Follow any software category over time and you’ll quickly see that all specific software categories/markets change (sometimes drastically). Does that make you nervous? Maybe I’ll just wait a few more years to invest, so I’m sure which horse I should place my bet on, you say.

But there is an opportunity cost. Sure, you may find a nice, safe bet a few years from now, but you also may find a stagnant market that no longer helps you grow, expand and differentiate in your own rapidly changing market.

Now is the time to innovate, and all those market changes are actually a really good sign that you are on the right track. When prioritizing projects, keep an eye out for ones in fast-moving markets, specifically markets that are established enough for there to be real ROI and a history of successful projects, but not so established that everyone else has innovated ahead of you. Are multiple industry analysts writing about the space? Or only one? Has the way the market is defined been changing, or has there been the same leaders for 10 years and few new entrants? Is there a lot of merger and acquisition activity?

In our little corner of the world, Field Service Management, we’ve seen things change a lot and we are now right in that sweet spot. Real results and customer success, but still a dynamic market with new innovation still to be uncovered.

A Brief FSM History Lesson:
  • Early 2000s: The FSM market is led by on-premises CRM players like Siebel, and very little is tracked or managed in client/server CRM software.
  • 2005-2010: Cloud CRM becomes a must-have. Analysts recognize schedule optimization as a trend, and leaders become the schedule optimization vendors while ERP/CRM players fall back.
  • 2010-2015: The rise of end-to-end FSM platforms sees new leaders emerge to join “those scheduling guys.”
  • 2015-2020: End-to-end vendors dominate. CRM vendors buy their way back into FSM, now too large a market to ignore or marginalize. Lines between FSM and related markets for industrial IoT and Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) blur. Ways to engage/augment workers (AI, AR, team collaboration) also bleed into FSM.

So, who can help you navigate and keep up with these changes? Vendors (like ServiceMax, of course) are a great source, but we fully admit we aren’t always seen as objective. For knowledgeable, truly objective feedback, we recommend turning to our community of bright, well-informed industry analysts (like Gartner, Forrester, IDC, and many more). Analysts can get you oriented to what is happening in a market and help you identify a shortlist of vendors with whom you can go deeper. Changes in buyer needs and demands shift regularly with our economy, business trends and technological change. Analyst firms strive to make sense of these complicated and changing markets to help guide buyers through both the project prioritization process as well as the vendor selection process. Most enterprise companies have already established relationships with these firms. If you don’t know which analyst firms your team works with, reach out to your IT department and ask around. Besides access to research, you may also have inquiry time available to talk with the analysts who write the reports. They can hear your needs and requirements directly and make recommendations.

Field Service Management has grown as a category and coverage on our market and adjacent ones has expanded as well. The Gartner Magic Quadrant for Field Service Management, once the only game in town, is now joined by detailed market studies by ARC Advisory Group, VDC Research, Frost & Sullivan and others. IDC will enter the “vendor evaluation” fray this fall, with MarketScape studies on FSM, parts management and warranty management. The emerging area of industrial IoT is now a space with a Gartner Magic Quadrant; however the space is so new that, even a few years in, there are no Challengers or Leaders.

There is now no shortage of well-researched information you should be tapping into. So here is your homework! Check out the excellent work that these analyst firms are producing. They’ll keep you well informed as our industry grows and changes.

Reading List:

Note that many of these may require purchase or a subscription to access, unless otherwise indicated.

Stay tuned for upcoming IDC MarketScape reports publishing this fall!

ABOUT Susan Tonkin

Susan TonkinSusan Tonkin is the former manager of analyst relations and product marketing at ServiceMax and a regular webinar speaker and writer on field service topics. Susan joined ServiceMax in 2011, spearheading analyst relations and product launch activities as ServiceMax grew exponentially. Prior to joining ServiceMax, she spent more than a decade managing product marketing at Cloud and Enterprise software companies such as Saba and Extensity; working regularly with customers, analysts and partners to bring exciting products to market. Susan holds a Bachelor of Science in Economics and Business Administration from Saint Mary’s College of California.