Couple of weeks ago I posted a blog about Innovation in the Consulting Space and I used Consulting Self-Service as an example for the innovation process.
Since it sparked much interest and discussion by many of you I wish to dedicate this post to Consulting Self-Service and bit about the thinking process that led to the decision to develop it.
Consulting Self-Service is a new direct web channel for customers to directly engage with consultants in an intuitive and fast way.
Customers often come to us asking for a consultant for a short piece of work starting ASAP. These requests are extremely hard to fulfill by the standard business which focuses on longer project with lead time to schedule the right consultant for the right job. Therefore, we decided to extend the standard business process by a new process that will make it easier for our customers to find the consultant they need and put them in control of the booking process. That was our initial motivation for developing SAP Consulting Self-Service.
So, what is so different about Consulting Self-Service? Let me start by sharing with you the new process.
Most of us are familiar with travel booking sites like Expedia, ebookers or lastminute.com. The concept is simple. You enter the details of where you want to go, the dates you want to travel and the quality of the hotel you want to stay in. Once you submit the information the site gives you a range of options to choose from. It’s fast, easy and convenient.
SAP Consulting Self Service applies the same principles to booking a SAP Consultant.
Customers can search on a whole range of attributes, including project duration, industry, solution area, consultant role, region and consultant proficiency, progressively narrowing their search down until they find consultants who match their criteria.
Consulting Self-Service then allows them to view detailed profiles of qualifications and experience, compare one consultant against another and, most importantly, view their availability.
Once the customer selects the right consultant for his needs, he enters some information about the work he wishes the consultant to perform. The consultant calls back the customer to verify the required work and agree on the scope and effort. Once agreement is reached the consultant perform the work and enters back to the system engagement summary for the benefit of the customer. Now it’s the time for the customer to accept the deliverables and provide feedback.
For more info about Consulting Self-Service, see the FAQ paper.
The benefits of this new process are clear:
Control – The customer has complete control over the process. As a customer you get to select the consultant, discuss the engagements directly with him, and even replace him when needed.
Fast – An online self-service portal is the fastest way to problem resolution. It is available 24 by 7 with a global pool of consultants waiting for your request. For urgent request, you could get same day service.
Simple – We designed a simplified booking process with intuitive user interface that requires no training or SAP specific knowledge in order to get the right consultant for your needs.
Economic – And as it can be expected from an online self-service portal, the prices are lower than you will get thru the standard process.
And last, many of you wondered why don’t we open it for 3rd party consultants? The truth is that we just launch Consulting Self-Service in pilot mode for selected customers from selected countries to fine tune it prior to the global launch. In the future, we do plan to extend the scope to certified consultants that can meet our quality standards and has track performance record.