What are the secrets to service practice improvement? In our experience, there are several questions that need to be answered before a service provider can develop a plan for improvement. The first question is: what service delivery model does the provider currently practice? In order to answer this question, we need to identify a core set of service delivery models to work from. For purposes of this discussion, let's establish these as:
- Resellers/System Builders
- Break-Fix Service Providers
- Professional Service Providers
- Managed Service Providers
Each of these service provider groups face their own unique challenges in terms of deliverables, staffing, marketing and sales and business operations. The provider will need to make decisions on internal and external business process modifications specific to their service delivery model in order to improve their individual practice. But prior to making these decisions; and in addition to identifying their service delivery model, the provider must also understand where they are in terms of their business mode, which will fall into one of the following categories:
A provider whose business is in Maintain mode is not currently seeking to actively grow their business, but instead simply to maintain the clients that they currently have, and not lose any. If the provider picks up an occasional clients via referral, that's just icing on the cake. This might be characterized as a "lifestyle" business model by some.
A provider whose business is in Maximize mode is actively seeking ways to improve their business processes, efficiencies and profitability, and is actively focused on investing in and growing their practice.
A provider whose business is in Migrate mode is actively seeking to, or currently executing a migration strategy to move from one service delivery model to another.
A clear understanding of all of these variables is required for a provider to develop their service improvement strategy, as a resultant combination of factors will dictate the specific modifications, timing and phasing of the provider's service improvement plan.
Next time: Characteristics of the 4 business models.