Bill Pollock, President of Strategies for Growth explains why the future of the field service sector is going to be fully dependent on the emerging technologies that are driving ever greater connectivity…
Connected Field Service empowers Field Service Organizations (FSOs) with the ability to monitor equipment remotely, and transmit data into the business’ database in real-time.
The greatest manifestations of this increasingly pervasive technology may be best described in the following terms:
- Traditional Field Service Management (FSM) tools have long since taken their place in the everyday service operations of a large majority of FSOs
- Field technicians have been effectively repositioned as industry experts, equipped with data that helps improve productivity while delivering higher levels of customer service, and attaining enhanced levels of customer satisfaction
- Keeping up with the latest technology is an ongoing challenge for most FSOs – but one that is necessary to maintain their competitive position in an evolving competitive landscape
- Establishing a formal KPI program – with the flexibility to add new types of KPIs to address new ways of measuring connected field service performance – is becoming increasingly important.
- The more progressive companies have already begun to migrate toward newer, alternative business models, such as servitization or selling “power by the hour”.
As such, and by harnessing the power of the IoT combined with pervasive functionalities of a Cloud-based CRM platform, more and more FSOs have begun to shift away from the traditional “breakfix” repair model to a newer, “never-fail” service model. The combination of these new technologies with the adoption of alternative business models, are allowing companies to more effectively manage the entire business operations of the enterprise, rather than just its service operations – again, made possible through the advent and proliferation of connected field service.
Fast forward to today, we believe that the future of IoT-powered FSM solutions, particularly those built on a CRM platform, is quite bright.
Why? Because the value proposition is clear – and universal – across all segments and participants involved in the provider-customer services transaction:
- For services management – it provides a set of configurable tools, working in real time, that are necessary to make the critical decisions needed to run a successful services organization;
- For field service professionals – it provides immediate access to valuable data and information, and eliminates much of the cumbersome and repetitive paperwork required in the past;
- For the organization’s services customers – it provides the ability to initiate service requests and monitor call status directly via the Web (i.e., via a customer portal);
- For the parts/inventory organization – it sets the stage for controlled inventory and parts replenishment that helps keep costs down; and
- For the back office – it facilitates the streamlined flow of information between and among dispatch, finance, purchasing, parts/ inventory and all other relevant stakeholders within the organization.
The staggering amount of data that can be generated through a connected field service environment also brings to the table several new data-related capabilities for FSOs, including the ability to:
- Collect whatever data that is needed to improve a process, or improve a product, based on its measured, monitored and tracked usage
- Switch to a lower-cost predictive model vs. the more traditional – and more expensive – preventive maintenance model
- Determine which services to offer to customers that the organization cannot offer today (e.g., a next-level guarantee against downtime, which can be turned into a premium service, etc.)
- Sell, cross-sell and up-sell new services, packaged as competitive differentiators
- Create a more effective KPI program that can measure, monitor and track both the still relevant traditional KPIs, as well as the “new” KPIs that are being created using connected field service
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