By Sudhir Shankarappa, Director - IoT & AR Powered Connected Assets and Services at Happiest Minds
As per a Gartner report on ‘Mass adoption of IoT’, by 2020, our planet Earth is expected to have 25 billion connected things. Such an exponential rise in the connected devices brings in exciting possibilities for businesses to create systems that are futuristically efficient, productive, and fast. We agree with Kevin Ashton (known as father of IoT), who strongly believes that Field Service Management (FSM) is the first industry expected to be transformed by Internet of Things. IoT-enabled field service offers the ever-necessary complete visibility into assets and personnel, helping businesses accomplish improved operational effectiveness and clear strategic differentiation. Service organizations across the globe are being considered as drivers of profit and revenue; they are also increasingly embracing outcome-based service models revolutionizing the field service business. Driven by such innovation, the FSM market size is expected to grow from USD 1.78 billion in 2016 to USD 3.61 billion by 2021, at a CAGR of 15.1 percent as per the Global Forecast for 2021 by Research & Markets.
Field service businesses are currently facing a huge challenge in creating and maintaining their loyal customer base. The impact of customer experience must be clearly evaluated and understood in order for businesses to create strategies to achieve customer satisfaction. The costs of both good and bad customer experiences are known to make or break companies in the current age of highly-competitive markets. In 2011, American Express conducted a survey in which it estimated that the true cost of bad customer service to be USD 338.5bn globally and USD84bn in the US alone. The survey also predicted a sharp increase in these numbers over the next 5 years, so imagine where we are today. Keeping customers happy is one of the most important ways to ensure a profitable business in the future, and FSM solutions can make a significant contribution towards this goal. FSM will empower service engineers to achieve first-time-resolution, thus accomplishing both service profitability and customer satisfaction. The right FSM product can enable field workers with tools and knowledge required to achieve efficient completion of service orders.
The biggest business and digital trends that are driving FSM and tackling service challenges, as per the TSIA-ASTEA Report in September 2015, include Delivery Channel Optimization, Context-aware Mobility, Talent Optimization, Connected Products, Video Technology, and Spare Parts Logistics in the business arena. In the digital space, IoT, Predictive Maintenance, Data Analytics, and Augmented Reality are driving FSM development.
Service organizations are realizing the need for a focused enterprise service strategy roadmap and are adopting the following strategies to accomplish an improved and predictive field service:
- Increased availability of service knowledge for quick diagnosis and resolution
- Develop real-time visibility into field assets (people, parts, vehicles)
- Implement predictive analytics to enable proactive services
FSM solutions vary diversely depending on the industry and purpose of usage, ranging from “best-of-breed” applications for order scheduling to all-inclusive product suites for enterprises. The highest adoption rates of FSM are in businesses whose operations are in diverse geographical locations where their equipment and assets require frequent monitoring, inspection, repairs, testing, and upgrades. This includes industries like retail, refineries, manufacturing, mining, consumer goods, and transportation.
- In the retail and consumer goods market, FSM helps in streamlining revenue generation, service recovery, shortening billing cycles, payments, and managing cash flows while connecting personnel across multiple outlets and offices
- Companies in the manufacturing, mining, and refinery industries that install, repair, and maintain industrial equipment – such as industrial appliances, heavy machinery, robotics, construction equipment, paper, and packaging machinery – will be able to increase competitive advantage through FSM. There will be a positive effect on their top-line revenue and bottom-line profitability through a consolidated, shared, enterprise solution like FSM
- Transportation is already moving to infusing technology to manage transportation systems, which can help in optimizing revenues, reducing downtime, and improving efficiencies
The North American region is expected to be the largest revenue-generating region for FSM solutions and service providers in 2017 owing to the high focus on innovation and technology adoption. Europe stands as the second biggest market for the FSM. Developed countries such as France, Germany, and Italy are few leading countries in Europe Region as per Market Research Future. Asia-Pacific (APAC) including emerging economies, such as China, Australia, Singapore, and India, are rapidly deploying FSM solutions with high investments in cloud service and infrastructure.
A customer service report by ClickSoftware conveyed that 80 percent of revenues come from 20 percent of customers. FSM technologies can help retain and delight these loyal customers through first time resolution of complaints subsequently driving service profitability. Hence, the ever-increasing need for organizations to have a focused and a futuristic enterprise service strategy and roadmap must be given its due respect.
Customers in 2017 will demand to have their service questions and issues resolved in their most convenient channel and in the smartest possible way. IoT-powered FSM is definitely poised to be a strong partner for service organizations to be future-ready for the dynamic challenges on the field. No matter what the situation, the best service organizations that are enabled with FSM will always be ready with an adept answer.
Sudhir Shankarappa is the Director - IoT & AR Powered Connected Assets and Services at Happiest Minds. Sudhir is a Technology Evangelist, Explorer and Creator. He has rich experience in helping customers globally in revolutionizing their Field operations & Supply chain. He has helped customers achieve Service profitability, Customer Satisfaction & First-Time fix Rate. He is currently working on creating niche solutions on IoT (Internet of Things) / LPWAN, AR (Augmented Reality), Field analytics, Remote Diagnostics and Connected Services. He has worked in multiple industries spread across Energy, Utility, Telecom, Health-care and Retail domains and has unique expertise in handling niche technologies through creation till curation.