What’s in a Name (Part 2): What Type of Solution Are You Using to Manage Services Operations?

Only a small percentage of us in the global services community can remember way back when our organization’s services operations were powered simply by solutions known as Field Services Management Systems, or FSMS. Shortly thereafter, following the introduction of Depot Repair service offerings, most solutions providers dropped the “F”, rallying around the shortened acronym of SMS, standing for Service Management Systems.

Throughout the 1980s and early ‘90s, many providers offered their solutions via an increasing number of “new” names or acronyms, ranging from Customer Interaction Systems (CIS), to Customer Facing Systems (CFS), to … well, just about anything else you could think of. The acronym soup was clearly being served to the industry.

Sometime in 1995, Gartner was largely acknowledged as being the creator of the term “Customer Relationship Management”, or CRM – the name and acronym still most widely used today to serve as an umbrella over all major aspects of services management.

However, today, there are even newer names and acronyms being used – oftentimes for similar, if not identical – services management solutions. Among the more popular are: Services Lifecycle Management, or SLM (with or without the “s”); Customer Experience Management, or CEM; Customer Experience and Service Management, or CESM; and, I am sure, still others.

SLM ties in nicely with PLM, or Product Lifecycle Management; and CEM brings services management and sales management closer together. CESM … well, let’s just say that in today’s attention-deficit culture, we don’t really need another 4-digit acronym anymore (i.e., even ADD only has 3 digits!).

So, where does that bring us today? Despite the fact that CRM has already spawned other like-sounding acronyms, including VRM (Vendor Relationship Management), PRM (Partner Relationship Management) and DRM (Device Relationship Management), I still like CSDP’s “Service Relationship Management” – the name under which all of the company’s services management offerings reside.

CSDP uses its copyrighted SRM© nomenclature to house all of its field service, reverse logistics, customer service and end-to-end service management solutions. And, this is not just a new way in which the company is trying to cash in on the CRM terminology – it actually copyrighted the term back in 2008!

According to Christina Wilczewski, Senior Marketing Manager at CSDP, “We’ve built all of our solutions offerings under the Service Relationship Management, or SRM, banner because we believe in the power of delivering service excellence. You can’t maintain strong customer relationships if your technicians don’t have the right parts or have limited or no access to customer history, knowledge management tools, or what services the customer is entitled to receive. That’s why our software spans the entire service delivery lifecycle, including Field Service, Reverse Logistics and Customer Support so all services interactions can be coordinated. And in the end, when customers are happy, companies see it in their bottom line.”

So, whether you call it SRM, SLM, VRM, PLM – or whatever – one of the following two things should be perfectly clear:

a.    If you’re a services management solutions provider, you need to offer it; or

b.    If you’re a services organization, you need to use it!

And, it needs to be comprised of the full complement of services management tools that are required to effectively – and efficiently – run your services operations.

So, what’s in a name? Why don’t you share with us the name you believe serves as the best all-encompassing label for the various types of applications and functionalities required to manage your company’s services operations. We’d love to hear your suggestions!

Oh … and by the way, please try to keep it to only a 3-character acronym, if you can!

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