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Research Report: IoT, Servitization and Field Service (part one)

Oct 12 • Features, Research • 1455 Views • No Comments on Research Report: IoT, Servitization and Field Service (part one)

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In 2015 Field Service News and leading FSM software provider ServiceMax teamed up on a research project to assess the appetite for IoT as a tool for improving field service delivery…

Now one year on we return to the topic to see if the clear desire for IoT based field service delivery has turned to reality and if so what impact is it having on the growing trend towards servitization as a business model…

When we looked at the potential of IoT in field service last year we were confronted by what can only be called a genuine phenomenon beginning to emerge. One that could potentially change the way companies approach field service delivery entirely.

Indeed, whilst field service technology has been evolving at great pace across the last decade, much of the developments that have arrived – such as enhancements in artificial intelligence driving ever more sophisticated scheduling engines or mobility tools enhancing field service technicians workflows and eliminating unnecessary paper based administration, have been focussed on improving efficiencies and boosting productivity.


Click here to download the full, exclusive research report now…

In this brave new world of servitization, service is no longer the supporting player there just to add value to a product. Instead, the product is now the facilitator for companies to deliver advanced services.

IoT on the other hand has the potential to completely revolutionise the processes and methodologies of field service delivery, and in doing so shift the service model into a new paradigm where contracts involving tightly adhered to SLAs are replaced by guarantees of uptime.

In this brave new world of servitization, service is no longer the supporting player there just to add value to a product. Instead, the product is now the facilitator for companies to deliver advanced services.

And this is largely made possible by the IoT giving us the ability to monitor assets in the field and react to fluctuations outside of accepted working parameters, delivering proactive maintenance to ensure that the asset continues to deliver its set outcome.

The benefits of such an approach are a more consistent and reliable solution for the customer and a more profitable business which is closer engrained to customers for the service provider – a win-win if ever there was one.

But whilst the theory may sound great, how is this translating into reality?

This is what this year’s survey set out to understand. Building upon last year’s research project which was predominantly focussed solely on IoT this time we have widened our focus somewhat to understand not just if companies are now actively adopting IoT, but what is their motivation for doing so and just how closely is that linked to the shift to servitization or outcome based business models?

What we already know:

To begin with let’s just have a quick recap on the findings of last year’s research project.

The most obvious place to start when reviewing whether business is ready for an IoT revolution is of course to ascertain whether companies feel they have an asset base that is suited to sensor based monitoring. Here we found that just under half of companies (42%) felt that they already had an asset base that was suitable.

Given the relative infancy of IoT in field service at this point, with the general understanding of what is and isn’t possible amongst service professionals understandably relatively low, this was indeed an impressive starting point to build upon.

However, it was in the next round of questioning that we really began to see the huge appetite for IoT to appear.

Belief in IoT was further evidenced when over half (55%) of our respondents stated they thought “IoT will become a fundamental part of field service operations in the future”

We asked our respondents to rank the technologies they felt would have the biggest impact on field service within the next five years.

IoT was the clear winner here – with more than twice as many people stating they felt IoT would be the big technology in the short to mid term for field service, than those who cited the second most popular technology, Big Data.

This belief in IoT was further evidenced when over half (55%) of our respondents stated they thought “IoT will become a fundamental part of field service operations in the future” whilst a further 21% went further stating that “IoT is critical to any field service organisation’s strategy”.

Further findings in last year’s research, which also pointed to a rapid rise to prominence of the role of IoT in Field Service, included the fact that almost three quarters of respondents (74%) felt that IoT based field service strategies were applicable to companies of all sizes and that well over two thirds of respondents (71%) felt that IoT would be common place amongst field service companies within the next three years.

Such a wealth of positive data seemed absolutely conclusive – IoT was going to be playing a big role in field service. Indeed, in our research report of last year’s findings we concluded:

“The Internet of Things is set for widespread adoption amongst field service companies and we can expect to see that adoption occur at a fairly rapid rate”

Look out for part two of this weekly series where we will find out if our previous hypotheses have been bourne out…


Click here to download the full, exclusive research report now…

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