Asolvi Knowledge Base

5 trends set to transform field service management in 2018

The field service industry is a giant having a growth spurt.

Already it encompasses over 20 million field technicians worldwide, and according to 2017 statistics, it’s estimated to be worth $4.45 billion by 2022. Since the size of the market in 2016 was just $1.78 billion, that’s a 16.5% compound annual growth rate.

To keep up with such fast and robust growth, companies are taking advantage of new technologies to cut out time-consuming manual processes and transition to fully automated, end-to-end workflows. And they’re embracing mobile apps, machine learning and internet-connected assets to drive revenue, boost customer satisfaction and enhance brand loyalty.

Now that we’ve boxed up Christmas and seen in the New Year, it’s time to get a handle on the key trends set to dominate and transform field service management (FSM) in 2018. Without further adieu, here are our top 5 FSM trends for the coming year.

1. Automation

Delays, inaccuracies, wasted costs and missed revenue opportunities are caused primarily by one thing: manual processes.

Many field service organisations are still using paper, phone calls, spreadsheets and disparate bits of old software to manage their service operations. This is messy and complicated even for a small number of engineers. It’s also likely to mean that the service they offer customers is less effective than the service offered by companies that enjoy fully automated and optimised workflows.

In 2018, more companies are going to realise a need to automate the different stages of their service chain and free up staff to focus on customers instead of admin. They’ll turn to service management software providers like Tesseract to achieve this. A new system like Tesseract will ensure that call handling, scheduling and dispatch, stock, assets, contracts, field working and invoicing are all automated and integrated into a cohesive whole, with real-time visibility for everyone in the service chain. This will cut out paper, printing, admin and human-error-driven costs, and enable field engineers and office-based staff to work more productively.

2. More mobility

The number of mobile phone users across the world is set to exceed 5 billion by 2019. Therefore, investing in better mobility solutions for field service engineers will be an integral component of most field service management strategies in 2018. What do we mean by this? We mean enhancing the ability of engineers to access real-time information while on site and communicate with both office-based colleagues and fellow engineers — wherever they may be.

Mobility software lets engineers review a customer’s service agreement or service history on their smartphones and tablets. Rather than calling or visiting the office, they have real-time access to all the information they need while on site. This allows them to answer customer queries more quickly and comprehensively, and significantly increases the likelihood of a first-time fix. The upshot? Better service all round.

3. Predictive service and the Internet of Things

With increasing demand for better quality service and an absolute minimum of equipment downtime, predictive service is set to become a benchmark of quality in the field service industry in 2018. Instead of fixing things when they break, customers are expecting companies to fix things before they break.

The Internet of Things, or IoT, makes predictive service possible. It consists of any device capable of connecting to the internet, aka ‘smart objects’. This includes many assets maintained by field service engineers, from office equipment to coffee machines to HVAC and security systems.

Smart objects have sensors capable of predicting when they will break down. Technology research firm Gartner suggests that field service companies adjust their business models to take full advantage of this ability, and design their service contracts to match. They’ll also need FSM software capable of receiving telemetry from smart objects, like Tesseract.

4. Harnessing the knowledge of veterans

We’re not at a point where most baby boomers have retired but we’re not far off. Huge chunks of them are leaving the workforce every year. Research shows that 70% of service companies see a loss of talent and knowledge as one of their biggest challenges in the years to come.

FSM software can preserve the know-how, experience and ‘tribal knowledge’ of veteran workers. Tribal knowledge is the unwritten knowledge that is not typically known by others within a company. With so many baby boomers retiring and taking their tribal knowledge with them, companies are rushing to implement service management software capable of recording, storing and organising important asset and customer data for future use. This includes knowledge and opinions about jobs, fixes and the history of an asset, and the experiences of engineers while on site.

5. Getting SaaS-y

These days everybody’s looking to the cloud. The preference for software as a service (SaaS) instead of on-premise software is set to rise in 2018. This makes a lot of sense considering that we’re living in an economy where everyone’s demanding better and better service. Why should service companies themselves not demand more from their own FSM software? Enter SaaS.

SaaS-based FSM platforms like Tesseract are hosted in the cloud by the software provider and licensed on a subscription basis. Here are some of the benefits that many field service organisations will be unable to resist in 2018:

  • There’s no capital investment or ongoing IT support costs.
  • All updates, fixes and improvements are incremental, frequent and managed in-house by the provider. Then they’re rolled out immediately to all users so you never have to worry about your system being out of date.
  • There’s less risk of data loss since all of your data is backed up centrally.
  • It’s highly scalable, requiring nothing more than a simple adjustment to your ongoing subscription.

To know more about Tesseract, please contact us.