Guest Column | May 8, 2018

Managed Solutions Are Positioned To Address The Growing Complexity Of Field Service

By David Krebs, Executive VP, Enterprise Mobility at VDC Research

Managed Solutions

Managed mobility providers are uniquely positioned to assist with many field service modernization initiatives including the adoption of next-generation mobile applications and Internet Of Things (IoT) solutions. Mobility and IoT share many of the same challenges: both areas are notorious for their lack of standardization, diverse vendor ecosystem, and multiple technology platforms; these areas have struggled to optimize connectivity and minimize security risks; and there are also the common business challenges of minimizing costs and future-proofing technology selection. Organizations struggle with decisions spanning which device types best fit their use cases; defining the device connectivity and data format; implementing security, governance, and policy across each layer; and ultimately staging, kitting, deploying and managing these business critical operations technologies.

According to VDC’s research, organizations with field service operations are clearly committed to their mobility and digital transformation initiatives with nine in ten organizations stating that mobility solutions were more critical this year than the previous. However, a large share of organizations are frustrated with the pace of development and more than 55 percent of respondents to a recent VDC survey either somewhat or completely agreed that their organization struggled to effectively engage with customers using mobile solutions.  With the vast majority of organizations with field service operations still relying on internal resources to support these initiatives, this may represent one of the key factors causing that frustration in the pace of change. When pressed, decision makers point out that “project complexity” is the second highest rated mobile adoption barrier behind “data and file security”.

It is exactly for these reasons that organizations turn to third party solution providers – including managed mobility service providers. Reduction of mobility deployment and increasing the pace of mobile innovation and reducing solution complexity were identified as the top two adoption drivers for third party mobile professional services. In fact, almost nine in ten organizations that have taken this approach claim that their mobile solution providers have enabled them to compete more effectively. Managed mobility providers are able to fulfill every step of this process with both mobility and IoT devices. In fact, field service organizations have already begun to see managed mobility as an increasing source of support. For example, 88 percent of field service organizations have found enterprise mobility solution providers to have helped in competing effectively.

As organizations with field service operations come to grips with these market realities, they are increasingly looking for qualified IT solution and service partners to bridge their capabilities gaps. Managed mobility services are increasingly attractive for the opportunity to reduce downtime while cutting maintenance and management costs with over eight in ten organizations open to considering managed mobile services. Forward-looking organizations are turning this into a competitive advantage by leveraging advances in mobile technologies to drive operational efficiencies and achieve more intimate and engaging customer interactions.

Device-centric services, such as maintenance and break/fix, are core to the enterprise mobility professional services opportunity; however, as mobile deployments expand, we continue to see organizations gravitate toward solution-oriented value propositions. We see a marked shift toward more strategic mobile enablement around collaboration and customer engagement. As demand for more sophisticated mobile solutions grows, professional services vendors will begin to see traction for vertically oriented mobility consulting services.

Based on VDC’s research, key considerations among organizations evaluating and selecting next generation mobility service providers include:

  • Rapid deployment services – the ability to fast-track projects while helping customers understand the ROI potential of their investments.
  • Mobile application lifecycle services capabilities. The ability to both develop and manage mobile applications will be increasingly desired going forward.
  • Retail sector and sub-sector expertise to cater to the variable requirements that are unique to your business.
  • Provide service and support capabilities for all connected end-points, not just mobile devices. Instrumenting legacy systems is becoming a key priority, as organizations are beginning to capitalize on the idea of connected devices and their associated business benefits.
  • Advanced monitoring and analytics capabilities – the ability to leverage cloud service and deliver real-time remote monitoring capabilities will be a key area for competitive differentiation moving forward.
  • Global service footprint – a critical element to being able to cater to multi-national requirements.