REVIEWER: Richard Baldwin, president and CEO of Nth Generation Computing, Inc.
BACKGROUND: Founded in 1986, Nth Generation Computing, Inc. designs, implements and maintains high availability computing, enterprise storage and data protection solutions for Fortune 1000 organizations across industries including manufacturing, finance, health care, entertainment, government and education. Nth Generation also offers technical consulting services and technical training through its Professional Services Division and Nth University.
PLATFORMS: Windows XP.
PROBLEM SOLVED: Managing our maintenance contract business has always been challenging. In the past, we used paper-based methods as well as Excel spreadsheets to keep track of expiring warranty and service contracts and to ensure that customers IT assets were protected as they desired. As our service business grew, this traditional method became far too cumbersome, which is why we now use MaintenanceNet Service360. Service360 gives our sales executives a comprehensive Web platform upon which to track service and warranty contract lifecycles. In addition, we have granted our customers access to the platform - which is branded as an Nth Generation tool and designed as a value-added service. This allows customers to take command of the process of managing service contracts for their most important IT assets, while also providing Nth with a way to play a proactive role in meeting customers service needs.
PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: Our sales teams use Service360 as an essential business-building component of their everyday work. As a software as a service (SaaS) platform, it provides immediate anytime/anywhere access to customer contract information, with portfolio views of previously purchased maintenance contracts and IT assets sold. The Service360 platform has also allowed our sales organization to be more proactive. With automatic email notification of warranty and service expirations, Service360 enables us to communicate with customers about imminent expiration dates, product update notices and end-of-life product notifications, thereby eliminating the risk of noncoverage of critical assets.
STRENGTHS: The primary strength of Service360 is that it provides Nth Generation with powerful data analytics surrounding the warranty and service contract management process. This enables us to reach out to our end customers to interact at strategic lifecycle points, such as during the post-sales phase when customer changes occur, when warranties expire and service contracts are up for renewal and when technology refresh makes sense. This has resulted in stronger relationships with our customers and improved brand loyalty.
WEAKNESSES: MaintenanceNet extracts data from multiple data sources (originating from the manufacturer/supplier, the customer or Nth) to present exactly what has been sold. It would be great to have one of these sources be a mass upload of Excel spreadsheets, but this is a functionality that may be coming soon from MaintenanceNet.
SELECTION CRITERIA: To our knowledge, Service360 is the first product of its kind - a dynamic, all-in-one solution for uncovering opportunities, and then managing, tracking and accelerating service sales.
DELIVERABLES: The first deliverable is the integration of our many sources of customer, supplier and sales data in order to create a single system of record. The second deliverable is the Web-based portal, from which our sales teams and end customers can easily view service contract lifecycles and gain other valuable information through a variety of reports. For example, Service360 provides business intelligence reporting tools to facilitate a check and balance of Nth Generations internal systems against its suppliers, and to allow us to produce complete, customized audits of assets sold. A third deliverable is the branding of Service360 for Nth Generation as a value-added tool specifically designed for our customers.
VENDOR SUPPORT: MaintenanceNet held several informative on-site training sessions during both the pre- and post-implementation phase. In addition, they have always been available by phone and have been extremely responsive. The best part about working with MaintenanceNet is that we view them as more of a partner in the success of our business rather than as a vendor.
DOCUMENTATION: The documentation was easy to understand, but more importantly, the Service360 user interface is extremely easy to use.
5963 La Place Court, Suite 300
Carlsbad, CA 92008
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