In its latest report, Gartner predicts that “by 2020, more than 40% of field service work will be performed by technicians who are not employees of the organization that has direct contact with the customer.” Whether this development is one of choice or industry dynamics, the ultimate questions are: What impact does this have on my ability to deliver consistent service? And how do I maintain a unified face to the customer?
Insourcing/ outsourcing issues are not new, though the drivers to do so have varied wildly over the last three decades:
- Cost and headcount targets
- Business process outsourcing
As of late we see an acceleration in the shift driven by three trends:
- Customers are more aware and have multiple service providers to choose from.
- Increased ICT and field service management (FSM) capabilities create a greater number of more capable service providers.
- Healthy profit margins on services attract existing and new entrepreneurs to get a piece of the cake.
The consequence of this shift is that a legacy 1:1 relationship between customer and supplier turns into a many-to-many relationship. Customers have a greater selection of suppliers, and suppliers can reach out into new markets.
Scaling Your Service Delivery Capabilities
The threat of existing customers going to the competition and the opportunity to win customers in competitors’ markets drives the scaling of your service delivery capabilities. You’ll not only need to be able to vary the volume of your workforce, you’ll also need to be able to modify your business processes and workflow on the fly, based on real-time metrics. In this regard Gartner’s prediction is multi-angled and serves as a good compelling reason to act.
The Hybrid Workforce
So, what is that little voice inside me that wants to push back at Gartner’s mixed labor prediction? Having had my share of outsourcing/ insourcing experiences I’m worried about consistency and my ability to control it all.
The good news is I can now easily hook up both internal and third-party workforces to my field service management business platform. I have multiple (distant) learning tools to train them. And as FSM software vendors are moving towards “pay-as-you-go” models, my financial hurdle to arm customers, subcontractors and partners to my field service management business platform is disappearing. In the end I get flexibility, scalability, agility and consistency.