In the Big Discussion, we will take one topic, bring together three leading experts on that topic and put three key questions to them to help us better understand its potential impact on the field service sector…
This issue our topic is the what to expect in 2018 and our experts are Michael Blumberg, Blumberg Advisory, Bill Pollock, Strategies for GrowthSM and Jan Van Veen, moreMomentum
The first question we tackled was What is the biggest challenge facing field service companies in the next 12 months?
Now let’s turn to the second question in the discussion…
What is the biggest opportunity facing field service companies in the next 12 months?
Bill Pollock: The biggest opportunity facing field service companies today is the ability to compete head-to-head with any of their main competitors – however large or small – through the implementation and/or upgrade to a Cloud-based Field Service Management (FSM) solution. Over the past several years, Cloud technology has normalized the playing field for both FSM solution providers and their customers, who are no longer encumbered by the cost and complexity of their legacy premise-based solutions and applications.
Advances in technology are also giving a boost to those field service companies that have embraced these new technologies. For example, the greatest opportunities over the next 12 months will most likely be realised by those companies that will have already implemented Augmented Reality (AR) and/or Merged Reality (MR) into their field service operations. However, the most likely dominant field service organisations will be the ones that have also taken steps to explore the benefits of moving to an Artificial Intelligence- (AI) and Machine Learning- (ML) driven field service solution.
The technology is already there for every field service company; however, only those that embrace – and implement – these technologies will actually be able to reap the benefits.
Jan Van Veen: When talking about the biggest opportunities, I think we need to look beyond 12 months. It is mission critical to act now on future success.
Most industries are somewhere around the top of the life cycle and are facing (first signs of) commoditization.
The big opportunity for them is to go through the next life cycle where the added value is about enhancing the use of technology. The new value propositions will be heavily driven by data, algorithms and intelligence. The value will be far beyond predictive maintenance and uptime of technology.
This is a domain in which young, rapidly growing data-driven companies are in their comfort zone. So, the opportunity here is moving up the food chain and increase relevance for clients. By failing to pursue these opportunities, the threat is being forced down in the food chain and seeing other players deliver the high value, whilst seeing your role being limited to manufacturing equipment, spare parts and, to some extent, delivering low skilled hands-on machines for maintenance.
For those companies who are not ready to focus on these opportunities, I think your top priority should be to build the missing foundation and make sure you are ready to pursue the opportunities soon.
Michael Blumberg: The biggest opportunity facing field service companies in the next 12 months lies in pursuing strategies that will advance their journey along the path toward servitization.
The specific strategies vary from company to company based on where they are on their journey. For some companies, 2018 will be the year when they finally transition their field service operation from a cost centre to a profit centre. For others, the opportunity lies in monetizing service offerings and effectively marketing and selling service outcomes.
Still, others will have the opportunity to invest in digital technologies that enhance service quality, boost productivity, and create an uber-like experience for their customers.
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