Is Technology Creating A Level Playing Field Amongst Service Providers?

Jul 5 • Features, Future of FIeld Service • 3014 Views • No Comments on Is Technology Creating A Level Playing Field Amongst Service Providers?

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Kevin McNally, Sales Director, Asolvi takes a look at how technologies such as Cloud and IoT are levelling the playing field and giving small and medium-sized businesses the opportunity to deliver service standards that meet and exceed those of the traditionally dominant enterprise-sized organisations…

Want to know more? The bad news is the full white paper is only available exclusively for fieldservicenews.com subscribers.

The good news is that if you are a field service practitioner then you may well qualify for a complimentary industry practitioner.

The even better news is we will send you a copy of this white paper when you apply as a welcome!

Click here to apply for your complimentary industry subscription to fieldservicenews.com and access the white paper now!

Note: Please do take the time to our T&Cs (available in plain English at fieldservicenews.com/subscribe) and note that this content is sponsored by Asolvi


One thing is certain in today’s field service sector, that never before has service delivery been so empowered by the technology that now underpins field service management.

Cloud is, of course, one such technology and the introduction of the Software as a Service (SaaS) model that it gave life to has undoubtedly changed the way that smaller field service organisations can operate.

Cloud has given them access to SaaS-based Field Service Management (FSM) solutions that in the previous CAPEX world of the late twentieth and an early twenty-first century would have been simply too cost-prohibitive for them to access.

IoT, has the potential to go even further and not just enhance the way field service operations are undertaken, as Cloud and Mobile have done, but entirely revolutionise the fundamental ways in which we approach field service delivery.

This is one very clear example of how technology has very much levelled the playing field for smaller field service companies.

Another key technology, IoT, has the potential to go even further and not just enhance the way field service operations are undertaken, as Cloud and Mobile have done, but entirely revolutionise the fundamental ways in which we approach field service delivery.

The long-standing break-fix methodology, which has been at the core of field service operations by necessity since the inception of field service itself, can be circumvented and replaced by proactive preventative maintenance.

In a world of IoT, the service provider is no longer dependent upon the customer to report a fault, the asset itself can identify that it needs maintenance and the service call can be arranged in advance of the failure.

IoT absolutely offers the keys to a far better future for field service – for both service provider and customer alike, but for smaller to medium-sized companies are we entering once again into an era of cost-prohibitive technology?

Has the playing field so neatly levelled off by the introduction of the Cloud, once again become skewed in favour of the enterprise-sized organisations?

The importance of Cloud:

As I alluded to in the introduction there is no denying that the emergence of Cloud computing has been a core driver in the ability for smaller field service companies to be able to compete with their larger competitors.

This development is mostly the result of the introduction of SaaS-based subscription-style licensing which makes access to such systems possible.

It seems like a long, long time ago that Tesseract, an Asolvi product became the first company in the world to offer their full FSM solution in the Cloud and on a SaaS model. Indeed, today almost all FSM providers now offer their solution in such a manner.

Many aspects of introducing an FSM solution can become more challenging the larger an organisation is

This means that the smaller companies can have access to tools like scheduling, stock and parts management and mobile work management applications for their field-based staff to access via a mobile device.

Yet, they also have the advantage of being more agile, more streamlined and less weighed down by legacy systems and processes that their larger peers undoubtedly face.

In fact, many aspects of introducing an FSM solution can become more challenging the larger an organisation is. For example, optimised scheduling engines need to be ‘taught’ the rules under which they are to operate – the larger the workforce and the more diverse the skill-sets within that workforce, the more ‘lessons’ that need to be fed into the scheduling system for it to operate as intended.

In terms of FSM solutions, the shift to the Cloud has absolutely changed the competitive dynamics within various industries in favour of those smaller companies who are savvy enough to embrace cloud-based FSM and unencumbered by challenges such as the above which larger companies may face.

Can IoT work for SMBs?

Earlier, I outlined the potential seismic disruption that IoT is set to have on field service delivery as a whole.

Yet, when we hear about those companies that are harnessing the power of IoT, invariably we often tend to look at examples of companies who all tend to sit within the largest bracket of organisations.

