Field Service Management technology has significantly grown over the years, but what does 2020 have in store for the Field Service Management industry?
According to a 2018 report, the field service management market is expected to grow from $2.56 billion in 2018 to $5.08 billion in 2023. Overall the market is being driven by mobile applications and wearables used by field workers. Additionally, the number of field technicians operating globally has reached the 20 million figure and is expected to grow significantly as well.
Delivering a great Field Service Management solution is a priority for many organisations across a range of sectors including local government, facilities management, transport, housing and health and social care. Regardless of what industry however, organisations will want to plan ahead in order to deliver continuous innovation and an improvement in efficiencies throughout their business, and so will want to keep up with future field service management trends.
In our latest blog, we look at the top 5 future trends within the Field Service Management industry for 2020 including a view from our very own expert, Totalmobile’s CPO, Gareth Tolerton. With over 20 years’ experience, Gareth has worked on countless mobile and field service management projects, as well as been involved in numerous forums and projects to help uncover what exactly makes a great Field Service Management solution.
Customer demands on Field Service Technicians:
Today there is a rising expectation from customers to receive an improved, timely customer service experience. The rising need to differentiate services and offer an increase in customer satisfaction is now more prevalent than before. These expectations will continue to grow and so organisations using field service management software must ensure there is improved communication between field staff and the customer, ensuring services are delivered in an efficient manner.
Totalmobile’s Chief Product Officer, Gareth Tolerton agrees that the customer will continue to be the most important aspect of field service management going forward.
“I think the most important aspect is the customer, basing the user experience entirely around them and ensuring organisations are always focusing on the interest of the customer. Whether that’s continually communicating with them, perhaps updating them on the status of a boiler repair or keeping them informed of a patient appointment change. It’s important to keep them informed and make them feel they are part of the end to end process. The customer essentially has to trust the service you are delivering, therefore in order to gain and retain that trust, they need to have complete transparency over the service they are receiving.
Through Field Service Management, we’re trying to automate processes, to prevent faults happening in the first place, so it’s crucial to have a more adaptive scheduling and appointment booking service in place. By doing so it will help organisations meet the needs of their customers.
By setting, managing and adhering to KPIs, you are then orientating your service to drive benefit to the customer. While automating the service in an efficient manner, the focus of service delivery should be delivered in the interest of the customer. However, in order for this, you need to deploy digital channels.”
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Mobile and the demand from the workforce
Today the rise of the mobile worker is on the increase and will continue to grow. According to the Global Mobile Workforce Forecast Update, the global mobile workforce is expected to rise from the current 1.45 billion to 1.87 billion by 2022. With an increasingly wide range of field service and mobile roles available, the role of the mobile worker is more prevalent than before, as is the use of mobile apps with over 75% of organisations expected to use them by 2020 for technical projects.
Access to mobile or remote working solutions enable staff to have 24/7, immediate retrieval to all the information they would have if they were based in the office. By providing employees with the right tools to do their job at the point of service, you are empowering them to efficiently record job related information, reducing admin and unnecessary paperwork as well as increasing efficiencies throughout your organisation.
By making the move to mobile, organisations can gain a competitive edge in achieving maximum efficiencies such as increasing staff capacity and productivity and improving compliance and customer satisfaction.
Additionally, there is also an increasing demand for this type of technology to be implemented from the mobile workforce in order to enable and enhance the way they carry out their day to day jobs. With today’s generation now more digital savvy, there is a growing demand not only from staff but a growing expectancy from organisations for staff to be able to use mobile apps and technology.
Gareth agrees, in relation to field service management it’s important to consider the role of field service staff,
“Another important aspect is the actual field service workers who are delivering the service. In order for them to carry out their day to day role, they need to be fully equipped with the tools to do so. By empowering them with the correct device and user-friendly software, you are providing them with access to information to do their job right. Ultimately, this empowers field service staff to provide service users with the highest quality of service.
At Totalmobile, our core proposition is focused on the journey of the mobile worker and looking at what it takes to empower them to work more efficiently rather than just looking at how back office systems work. For us, the key focus is user adoption and experience, by providing people with the right device, it will give them the ability to automate processes and provide an improved way of working.”
