Unisys Transforms with Service Knowledge and Process Management

When Unisys set out to transform its service processes, the expected cost savings from the increased efficiency for field dispatches were alone enough to help justify the move. Additional opportunities were also available to eliminate unnecessary field dispatches.

“We analyzed our recent history of field service calls,” said Larry Dunn, Vice President and General Manager of Global Portfolio Solutions for Unisys Enterprise Services, “and we found that approximately 30 percent of them could have been handled remotely.”

Dunn, presenting at PTC Live Service Exchange 2014 this past June in Boston, invited his audience to do the math. “Using round numbers, it’s realistic to say that we save about $100 for every unnecessary dispatch we avoid. Multiply that by the eliminated dispatches per year, and you can see how much our bottom line stands to benefit.”

If anything, Dunn was probably under-estimating the scale of the projected savings. Unisys, in delivering outsourced technology services, managed services, and large-scale project services worldwide, takes almost 15 million help-desk calls and initiates over 4 million field dispatches annually. Unisys service professionals provide 24/7 support to nearly 8,000 customers in more than 115 countries using 20 world trade languages.

Private-label services are a Unisys specialty. About 40 global technology leaders today rely on the company to handle full service of their products. As Dunn noted, “When you contact household names like Dell and other leading PC suppliers, that’s likely actually a Unisys employee coming to your home or office for service.”

Yet cutting down on dispatches is only the start of what Unisys expects to accomplish with improved service management. The company is working to complete every service task more efficiently. “Again, let’s do the math,” Dunn said. “If a call to a help desk typically takes 10 minutes, and we can consistently cut just 10 seconds from that, over millions of calls per year, it adds up to a huge amount of time and cost saved. It also means that help desk resources potentially can be re-focused on proactive services that improve employee productivity and satisfaction.”

From End to End of the Service Lifecycle

A key, noted Dunn, is to have the right service knowledge readily available, at all points and places in the service environment, to enable more customers to make the product fixes themselves. Little surprise, then, that Unisys has decided to focus on improving management of service knowledge as the critical first stage of their service lifecycle management transformation effort.

Ultimately, Unisys aims to use the insights gained from better service delivery to help anticipate service needs before they arise – and possibly eliminate them altogether. “This,” said Dunn, “is the Holy Grail that all of us in service are working toward.”

Unisys chose PTC’s Service Knowledge Management solution, said Dunn, because it has been structured to work flexibly from end to end across the service process. It has also been proven to install and get up and running some 30 percent faster than other systems.
Unisys deployed SKM only at help desks at first, to help prove out the technology. The company will then deploy to its private-label services customers.

Next, Unisys will make SKM accessible to field service technicians. Their buy-in has been all-important, according to Dunn. “Our field people are the life blood of our service delivery. What’s in their heads is what our clients see and experience. So we have to give the field teams just what they need to get service delivery right. Our goal is a zero-defect environment.”

Unisys is also adopting PTC’s Field Service Management solution with the aim to have it deployed across all service locations worldwide by the end of next year. “It’s an aggressive schedule but when we get there, the whole process will have taken just two years in all, said Dunn.”

Little Customization … and Lots of Conversation

Perhaps surprisingly, Unisys has elected to minimize customization of their SLM tools. Dunn explained: “The temptation is always to make the new system look just like the old. However, this wouldn’t take advantage of what the technology brings to the process. We decided to use what’s there in the SLM solution – the capabilities that have already been vetted – rather than try to force the technology to do what it’s not really designed for.”

Support for SLM comes from the highest levels of Unisys, said Dunn. “Governance extends to the C level and board. That’s critical because when rollout problems occur – as they inevitably do – we need commitment from the top to solve them quickly.”

Communications have smoothed the service organization’s acceptance of the new tools. Noted Dunn, “Early on we set up a separate communications team. We meet weekly, and we’ve been putting out information and conducting training sessions regularly. By now, instead of expressing surprise at continuing developments, our service people are more likely to say, ‘Hey, when will we get that new stuff you told us about six months ago?”

Dunn concluded: “The most important thing in an SLM deployment is the conversation. Communicate, discuss, share, and evolve. Oh, and one more thing: Start early.”

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