Guest Column | February 6, 2018

Now Is The Time To Develop Your Field Service Management Strategy

By Randy Selleck, Senior Consultant, Service Strategies Corp.

Field Service Management Strategy

Have you developed or revised your Field Service Management (FSM ) strategic plan to be ready for the future? Now may be the time to identify and evaluate both your strategy and vendors that can adapt to new technologies for FSM.

With the development and implementation of ever-changing technologies becoming more incorporated into products, it is time to “dust off” your service strategy and plans to leverage FSM to deliver higher levels of customer satisfaction, while driving more efficiency. 

According to a September 2017 published Gartner study, Magic Quadrant for Field Service Management, it predicts that by 2020:

  • 70 percent of organizations will cite customer satisfaction as a primary benefit derived from implementing field service management, up from approximately 50 percent today
  • 10 percent of emergency field service work will be both triaged and scheduled by artificial intelligence
  • Greater than 40 percent of field service work will be performed by technicians who are not employees of organizations that have direct contact with the customer
  • Greater than 75 percent of field service organizations with over 50 users will deploy mobile apps that go beyond simplified data collection and add capabilities that help technicians

As shown in a January 2018 Field Service Benchmark Study conducted by Service Strategies, some of these trends are already here! How will your organization better prepare for this proposed future? Given these potential changes in the landscape, what should you do?

First, begin with an internal focus on these areas:

  1. Evaluate your overall field service strategy and business plan
    1. What is your vision for field service excellence and customer loyalty?
    2. What is your plan to improve field service efficiencies?
    3. What new tools and technologies will you implement to increase resolution and first time to repair?
    4. How are you using mobility to insure that your field staff is getting the information they need?
    5. Is there a need to augment field staff or outsource to a third-party?
    6. How effective is your current FSM in supporting your vision and plans?
  2. Partner with product development to better understand how they plan to  incorporate  or enhance new technologies in products to improve service delivery and resolution, such as:
    1. The Internet of Things – will the products have access ability for remote diagnostics, trouble codes and alerts as to the status of a device or machine. Having the ability to diagnose remotely may allow for a remote resolution
    2. Cloud Based Solutions – offering the ability to stream training videos, provide documentation and self-service capabilities to your field engineers and customers
    3. Artificial Intelligence – the ability for the product to self-diagnose and repair itself

Secondly, conduct an external review of the Field Service Management marketplace:

  1. Begin with your current FSM provider if you have one, or begin evaluating FSM vendors
    1. Invite them to review their product road map for this year and beyond
    2. Evaluate demos, solutions that provide positive ROI
    3. Ask them how their solution has or will adapt to the new technologies (IOT, AI, Mobility, Cloud)
    4. Ask to speak with their customers who have benefitted from their solution
  2. Leverage publications like this one and industry associations to learn how others have better utilized their FSM solution
    1. Ask what problems were trying to solve with FSM
    2. Ask about ease of implementation and use
    3. Ask them about their cost benefit analysis

The future of field service technology trends are already upon us. I urge you to take appropriate time to contemplate these changes and prepare yourself and your field service organization for their impact. There is no better time than now to take action to update your FSM strategy and plans accordingly.