Global Field Technicians
$2.56 Billion to $5.08 Billion
Market Growth to 2023
Only 30% of Providers
are ready to deploy AI
SaaS Field Service Software Deployment
According to Gartner, SaaS remains the largest segment of the cloud services market to significantly grow and by 2021 this will account for 45% of all software options. The rise of SaaS is more predominant than before with consumers using subscription-based services such as Netflix, Spotify or magazine subscriptions. Subscription based services are fuelled by the adoption of cloud computing and SaaS solutions which are regularly used on a day to day basis such as Office 365, Gmail and Dropbox.
This evidently reflects that the market is growing substantially, with the future of businesses gradually migrating to a cloud-based model.
Moving to a SaaS based model guarantees a range of benefits. Your organisation can ensure a smooth, efficient transition removing the pressure to run your infrastructure, ensuring increased capacity for your internal IT teams and reducing physical space taken up by servers or hardware. Additionally, staff don’t have to worry about managing physical hardware, upgrades, software updates or security risks, everything is managed via a fully managed service.
New Technology Utilisation in FSM
The growth of technology will ultimately have a significant impact on field service management and how organisations operate within their business. Emerging trends include the role of IoT and automation within field service, AI, big data and analytics.
By 2020, it is reported there will be 20 billion IoT connected devices in use. IoT and automation within field service allows organisations to optimise and automate processes from scheduling, to predicting whether an asset has an issue. For organisations, IoT provides ground breaking improvements as IoT deployments make delivery easier, faster and more secure for customers by enhancing services, increasing engagement, assuring compliance and strengthening security. Together IoT as part of a field service management solution ensures that work is completed not only efficiently but it also encourages pro-active monitoring which in the long term prevents unnecessary work or escalated issues.
Gareth gives his thoughts on the use of IoT and how it will be used to automate processes and transform field service management.
“IoT is another future trend that will continue to automate processes and combined with field service management, it will allow issues to be detected earlier and the appropriate action to be taken. Ultimately again, increasing efficiencies for organisations in terms of saving significant costs and resources for both the organisation and the customer. The role of IoT and automation is becoming more important as it is transforming how field service management is delivered. It analyses information, enabling automated job allocation and drives efficiencies for organisations. However, despite this, deploying sensors within other organisations’ assets can cause issues around ownership of and responsibility for assets, which can be built into contracts and difficult to overcome quickly.”
Artificial Intelligence (AI) refers to enabling computers to perform tasks with high level intelligence. AI is becoming more prevalent within field service management in order to schedule and dispatch the right mobile worker to the right job at the right time. It works by taking into consideration a range of constraints such as location, skill set, priority or availability, and therefore improving the productivity of your field-based workforce as well as reducing manual procedures for office-based staff. Additionally, AI is also a game changer for organisations in terms of predicting when there is an issue with an asset for example, before it occurs and therefore preventing issues to escalate further. This works through the implementation of IoT enabled sensors which are deployed and trigger an event such as detecting the creation of an item of work.
“AI is something that has been about for a while and is continually talked about, however, we’re now progressing refinements in technology. The delivery of field service isn’t yet fully harnessing the available technology, so I think AI going forward will deliver better use in using algorithms to optimise the service and to predict things, as well as deal with the distribution and allocation of resources. At Totalmobile, we’re working to use the data of our products and the AI capabilities of Azure to give our customers more advanced solutions.”
Data is one of the most important elements within field service management, with 80% of organisations stating it is critical to meeting their strategic objectives. However, it is what organisations do with this data that helps improve the way their business operates and enables them to gain efficiencies through strategic decision making. This is where analytics plays a significant role. Businesses can use analytics generated from their field workforces to help improve on performance throughout all areas of their organisation. Furthermore, by harnessing data from historic service delivery analysing this and taking advantage of AI and other technology, it’ll help organisations make predictions and inform decisions required in the delivery of future service. For example, service demands versus resources, or impacts on operational costs, as well as identify new opportunities. By doing this, businesses will be able to identify insights for immediate actions, leading to a more efficient service delivery, proficient operations and happier customers.
Finally, Gareth comments on this trend,
“The one significant trend which will continue to grow is the use of data and how it will continue to transform businesses decisions. We talk about data being the new oil with the data and analytics industry expected to grow significantly within the next five years.”
As the pace in technology innovation and the rise of field service management technology continues to evolve, we’ll see these key trends continue to dominate the field service management industry. So, where are you now on your field service management journey? Now is the time to instrument change in order to achieve the full benefits of an innovative field service management solution.