Q&A with a Field Service Management Veteran

Jim Thomas

This is a question we hear a lot from leaders at field service organizations — do we take on another technology implementation or wait until the current ServiceMax, Oracle Field Service, or ClickSoftware rollout is over?

To help investigate, I’ll be talking with Jim Thomas, a resident field service expert who previously spent 6 years at ServiceMax working closely with many different types of enterprise customers.

Q: You were previously a Principal Solutions Consultant at ServiceMax, are there any insights about rolling out a new Field Service Management solution that you’d like to share?

A: The biggest thing to keep in mind is that field service management implementations are longer projects that touch multiple departments and often change the business processes along with the software being used for service execution. Change management is a huge factor in the success of a project, which relies a lot on the organization’s ability to communicate effectively. Much of the ROI comes from the biggest user population, field workers, so ensuring high adoption is critical for a successful implementation.

Q: A lot of Field Service organizations are about to or are knee-deep in an Oracle, ServiceMax or ClickSoftware roll out. How long does this process typically take?

A: Even the most basic field service implementations can take several months. When enterprise companies include integrations to backend ERPs or deployment to multiple BUs and geographies, the project can easily extend to a year or more. Additionally, subject matter experts in the field and in supporting departments, especially IT, are going to be pulled from their day jobs to help, which puts an additional strain on resources.

Q: Being able to effectively communicate with a dispersed workforce about the new software and processes is crucial for a successful implementation. How are companies handling this right now?

A: Many companies have training departments or a train-the-trainer methodology to get the field prepared for go-live. At go-live, field technicians are back to running solo in the field with new processes and new software. Because field teams work in a dynamic environment with new challenges and scenarios appearing daily, it’s often a struggle to get timely responses from the limited project team contacts or even quality responses from their peers who are also busy focused on their own work orders and jobs.

Q: We’ve found that rolling out Zinc both before or during a field service management solution implementation is actually quite advantageous for a few reasons. Could you run through those?

A: One benefit of deploying cloud solutions is time to value. Zinc is designed to be quick and easy to set up, and because of the app’s intuitiveness, training is minimal. DISH recently rolled out Zinc to their thousands-strong team of field technicians in a matter of two weeks. Zinc further speeds up that time to value by giving users instant answers from experts, peers, and managers who have the right information. This allows teams to drive down mean time to service and increase their first-time fix rate well before the field service solution has been deployed.

Additionally, rolling out Zinc allows you to easily work through any issues that arise from technicians possibly learning how to use new mobile devices as well as the questions that arise when teams start using the new service solution. Because implementing software like ServiceMax or Click requires technicians to learn new technology as well as processes, it can be very disruptive and it’s easy for these dispersed teams to get lost in the shuffle.

When you make the commitment to have everyone on the same app, it creates a network effect where field technicians can always get instant support from solution experts and feel confident in their ability to use the new service solution. And as I mentioned before, when field workers are using a field service management solution effectively, that’s when you get great ROI.

Q: You mentioned how fast it is to roll out Zinc. What makes the product so easy to implement?

A: Unlike most enterprise solutions, Zinc has been built to make it quick and easy to set up, configure, and onboard users. Minimal training is needed to show Administrators how to use the Admin Console and even less training is needed for users who can pick it up quickly because of Zinc’s similar look and feel to consumer app interfaces. We’ve literally trained thousands of users in one single day.

Q: In April, Zinc launched an integration with ServiceMax. What does this mean for companies who are about to roll out ServiceMax?

A: It means that they can take advantage of all modes of communication with reference to the specific ServiceMax objects—so there can be running group conversations about Work Orders, Accounts, Locations of Installed Products. As a field technician, I can now see the conversation history of an installed product without reviewing the notes of each historical work order. Zinc also allows you to easily include non-Salesforce or ServiceMax users in the conversation, so a product engineer or project manager doesn’t have to bear the license cost to engage with the field.

Zinc Real-Time Communication from ServiceMax gives field teams instant answers and access to knowledge and information while on the job. Check out the demo below to learn more.





ABOUT Kristen Wells

Kristen is the senior manager of corporate communications at PTC and editor of Field Service Digital. She is passionate about elevating the stories of women in field service and improving communication between the field and the office. Prior to ServiceMax, Kristen held content marketing roles at startups such as Zinc and cielo24. Kristen holds a B.A. in Communication with an emphasis on Professional Writing from the University of California, Santa Barbara.