I’ve recently been heavily involved with Unified Service Desk (USD), a relatively new technology from Microsoft many companies are yet to adopt. Although I know there are many organisations running or considering USD projects there still doesn’t seem many solutions in operation.
I’ve been involved with USD since early 2014, our system went live in December 2014. Since then we’ve had multiple successful releases. It is now widely used across the group.
As my role was Development Manager / Functional Consultant I hadn’t been hands-on until more recently when I decided to learn more about the technology. It was then I started to fully appreciate the main issue with USD! With the rest of CRM there are a multitude of sources of information coming from an active community of developers. Unified Service Desk, being newer, doesn’t (yet) have the same levels of support. It was actually this fact that inspired me to start this blog! I am confident a small but active community is growing around USD.
Note November 2018: These days we have much more information about USD!
So what is USD? Let me address that by first explaining why I’ve included a picture of Venice. The main reason is I snapped this on holiday and I like the picture! Another is Venice explains USD perfectly.
Anyone who has been to Venice will know that its a mad place, full of tourists but its is also a busy commercial hub. When you consider Venice is actually a number of interconnected islands you might start to get my point.
Think of Venice as your call centre and each island as a set of products or services you support. Each island has its own culture / eco system just as your products might have differing IT solutions to service that line of business.
Staying with this concept, the water craft would represent your customer requests. Some are fast (locals in speed boats), some are slow (tourists in gondolas) and some are large (commercial shipping). These craft therefore represent the multitude of differing service requirements that might be bouncing around a call centre at any given moment.
In my analogy Unified Service Desk would be the canals because its a single technology that pulls all of the systems together under one common interface. Like the canals it is simple to use and extendable. And like the canals it is scalable to support all customer requests however small or large.
This might be a crazy analogy but I hope you see my point!!
So what does this mean in a real world example? To answer I’ll try to explain how USD has been leveraged to become our canal! It provides us;
- A multi entity, multi field search capability allowing rapid location of customer data.
- Logging of inbound / outbound phone calls and inbound letters, plus any associated cases in a consistent manner but also with a minimal number of clicks.
- A 360 view of all customers interactions, product holdings and any open or recently resolved service requests.
- Phone call scripting included automation required to support various business processes, such as customer verification at the start of telephone conversations.
- Integration with multiple legacy line of business systems. Achieved from a single interface removing the need for the operators to manually jump from system to system whilst the customer is on the phone.
- Outbound campaign calling and inbound customer servicing all completed from a common interface.
- And much more ….
It is true that much of the above can be achieved with CRM alone but USD really does enhance the user experience. (The users love it!) Plus our solution is still growing more capabilities will be added over time.
The beauty is a USD application can be quickly created with configuration alone. Meaning it should be relatively fast to implement.
BUT, most organisations of any size will have some requirements which can’t be satisfied with just out of the box features. For example, you may need to resort to code for some of the systems integration work.
Having said that Rome (or Venice) wasn’t built in a day!