Service Tracking – Good from Afar, Far from Good
Services are a rapidly growing segment of almost every company’s business. IT is one area where service growth is exploding, but companies are also outsourcing tasks in almost every business function. This includes everything and anything from HR to certifications to recurring professional services.
Most of these services are not tracked.If they are, businesses frequently allow them to be tracked on a department by department basis.
You may use Excel or, if tracking numerous service contracts, a software solution that helps document and store these contractual commitments. However, these solutions are generally targeted towards partner and client agreements focused on the legal aspects of the engagement. They are not designed to track and manage the costs or details of each service contract. Unfortunately, this is where your financial risk or benefit can lie.
To fix this problem, a service management solution is required. Unlike current contract systems, service management and analytics allows you to track all your individual service details while providing comprehensive financial data and decision making information.
Like contract management systems, service tracking should alert you to upcoming decisions with the appropriate amount of time to act. Also, when a service commitment is approaching its term end, you should be directed to make an informed decision while being made aware to the impact of a non-decision.
Service tracking and analytics, unlike contract management systems, enables you to store the details regarding each individual service. These include unique identifiers, locations, costs and even terms. Also, a service can be related to other elements in your organization – other services, contacts, projects and assets. This relationship creates an association that is essential to service tracking. If one element is modified or terminated, you will be alerted to any impact to the group. A simple example of this would be a software license assigned to an employee. If the employee leaves, the license should immediately be identified as unused so it can be cancelled or reassigned. Non-action may result in a missed savings opportunity.
Service Tracking – Death by Paper Cuts
A misconception is only your higher priced services are worth tracking. This, unfortunately, can be an expensive lesson. Low priced, or even free security certificates can require significant resources to remedy if they are allowed to expire. Lapsed certifications and licenses may impact your compliance requirements and incur large penalties. Low priced SaaS services, multiplied by the volume in which they are purchased, can lead to hundreds or thousands of dollars of waste every month if left unchecked.
Many organizations do not believe they have enough contracts and/or services to warrant a service tracking solution. This often means they are not tracking their service commitments effectively and, are therefore missing savings opportunities. With the growing trend for vendors to sell their products “as a service,” the quantity and types of services your organization is using might be surprising and the associated waste even more shocking. Common categories include: