You may be familiar with The Service School, which has been one of Single Source's offerings for years. In the spring of 2017, we really jumped into renewing our focus on it. Now, The Service School's flexible approach to software education and implementation is unique to Single Source, and there are many exciting developments on the horizon! To dive deeper, check out this interview with our Director of Customer Enablement, Gordon Smith!
The Service School is an online platform where customers can do self-guided training. We have a library of videos that they can watch and use as a baseline of education around CloudSuite Field Service (ISM), which we sell and support.
We have 120-130 videos right now, produced in-house, and those just cover the core of the system - how to add items and customers, how to get your financials out, how to manage the service side of it - that’s all there. We figured we’d start with the core and then add videos over time about the optional modules and ancillary systems.
So for everything we don’t have videos for just yet, The Service School also offers on-demand workshops. We can do a GoToMeeting session with customers and cover whatever topic where they want to dig deeper into, teaching them about how their flows will work within the framework of the software.
The Service School has two different possible roles. The first is what I would consider an implementation accelerator. Compare it to a traditional implementation where a customer buys the software and we have somebody who goes onsite, teaches them about the software, helps them get their data installed, and gets them going live, right there in their facility.
Well, a lot of that time is taken up with just basic education: getting new users up to speed so they know what the basics of the system are. So instead of that, companies can utilize The Service School for that initial education phase and be much more time- and cost-effective. Before anyone even goes onsite, the customer can log in to watch the videos, get familiar with the software, and do some sessions with our Service School Enablement team remotely via GoToMeeting. They save on paying for travel and hotel, and we can go at their pace. When the Implementation Consultants do arrive, the customer is already speaking from an educated stance. They’re on a better footing for more productive conversations with the consultants, asking specific questions and not just “how-tos.”
So that's one flavor, and we're kind of calling that a “hybrid” because it has aspects of online training plus aspects of a traditional implementation. The second flavor is a full-on remote implementation through The Service School. It starts with the same education piece, but then there are workshops with us to begin getting into the real implementation details: helping them get their data mapped from their original system into ISM, getting their environment setup, streamlining their processes and procedures so that they can go live maybe even find business process possibilities they haven’t taken advantage of in the past. And for areas where they might want modifications, the Service School Enablement team would then pass those on to our developers.
Our typical target here is small to very small companies. They tend to have tighter budgets as well as staff members who wear multiple hats. So the person who is going to be their implementation project manager is probably the same person who has to put in eight hours a day just to keep the company running. This method is at a pace that the customer can really govern themselves.
If an existing customer were looking to expand their understanding of the software and/or get into new areas that they've not previously utilized, absolutely, having a session or buying some Workshop hours where we do some online education can help them there.
The other possibility is for new employee training. Instead of taking away another employee’s time to train the new person in the software, they can just watch The Service School videos to learn the basics and get integrated into the team more quickly.
It’s really an evolving product! It started out mainly focusing on video content, maybe some workshops, and now we’re looking into that implementation realm. There are so many possibilities, I think our biggest problem is just keeping ourselves focused. It's a good problem to have.
Overall, Single Source is the only one doing this flexible approach to education and implementation. Anybody else who's selling or representing ISM is looking at it in terms of traditional implementation. But more recently, customers are less interested in that old model. A lot of them are pretty technically savvy, and they want to do a lot of the project management themselves, on their own timeline. The remote implementation approach through The Service School is going to allow people to do that. That methodology is actually being worked out in real-time with a couple of customers right now: early adopters who didn't want the full cost of implementation. But they want the software and we're willing to help out, so that's The Service School’s very near future.