, of your questions.
Yakko Well can you give us the highlights?
the doctor I guess so. What, specifically, do you want to know?
Yakko Can you give us the nut?
the doctor But you already have Wakko.
Wakko Hey!


the doctor Well, when I say that strategic service management is a proactive approach to satisfying the customer in a manner that is both efficient and profitable while balancing organizational strategy, resources, commitments, and pricing, what I am effectively saying, if you’re a procurement organization, is that services are as important to your cost management initiatives as direct and indirect goods, and that, properly managed, they are a point of savings and revenue generation, and not just a cost.
Dot But how does that work? Services require people — who cost money, and tools — which cost money, and parts — which cost money.
the doctor Let’s break it down.
Wakko Break it down?
the doctor Yes. Let me ask you this. How many people? What tools? And how many parts?
Dot What do you mean?
the doctor Let’s say you have 10 people, but you could provide the same level of service with only 7 if you managed them better, or, preferably, manage service for a customer base that is 40% larger with the same number of staff! Let’s say you’re using an expensive ERP-based enterprise CRM but you could get away with a SaaS solution based on open source. And let’s say that you currently stock ten 225 KVA three-phase transformers, when you only use an average of two in any given month. How much more are you spending than you need to?
Dot A few thousand?
the doctor Try a few hundred thousand. A good service professional, depending on what you’re servicing, costs you somewhere in the 50 to 150 K band annually; ERP-based enterprise CRM systems often cost in the millions annually when the TCO is fleshed out, while a SaaS solution will often cost less than 100K; and those transformers list for 15K a-piece, storing eight more than you need at an annualized overhead of 35% is almost equal to one person’s annual salary.
Dot So good service management can really save you a bundle.
the doctor And make you a bundle too. What do business customers pay for?
Dot Goods and services.
the doctor And what goods and services do they pay more for?
Dot Uhmm .. the ones that provide more value?
the doctor That’s right. And how do you provide more value?
Dot Better products and services?
the doctor Yes, and value-added services to be precise. Good service management will allow you to deliver a better level of service than you do now, for less than it is costing you to deliver your current service level. And customers will not only pay for that, but they’ll likely pay a little more for that if you reduce their workload.
Wakko So strategic service management is about managing your people, parts, and technology in a way that allows you to do more with less and deliver more with less, decreasing your costs while increasing your revenues. It’s strategic sourcing, on steroids, for services.
the doctor stunned
You’ve got it, Wakko!
Yakko, does that answer your question?
Yakko I think so. Now can you tell us what Servigistics does?
the doctor I don’t want to spoil your fun. Go find out!


Yakko So now that we know what strategic service management is, let’s see if we can piece together what Servigistics does. In his post Servigistics – Tomorrow’s Strategic Service Management Today, the doctor indicates that Servigistic’s does strategic service management, particularly in the areas of parts, pricing, and workforce management. Then, in Workforce Management: A Servigistics Approach, the doctor dives into workforce management and says it 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” and that it will “typically addresses demand management, workforce scheduling, workforce dispatching, and mobility solutions”.

Diving in, the posts says that the Servigistics “workforce planning component forecasts workload to determine the appropriate workforce size, the scheduling engine automatically sets and adjust optimal assignments based upon available data and available rules and updates those assignments in real-time if a higher-priority service call enters the system, the web-based appointment request feature allows customers to self-schedule, and the service mobility solution not only enables workforce communication, but allows the technicians to indicate where they are in the delivery cycle”.

