By Bill Pollock
The global Field Service Management (FSM) segment has reinvented itself several times over the years, from break/fix, to network services, to software support, to predictive diagnostics, and more. However, the introduction of the Internet of Things (IoT) is having a much greater and more profound impact on the global services community than anything that has preceded it.
FSOs will be increasingly behind the technology curve if they do not leverage IoT-powered FSM capabilities – or at least engage a primary FSM solution provider that does. The IoT is quickly becoming the chief differentiator that divides those FSOs that can meet the challenges of the present, let alone the future; from those that cannot.
Mobile technologies can also make an FSO’s business analytics capabilities much more vibrant. What good does it do to collect real-time data if you can’t share it in real time? A full-bodied mobility platform can improve any FSO’s “velocity of service” by shaving off days, if not weeks, of delays and potential paper-based mistakes. Having the IoT generate data in real time without the means to get that relevant data and information out to the field in real time is a big mistake. The combination of the IoT and mobility is powerful.
Through the use of Augmented Reality (AR) apps, now actively being combined with Virtual Reality (VR) to form a more complex and robust “Mixed Reality” (MR) capability, we are likely to see even more advances that will ultimately reduce the cost of performing service – for both on-site and remote repairs – over time. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) will also play a part.
Without the IoT, there can be no predictive diagnostics; there could be no AR, VR or MR. Cloud-based FSM solutions leveled the playing field across all services industry segments, the now the IoT is taking this a step further.
Even the core aspects of FSM have evolved. A standard scheduling functionality is simply not doing the job anymore for many FSOs, and many have set their sights on solution providers that can offer optimized scheduling. The same applies to standard business analytics versus advanced analytics, as well as for the various components of spare parts and inventory management. In fact, what used to be “passable” in the past, now looks a little bit “dusty” and, as such, FSOs are seeking more robust functionalities made possible through the integration of the IoT into FSM.
Soon there will also be an entirely new way of collecting data and reporting KPIs as a result of remote diagnostics, AR, and the growing influence of the IoT. It will be analogous to keeping two sets of books – that is, one set of KPIs (like Mean Time to Repair, Elapsed Time from Problem Identification to Correction, etc.) for the way service has historically been performed (i.e., having a field tech dispatched on-site), versus the “new” way, led by remote diagnostics and repair. These methods will need to be measured, monitored, and tracked separately.
The future of Field Service Management is already here! By scoping out how the global services community is evolving, at what pace, with which technologies, FSOs can plan to adapt to the multitude of changes that have occurred and those that are coming.
For more information on this topic, please feel free to download a complimentary copy of the companion Analysts Take paper here.
Bill Pollock is President & Principal Consulting Analyst at Strategies For GrowthSM (SFGSM), the independent research analyst and consulting firm he founded in 1992. Bill is a prolific author and speaker on all things service, and a long-time contributor to the industry’s leading trade publications and conferences. For more information, Bill may be reached at (610) 399-9717, or via email at email@example.com. Bill’s blog is accessible at www.PollockOnService.com and via Twitter at www.twitter.com/SFGOnService.