Rolls Royce, GE, Sony et al have often dominated the headlines in terms of the successful application of IoT platforms that have radically changed their approach to field service. So one could be forgiven for thinking that IoT is perhaps something only the largest organisations are capable of implementing – but is this necessarily the case?

The reality is that there are a growing number of SMB-sized field service organisation who have embraced IoT to become a truly disruptive force within their respective sectors.

The reality is that there are a growing number of SMB-sized field service organisation who have embraced IoT to become a truly disruptive force within their respective sectors.

Take for example regional German IT and document management services provider IBS Bürosysteme (IBS).

By utilising a machine-to-machine solution called Evatic Consumable and Meter Management (ECMM) they have been able to boost productivity, dramatically eliminate washed toner and streamline their processing. They have done this by integrating ECMM with their fleet management solution and directly processing data from all of the printers within their fleet, generating consumable replacements and subsequent invoices automatically.

This provides a clear win-win scenario in that their customers’ are receiving an improved service and massively reduced downtime, whilst IBS are able to improve their own efficiencies both within the field service and consumables areas of their business.

However, for those companies that embrace IoT, the rewards can be even greater than mere efficiency and cost savings.

As an example of a smaller company truly utilising the power of IoT let’s take the example of Espresso Service – a third party service provider operating within the coffee sector.

They have taken an active approach to utilising IoT data from across the fleet of coffee machines that they service and in doing so have not only been able to improve their own service delivery but have subsequently been able to develop additional advanced services based on their ability to translate the data from the assets they serve into truly meaningful insights that help their customers better understand how the assets are being utilised.

This allows them to tailor their own marketing and business strategies to be closer in line to how their own customers wish to be served.

It is in examples such as this where we see the true impact that IoT can and will have on industries of all sorts.

IoT naturally paves the path towards preventative maintenance, thereby simultaneously reducing the cost of each truck roll whilst improving customer satisfaction

For whilst as we’ve discussed IoT naturally paves the path towards preventative maintenance, thereby simultaneously reducing the cost of each truck roll whilst improving customer satisfaction, it is within the data generated by connected assets that we will find the most valuable new revenue streams.

As seen with Espresso Service, being able to offer customers advanced services that are based around the insight from data collected within their assets, can open up potential new revenue streams while firmly embedding an organisation within their customer’s business ecosystem.

Yet, while the data is the tool that underpins such advanced services, it is an organisation’s ability to think beyond the bounds of the currently accepted status quo of what good service within their sector is, and to seek what the new normal should be and bring that forward to their client base, that is the critical genetic component of almost all disruptive companies.

This is certainly not a trait that belongs exclusively to enterprise companies.

Indeed, a strong argument could be made that it is the entrepreneurial environment that exists within many smaller organisations that can allow such ideas and concepts to be nurtured and ultimately flourish.

Another factor for consideration here is also that examples such as that of Espresso Service are largely reflective of an organisations ability to truly understand the market they serve and their customers needs within that market.

In today’s world where service has become a core differentiator, this can allow the SMBs to flourish should they embrace the current technology available to them.

Again, here we see an advantage that many smaller companies may have over their larger peers in that the relationships they often have with their client base are that much more intimate – giving them perhaps better opportunity to really get under the skin of what their customers’ most challenging issues are and making them better placed to develop strategies and solutions that can solve the issues at hand.

The rapid development of technology we are seeing today means that smaller organisations are now able to access technology that can push their service standards on par and above those of the larger, traditionally dominant companies within their competitive sphere.

In today’s world where service has become a core differentiator, this can allow the SMBs to flourish should they embrace the current technology available to them.

Want to know more? The bad news is the full white paper is only available exclusively for fieldservicenews.com subscribers.

The good news is that if you are a field service practitioner then you may well qualify for a complimentary industry practitioner.

The even better news is we will send you a copy of this white paper when you apply as a welcome!

Click here to apply for your complimentary industry subscription to fieldservicenews.com and access the white paper now!

Note: Please do take the time to our T&Cs (available in plain English at fieldservicenews.com/subscribe) and note that this content is sponsored by Asolvi

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