Dot It sounds pretty sophisticated.
Yakko Sure does. Let’s go talk to them.
  the maniacs travel from Boston to Atlanta, Georgia
Wakko tap, tap, tap goes the mini-mallet
Hello. Hello.
Sharp Dressed Man a sharp dressed businessman opens the door
Hello … oh no!
Wakko looking around in a confused manner
Sharp Dressed Man You!
Yakko You know who we are?
Sharp Dressed Man Of course I do! I read Sourcing Innovation every day. It’s the best blog out there! You usually spell Trouble with a capital T, and we’re a no-nonsense operation here!
Yakko We’re not here for trouble!
Dot We just want to learn more about strategic service management.
Yakko And how it can help companies.
Dot And what you do.
Wakko the doctor sent us!
Sharp Dressed Man He what?
Yakko Well, he didn’t exactly send us. He told us if we really wanted to learn about strategic service management, and what innovative companies are doing, we should consider checking you out if we were in the area. And here we are!
Sharp Dressed Man Yes you are. Well, the doctor‘s right in that respect … we can teach you about SSM … and if you really — really — want to learn, I’d be happy to talk to you. But you have to be good.
Dot We’re always good!
Sharp Dressed Man looking directly at Wakko
And put away the construction tools, roman candles, mechanical gadgets, and anything else that can be used for destructive purposes. Got it?
Wakko putting his mini-mallet away
Got it.
Sharp Dressed Man Okay. So, do you know what strategic service management is?
Wakko It’s about managing your people, parts, and technology in a way that allows you to do more with less and deliver more with less, decreasing your costs while increasing your revenues. It’s strategic sourcing, on steroids, for services.
Sharp Dressed Man Not bad. Do you know how we enable it?
Yakko You provide solutions for parts, pricing, and workforce management – the cornerstones of strategic service management. Your workforce management product, in particular, is quite extensive and includes workload forecasting capabilities, a dynamic scheduling engine, and a service mobility solution that service personnel can use to stay up to date in the field.
Sharp Dressed Man Not bad. But do you understand how these solutions provide value to our customers?
Dot They allow you to do more calls with less people through optimal scheduling, identify the most cost-effective tools and solutions to get the job done, and optimize inventory to maximize service levels while minimizing carrying costs?
Sharp Dressed Man Correct, but do you understand how we provide value to our customers? Do you understand why a customer wouldn’t just go out and buy a parts management solution from competitor Alpha, a best-of-breed price management engine from competitor Beta, and a workforce management solution from competitor Gamma?
Yakko I guess not.
Sharp Dressed Man We provide a holistic solution to strategic service management.
Wakko I like 3-D.
Yakko Not holographic, holistic — as in concerned with the whole and not just the parts?
Sharp Dressed Man Correct. You see, the full value of strategic service management only materializes when you tackle the whole problem. You can have the best workforce scheduler, but if they don’t have the parts, your personnel can’t perform the service. You can have the best inventory forceasting and management solution, but if the parts aren’t available where your service personnel need them when they need them, it’s for naught. And you can have the best pricing engine in the world, but you still need to have the parts available where the people are going to buy them.
Wakko So there’s no real value unless you look at the whole picture?
Sharp Dressed Man Correct. And that’s what we do. Through our Command Center, we unify our parts management, workforce management, pricing management, and knowledge management solution — which makes your workforce more productive — into one cohesive platform which doesn’t “improve” one aspect of service, such as workforce management, to the detriment of another, such as parts & inventory management.
Dot I never knew there was so much to good service management.
Sharp Dressed Man Now you do. And with that, may I bid you good day?
Yakko Since we’re here, we really should get an update for the doctor!
Sharp Dressed Man If it will get rid of you … and keep you OUT of my server room …
glaring at Dot and Wakko
I can do that.

Since we last spoke to the doctor, four big things have happened for us here at Servigistics.

First of all, we’ve made a number of updates to our workfoce management solution, including a web-based portal for customers to track their service status — think Fedex package tracker on a steroid shake; we’ve enhanced automatic e-mail notifications and the command center dashboards; we’ve added dispatch capability to TomTom navigation devices, e-mail, and SMS; and, probably most significantly, leveraged grid-computing technology in computation-intensive portions of the software for dramatic improvements in scalability.

Secondly, we’ve made some significant enhancements in internationalization. We now support 8 different languages, including double-byte Japanese, Mandarin, and Korean; we can add a new language in two to three weeks, and each user can see the same data in her language and custom date and currency formats.

Thirdly, we’ve added some specific aerospace functionality with respect to fleet provisioning, rotable pool planning, inventory consolidation, PBH/PBL cost-based planning, RTP and de-manufacture, scheduled maintenance planning with respect to repair BOMs, and replacement forecasting for life-limited parts.

Finally, in addition to netting a number of significant new global customers, we’ve also landed some very big aerospace manufacturers, carriers, and MROs

Anything you need elaboration on?

Yakko Uhmm … no?
Sharp Dressed Man Great! Thanks for stopping by. Have a great day!

Editor’s Note: At this point, we’ll be taking a short break for the 12 days of X-Mas, but we’ll return with the final two parts of the maniacs’ road tour on December 29 and December 30.