Are UK field service companies keeping pace with the rest of the world? In Parts One, Two and Three, of this exclusive four-part benchmarking report for Field Service News, Bill Pollock, President & Principal Consulting Analyst, Strategies for Growth SM, revealed the comparative performances of US and UK/European field service organisations, the key drivers influencing strategy for UK/Europe companies and KPI focus.
Here, in Part Four, he reports on attitudes and trends regarding Cloud and On-Premise solutions. The publication of this research was sponsored by Kirona.
By providing customers with the right mix of Web-enabled self-help capabilities, the leading UK/Europe organisations have essentially been able to run their respective services operations more effectively, while also increasing existing levels of satisfaction by allowing customers to become part of their own “support team”.
Self-help support capabilities, such as the ability to order parts, or view current work order status, saves customers – and FSOs – significant time in that an entire series of potential two-way vendor-customer status update calls can be avoided.
In addition, customers can create their own service tickets online, gain direct access to self-service resolution scenarios, receive real-time status update alerts, and track the shipping status of outstanding service parts orders themselves. Basically, the more power the customer has to perform any of these activities itself, the quicker service orders can be created, the quicker potential time-related problems can be identified and resolved, and the happier the customers will be with the services they are receiving from the provider.
By making the customer an integral part of the service delivery team, UK/Europe service organisations can continue to benefit from reduced time- and cost-related factors
Growth in Cloud solutions
However, the greatest impact on the future of Field Service Management is most likely to come as a result of the growing acceptance of Cloud-based technology, as reflected in one particular series of questions included in SFG℠’s 2015 FSM survey questionnaire. Respondents were first divided into three (3) categories: those with existing FSM solutions already in place, those planning to implement in the next 12 months, and those considering an FSM implementation or upgrade in more than one year.
The results strongly suggest that we are currently in the midst of a fast-paced global sea change in the way FSM solutions are being marketed, sold and deployed.
Among those UK/Europe organisations currently planning an FSM implementation in the next 12 months (or considering doing so in the next 24 months), a Cloud-based solution is preferred by 29% of respondents, compared to only 14% citing a preference for Premise-based – a roughly 2:1 ratio in favour of Cloud.
However, more than half (57%) still remain undecided at this time (compared to only 26% for the general survey population). Still, Cloud-based FSM solutions appear to be the dominant preference. In less than three years since SFG℠’s previous FSM Benchmark Survey was conducted, this represents a sea-change from a market that has historically gone Premise-based for a majority of its FSM software solution needs.
UK/Europe Field Services Organisations are driven to meet customer demands for quicker response…
Key Survey Takeaways
Based on the UK/Europe results of SFG℠’s 2015 Field Service Management Benchmark Survey, the key takeaways are:
- UK/Europe Field Services Organisations (FSOs) are driven to meet customer demands for quicker response; improve workforce utilisation, productivity and efficiencies; meet customer demand for improved asset availability, and increase service revenues
- A majority of UK/Europe FSOs are adding, expanding and/or refining the metrics, or KPIs, they use to measure service performance.
- Over the next 12 months, more than three-quarters (79%) of UK/Europe FSOs will have invested in mobile tools to support their field technicians, and more than 53% will have integrated new technologies into existing field service operations.
- UK/Europe Field Technicians are increasingly being provided with enhanced access to real-time data and information to support them in the field.
- UK/Europe FSOs are providing customers with expanded Web-enabled self-help capabilities (i.e., to order parts, track the status of open calls, and create service tickets, etc.).
- More than half of UK/Europe FSOs are not currently attaining their customer satisfaction or SLA compliance goals; and one-in-four are not achieving at least 20% services profitability (although services profitability, as a whole, appears to be improving).
- Existing UK/Europe FSM platforms are reported as reflecting a more than 2:1 Premise-based over Cloud-based ratio; however, planned FSM implementations in the next 12 to 24 months are reported as more than 2:1 Cloud-based, or SaaS.
Historically, the primary factors cited as driving the UK/Europe – and global – services community to improve its operational efficiencies and service delivery performance have essentially been customer-driven; that is, with a focus primarily on meeting – and, even, exceeding – customer expectations for response time, first-time fix rate, mean-time-to-repair and the like.
However, the economic downturn of the past decade changed the way services organisations think by shifting their focus to ongoing rounds of cost cutting and downsizing (i.e., the denominator of the bottom line). However, this was quickly followed by a shift to the numerator, best represented by an all-out effort to increase service revenues, or turnover.
In 2016 and beyond, the focus will likely be even stronger on the customer in terms of striving to meet (and exceed) their demands, preferences and expectations – or “back to the basics”. UK/Europe FSOs will continue to plan to accomplish this mainly by developing and/or improving the KPIs they use to monitor their improved performance over time, investing in new tools to support both field technicians and customers, and integrating new technologies into their existing FSM or Service Lifecycle Management (SLM) systems.