Software development is a difficult business where certain misunderstandings in communication can cause a lot of problems. Everyone who has ever worked in this industry has made certain rookie mistakes that they’re not proud of. Especially when it comes to agreeing on project specifics with the client and setting up deadlines.
Technical know-how is rarely an issue in this business. In most situations, software development companies have (or know how to find) skilled personnel that are able to overcome all tech-related obstacles and produce working prototypes based on the info they receive from their managers or directly from clients. Most of the problems in software development arise when the project team lead/manager doesn't do a good enough job of locking down all the details with the client and ensuring that they fully understand all the elements and phases of the development process. If these two parties don’t find a common tongue and agree on all the details, the project is destined to fail.
Regardless of how well the code is written or how solid the infrastructure may be - if the project isn’t in perfect sync with the client’s needs, desires, and budget - it’s likely to fail. If it ends up costing more than the client was planning to pay and if it doesn't meet the initial deadline, the result will be the same - total failure.
To ensure that the clients get what they want and that our team delivers the right type of goods at the right time, we at Share IT have decided to heavily invest in this part of our business. So far, it has proven to be one of the best business decisions we made.
In the following segments of this article, we’re going to go a bit deeper into the topic of service delivery management and explain why we believe that this sort of work plays a crucial role in the success for companies who sell software development services.
The term is pretty much self-explanatory. Service delivery management refers to all the necessary steps that need to be taken to ensure the effective delivery of IT services to a client. If done right, the work you do here can positively influence your agency’s image and customer satisfaction rates.
The processes you define here should serve as:
Every single part of the process should be custom-tailored to the client’s specific business needs and budget.
By creating a clear service delivery mechanism, software companies can get a better understanding about how to meet their client’s wishes. In addition to this, service delivery management can also help software development companies with proper staff/resources allocation. Companies can figure out if they can do the entire project in-house or do they need to hire additional help to see certain tasks through.
Delivery managers are part of the delivery management task force. They are responsible for clarifying requirements and setting up realistic expectations about the project’s scope, quality, and risk factors.
Delivery managers are tasked with reporting of the project’s status. They are trained to identify and overcome unnecessary project risks, polish all unplanned or unforeseen changes, tackle hidden small problems before they become bigger ones.
A delivery manager is usually a person that has the most back-and-forth with a client. He or she assures clients that issues will not be left unresolved for any length of time. Being proactive is definitely a trait that is greatly appreciated in this position.
Now that we got the basics out of the way, let’s discuss strategy. As with everything else, the goal here is to set up a working skeleton and then fine tune it as you go. However, there are certain elements that you need to bear in mind from the start when you decide to work on the first draft of your service delivery strategy.
Without further ado, let’s go through the list:
Proper measurement of the quality of service should be on the top of your list. You need to make sure that you and your customer are on the same page regarding when it comes to expectations and your service offerings. This includes what your services do and don’t encompass, eligibility, potential limitations, costs, how to get assistance when needed, and more.
The more detailed you get here, the better. The goal is to make sure that the client understands exactly what to expect from your company. Never sell what you cannot deliver and never undercharge for the quality of the service you provide.
Believe it or not, but service excellence can be defined as what a business chooses not to do well. It is your management's job to determine what are your company’s strongest and weakest links. This choice, of course, can’t be based on a simple gut feeling. It needs to come from experience with working with customers and your team.
For instance, we at Share IT mostly work with enterprise-level clientele on big projects. Even though we do offer mobile development services, this was never our bread and butter, so we decided to put extra focus on other types of projects that we frequently sell.
Enterprise software development is where we make our money, so we decided to put extra focus on this part of our business. We hire more people who are skilled in developing apps for clients that use SharePoint for instance, than people who have experience with mobile app development. By doing this, we are slowly pushing clients towards what we do best, to what we can do for them with the greatest of confidence, and that’s starting to show results.
This is a great way to manage capacity. If you want to provide excellent service, you need to ensure that you have the resources to satisfy the needs of people who are actually paying for your services. You need to ensure that all your assets are effectively used and that the risk factor of late delivery is reduced.
Onboarding clients can be quite a difficult process, especially if you do it every time from the ground up. Since communication is different with each client and it has a natural tendency of getting a bit all over the place, maintaining focus and getting the right type information out of clients can be a challenge.
That’s why it is of great importance to have a framework in place and clearly documented processes that automatically “force” the client to go through the necessary onboarding steps. To meet the client’s wants and needs, you need to ensure that you extract all the necessary information out of them and that they understand what you’re selling them.
So, to make sure that important information doesn’t get lost in the noise, we have created frameworks that clearly:
Simple, right? It is common sense, but in order to get to the point where everything runs smoothly, you need to invest an effort in creating playbooks and adjusting the process to clients. We learned this is the only way to optimize our resources and maintain client’s satisfaction levels.
Some might say that nurturing a customer-centric focus has become the norm. Regardless of the industry, clients and customers today expect your undivided attention and personalized approach to service delivery. This makes perfect sense if you bear in mind that the market is highly competitive: the actual way you deliver services can easily become your additional unique selling point, something that differentiates you from your competition in a massive way.
At Share IT, we listen closely to our clients. We are focused on establishing a firm bond of trust with them, to keep them happy, and make their lives easier. Many companies, especially those that work in the software outsourcing world, tend to focus exclusively on closing deals and increasing revenue rates. Of course, money doesn’t grow on trees and we are indeed a for-profit company, but we never let that fact get in the way of service excellency. For us at Share IT, it’s always been quality over quantity.
We get excited with each new project we take because it’s an opportunity to create something awesome, together with the client. There’s a huge drive involved here and it’s directly connected to our joy of seeing our clients thrive.
If you need help with software development or you have some type of project in mind that Share IT can assist you with, contact us today. You know we’re always happy to hear from you.