The Support Services Sector has come a long way. Roll back 60 or 70 years and the delivery of such services was a predominantly in-house affair, where organisations directly employed cleaners, maintenance staff, security guards to service the building everyone was housed in. Back then, the only time that a contractor would be engaged would be when something of a ‘specialist’ nature needed doing.
As the market has matured, so has the nature of the service delivery models that have developed around it. 2018’s on-demand economy had an impact on the expectations of service delivery in the sector. Setting a standard for customer expectation, the ability to swipe or tap a device to buy or initiate a service, has had a knock-on effect on the service providers. Having to cater for an ever increasing ‘right now’ culture amongst their clients and the end users, service providers are relying on technology more than ever to be enabled to react swiftly to engage the needs of their customers.
When contracting with a service delivery partner, smart use of technology is the expectation, indeed the assumption. Smarter use of technology should be the normal business model for any service provider. This is not ‘Innovation’ but the default way of working. Your business should always be evolving. A good technology partner will offer you lots of new functionality on a regular basis. This should enable a service provider to not only deliver a service to make an environment cleaner or safer, but to additionally provide improved business performance through the work that they do. Utilising technology to increase scheduling efficiencies, streamline task logging and improve productivity and accuracy are just a few examples of the ways in which service providers are extending their offering and achieving business value for their clients.
Advances in workforce management, compliance software, CAFM, IWMS together with AI and intelligent buildings have all had an impact on how, when and why a service is delivered. Disrupting traditional models of working and management, technology is allowing service delivery providers to implement and manage an end to end process based on the live and accurate data that is being collected. When agility and productivity are the goals, yesterday’s spreadsheets and workflows no longer apply.
Impacting four dimensions of the operation, technology is enabling and enhancing support service delivery; employee productivity and retention; energy and sustainability management and compliance. Enabling the collection and analysis of data on activities and system performance, software solutions designed for the Support Services sector are providing service providers with increased insight to inform better decision making on the ways that they manage and deliver a service to their client.
As business strategy changes in response to external demands, organisations need service delivery that is agile and able to respond quickly to changing conditions. Software is enabling new functionality to evolve in-line with current user needs and to respond to future facilities and built environment requirements.
As a result of this shift within the sector, it is largely accepted that service delivery teams must become proficient in using technology but that has its own challenges. Those expected to use the technology need to know how to use it and need to want to use it.
Good software is software that is intuitive to use, providing users with a quick and easy way to pick up tasks and manage their own workflows. It must contain features and functions that offer the user an ‘easier’ way to do their job or offer them personal value that encourages and indeed stimulates adoption. Technology that does this is available today. The bigger challenge is will that technology work effectively with hundreds or thousands of users to cope with the current and the future business scale?
Looking for scalable, user friendly and agile technology is not as challenging as it sounds. Procure it, integrate it in to the business and drive efficiency, better data and more informed decision making.
Optimising service delivery whilst saving time and money through increased efficiency, tech allows support services provider to offer a more attractive package of service and support to their clients, whilst evolving the traditional delivery model.