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Billions of connected devices will demand a new approach to service management.

Many companies launching IoT services are accustomed to ‘selling and forgetting’, which is why we are seeing a growing trend amongst manufacturers reaching out for a partner to deliver on the promise of customer support.

Connected devices have new lifecycles – ones that demand end-to end service management requiring extensive knowledge, skill and customer understanding. This is leading more and more manufacturers to partner with experts in the field such as Orange, so they are free to concentrate on core business activities.

IoT may be a new market, but there is a trend appearing for enterprises to partner on service management requirements, according to Patrick de Trez, Head of Service Management, Orange Mobile Enterprise, Orange Business Services

Orange’s IoT service management teams are already working with insurance companies using IoT to track customer driving behavior to apply the right insurance policies and a French car company, supporting in-car infotainment devices.

“Our expectation is that more customers will look to partners for IoT service management, so they can concentrate on their core business, drive revenues and develop markets instead of spending valuable time on reporting, checking usage and other such tasks,” he says. Orange already has one customer who has outsourced its entire service management infrastructure to a 20 strong team in Orange, who are looking after service and incident management.

Service management provides a structure under which businesses are in control of their IoT assets, ensuring that their users are getting optimum value and the best experience from their connected devices. Orange’s solutions, for example, allow IT departments to view their IoT estate data via a portal which has reporting features to enable operational visibility. Orange is currently working on a global reporting tool that will integrate usage and cost together with indicators such as SLAs, all in one place. This will eventually incorporate a usage feature flagging up abnormal device usage, which could be an early indicator of a security breech, for example.

Billions of devices will need help.

Analyst firm Gartner predicts that by 2020, a staggering 6 billion ‘things’ will have the ability to request support. Given the gargantuan size and complexity of these networks, a very strong and trustworthy service management framework will be paramount. Support, for example, is a concern for connected car owners. A report by BearingPoint found one in five connected customers required support for their digital services after they purchased the vehicle – and almost half (47%) went to the manufacturer for support. By providing enhanced service management and support, manufacturers can build trust, add value and better engage with customers.  

Service management is about applying first-rate business and management practice to the delivery of technology. The service manager needs to follow the customer from the first to the last day of their contract. With multiple connected devices to manage, this level of “customer intimacy’ will become pivotal in the success of IoT, according to Patrick de Trez, Head of Service Management Orange Mobile Enterprise, Orange Business Services. “This close contact with and understanding of the customer is important to all our services, and will be core to IoT given its expected scale,” he says.  

Service management has been lacking in the IoT space. Orange Business Services has recently addressed this by establishing two dedicated 24/7 IoT enterprise service management centers located in Belgium and Mauritius, offering a global service management package, along the same lines as its mobile offering. Orange is utilizing both internal and external incident management platforms for IoT. “This IoT package has been designed to meet the demands of our customers. Machines never sleep and neither do our centers,” says de Trez. “It is essential we are both proactive and reactive. Through IoT we are discovering a whole new world with our customers and we need to evolve with their needs”.

Orange Mobile Enterprise (OME) has been awarded the ISO 20000 certificate (Service Management) internationally for Device Management Premium and IoT Managed Global Connectivity. ISO/IEC 20000 is the first international standard to audit and assess a service provider’s adherence to ITIL best practices in service management. This common reference standard promotes an integrated process approach for the management of IT services and sets mandatory levels for excellence in service management.

Predictive management & personalization.

IoT will see greater use of predictive service management in identifying and dealing with risks from security to migration and platform maintenance.

Service goes beyond fixing a problem to fulfilling promises made to customers. “It is about continually evaluating their needs and knowing exactly what is important to each of them, as individuals” de Trez explains.

Orange’s proactive approach provides insight into customers’ connected devices before issues arise, whilst keeping customers in this loop. “If our team detects a high risk incident it is escalated. The service manager is informed who immediately contacts the customer, which generates trust on all sides,” explains de Trez.

Build a trusted relationship with customers the same point of contact for service management is also essential and IoT is no different, according to de Trez. “It is about the human touch, one call, one person, the same person” says de Trez. “Customers know their manager, they don’t speak to Mr Smith, they speak to John”.

By offering IoT service management that is designed around specific customer out-tasking requirements, de Trez believes it will enable enterprises to focus on differentiating themselves in their markets.

Find out more about how you can radically simplify your service management by out-tasking, enabling you to focus on growing your business here.