I joined Futurice’s continuous services team this May. We call it Futucare. I’ve previously worked with continuous services in various roles, both on the customer and supplier sides. For most of my career, I’ve developed service quality, service portfolio and IT service management processes, so I’ve seen quite a few ways in which customer support can be organized: from service desks that mostly just escalate tickets to the next levels, to ones where the 1st line resolves more than 60 % of all the tickets straight away.
So how is Futucare organized?
We try to make sure the client doesn’t even notice that the development phase ended and the maintenance phase started. The ways of working, service levels and the know-how stay the same – just the amount of time spent is smaller. Where more traditional maintenance services tend to provide only one or two developers per service, at Futucare we provide two to four. Having micro teams consisting of a Service Manager and 3-4 developers significantly reduces person-based risks. Changes in personnel or vacations don’t compromise service quality.
When the main focus is on further development instead of maintenance, the client’s service stays up-to-date and the need for incident management decreases. But it’s important to keep in mind that when we concentrate on maintenance for a longer period, with very little further development, ramping development up again can be costly. Infrastructure and technologies are easily left behind and the software might come to its end sooner than needed or need bigger development efforts than the customer is willing to pay for.
Focusing on further improvement, too, adds more value for clients. This isn’t to say maintaining the customer’s software isn’t just as important. It is. If it wasn’t, I wouldn’t work with continuous services at all.
That must cost beaucoup bucks
After the development phase, you don’t really want to pay too much to keep your software up and running, right? As a Service Manager, I know customers dislike the fact that accurately predicting maintenance costs is tricky. Often, the initial cost may be low, but then some minor development needs to take place and suddenly the invoice is enough to make you cry.
At Futucare, work is based on a monthly development bandwidth agreed in advance. If time is left over, it can be used during the next month – or later.
A team of happy campers
Last, but not least, I must write a few words about our people. I often speak about the importance of a company’s culture, values and employee experience. If you check my LinkedIn profile, you can see these are topics very dear to my heart. I wouldn’t want to buy my services from a supplier whose personnel aren’t happy. Happy clients come from happy employees. This is more true in customer service than in other functions.
During my onboarding period, I visited some customer meetings to see how things are done here. The atmosphere was relaxed, yet still professional. I feel this is the one thing that sets Futurice apart from other modern IT companies: you can do things that are funny and make sure there is a healthy amount of communality and still be professional at all times.
If you want to know more about us or our maintenance services, don’t hesitate to ask. We are here for you because we care.