By Sarah Nicastro, Creator, Future of Field Service
For the past seven years, the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Field Service Management software has served as a touchstone in the industry, helping field service organizations select technology to improve operations and giving software providers a gauge of how they measured up to their competitors.
But going forward, companies will need to look elsewhere for guidance and validation of their technology investments. Back in January, Gartner informed the vendors participating in the Magic Quadrant that it will be retired report after the 2022 edition with plans instead to transition to a Market Guide format expected to launch later this year.
Why the end of the Gartner Magic Quadrant for FSM? Gartner cited several reasons, including the fact that many of the vendors assessed in the report have achieved what they describe as a “high level of functional parity,” and that vendor movement from one position to another has been slowing.
The quadrant divides vendors into four categories – Leaders, Challengers, Visionaries and Niche Players. In retiring the assessment, it seems Gartner feels that companies like IFS (which has been ranked as a leader in all seven reports) are consistently strengthening their position in the market while improving their technology, and that vendors in other categories have found a comfortable lane that they don't seem to be expanding out of any time soon.
While this “high level of functional parity” may mean the end of the Gartner Magic Quadrant for FSM, it doesn't mean innovation isn't continuing. Field service remains a dynamic market that demands a high level of execution when it comes to optimizing and automating workflows.
In the final report (which you can access here), Gartner notes that the estimated revenue from packaged FSM software licenses, cloud subscriptions, and maintenance reached $3.51 billion in 2021, an 18% increase from the previous year – and did so during a period of economic instability and a global pandemic. There were product improvements across all 10 of the critical FSM capabilities identified by Gartner, and in the ability to deliver great customer service.
Gartner identified a few key trends in product development, quite a few of which we have discussed in previous articles and podcasts:
Augmented Reality: Gartner says that all of the vendors in the evaluation now have augmented reality solutions to enable video collaboration and live guidance in the field, and a lot of customers are using these capabilities to work with technicians for diagnostics and support.
Sustainability: This is a big buzzword in a lot of industries, but in service the focus has been on energy efficiency. Some organizations are at least partly cost-justifying their FSM investments through reduced fuel consumption thanks to better routing, for example. The software helps companies reduce truck rolls and keep driving distances and idling to a minimum.
Knowledge Management: This functionality keeps growing in importance, particularly given the high number of retirements and overall shortage of technicians. Some FSM packages are providing features that help better record insights from actual service visits and leverage artificial intelligence to curate and provide easier access to those insights for other technicians.
Self-Service: Again, with fewer technicians and call center staff being asked to shoulder more work, the trend toward customer self-service portals is also accelerating. Customers can initiate and track work orders, pay for services, and even initiate some diagnostics using these products.
So, what’s next? In the final report, Gartner touches on some needs that will likely influence further FSM software developments over the next few years, including the use of machine learning and natural language processing to mine service data, cross-organizational collaboration, new regulatory guideline support, better subcontractor integration, built-in integration with other platforms (like ERP, digital twins, and knowledge management), and more advanced analytics.
It'll be interesting to see how Gartner will continue watching the FSM space through its Market Guide but moving forward it may be a bit more difficult to get the same kind of comparative look at how the software tools are evolving. To stay up to date on how IFS is addressing the needs of service management and beyond, visit ifs.com.