An increasing number of industry actors building, operating, or maintaining medium or high-tech equipment have now started to leverage advanced software to monitor the technical attributes of those assets; IoT, connected objects and digital twins are terms that we are now all getting familiar with. However, companies often rely on relatively siloed low-tech solutions, like Excel spreadsheets and manual processes, to manage the work that needs to be performed on this equipment. So if you are embarking on a promising journey and have decided digitally equip your service delivery teams—congratulations…and welcome to the jungle.
Sourcing an IT solution for field service management can be an overwhelming task for companies. It is indeed easy to get lost in the jungle of available options. This blog aims at providing some clarity and support as you decipher the real meaning of IT jargon in perpetual evolution.
The term ”Cloud-Based Field Service Management Software” focuses on two topic areas: field service management software and cloud-based.
Field service management (FSM) software enables organizations to digitize service-related data and use this data to transform business processes and streamline operations. FSM offers a central system for overseeing all service tasks and activities. Other teams in an organization, such as sales and finance, can leverage it to make data-informed decisions.
Cloud-based indicates that the software is stored, managed, and available through the cloud. As opposed to on-premise software, cloud-based software simplifies IT processes, as there is no longer the need for complex local installations, upgrade projects, or specific infrastructure including best-in-class IT security.
What is Cloud-Based Field Service Management Software?
Cloud-based FSM is a class of computer programs managed, maintained, and delivered in the cloud to help organizations effectively manage field service operations. FSM capabilities can include scheduling and dispatching technicians, managing the installed base, work orders, service contracts and entitlements, managing third-party contractors, tracking key performance indicators (KPIs), planning proactive maintenance schedules, recalling equipment, managing parts inventory, and more. FSM streamlines and automates critical processes across the service organization, providing scalability, efficiency, and visibility to the front and back office.
Cloud-based FSM can either be appointment-centric or asset-centric. The choice will depend on your organization’s goals. Appointment-centric FSM is tailored to businesses that provide high-volume, standardized services, such as telecommunications companies. It allows field managers and supervisors to organize schedules, route plans, and allocate resources. At the same time, field workers can use it to report work statuses, task completion, arrival or departure times, and to request assistance with a challenge met on the job.
On the other hand, asset-centric FSM is tailored to organizations that provide low-volume, complex services, such as medical device manufacturers and oil and gas companies. These service visits require highly knowledgeable technicians that have a specific set of skills as determined by the equipment. Asset-centric FSM enables service stakeholders to know where assets are, what condition they are in, what type of service the customer is entitled to, how the asset is used, how profitable the asset is, and more. It also allows organizations to transition from a reactive model to a proactive model by providing real-time data on the as-maintained status of the equipment. This helps field-service managers anticipate equipment breakdown and send technicians and maintenance teams to address the problem before failure occurs, allowing them to avoid unplanned downtime. For equipment-centric businesses, FSM software provides visibility and control over assets to ensure operational excellence. As a result, this improves workforce productivity and customer satisfaction.
To inform decision-making processes, other teams in the organization, such as sales, marketing, and finance, can also leverage the data obtained through cloud-based FSM. Most FSM also supports integration with existing software solutions within a business, such as CRM (customer relationship management). In addition, cloud-based Field Service Management Software can operate purely online or support offline use. Online programs ensure that data is updated and synchronized in real time. Offline programs are designed to defer synchronizing of data until when an internet connection is available.
Benefits of Cloud-Based Field Service Management Solution
Organizations that adopt cloud-based field service management software benefit from minimized service costs and increased productivity, increased revenue, improved customer experience and retention, and improved asset lifetime value and performance. Some benefits that customers of cloud-based FSM solutions see include:
- Improved service KPIs across first-time fix rates (FTFR), mean time to repair (MTTR), contract attach rate, customer satisfaction (CSAT), technician productivity, contract profitability, Net Promoter Score (NPS), uptime, contract leakage, SLA compliance, and more.
- Reduction of errors due to the elimination of manual and paper-based processes.
- Reduction in administrative tasks, freeing up time for value-added activities.
- A clear view into the as-maintained status of equipment in the field.
- Deeper visibility into customer accounts for sales teams, who can review contract pricing and plan for add-on services or cross-selling.
- The ability for supply chain teams to deploy a data-driven inventory strategy based on historical spare parts usage and historical and planned maintenance events.
- Better profitability predictions and ability to shift to new revenue models such as outcome-based models or equipment-as-a-service.
- Access to the program at any time and from anywhere makes it easy to retrieve information and complete work in the field.
- Easier ability to deploy and scale the technology.
- Reduced IT work, as the vendor maintains the software for you.
- Cloud solutions often provide high levels of security to business data that some organizations would otherwise not afford.
- Implementing cloud solutions is affordable to most businesses since you do not have to buy hardware or any equipment upfront.
Cloud-Based vs. Non-Cloud-Based Field Service Management Software
Cloud-based FSM software has its servers on the internet. This means that your organization will not need to buy any hardware or manage the servers. The server is hosted and supported by a third party. In addition, the cloud servers make it possible to access real-time information from any location or device. That is provided you can connect to a network in the cloud and authenticate your identity.
In contrast, non-cloud-based FSMS have their servers on-site. The servers are hosted on your premises, and you need a dedicated IT staff to manage them. This is usually expensive as you must invest in the hardware and human resources to keep the servers running.
To learn more about the benefits of field service management, including results from ServiceMax customers, read our new report The Impact of Digital Transformation on Service Organizations