“Necessity is the mother of innovation.” Seldom has this proverb been truer than today. The importance of conducting work remotely while ensuring collaboration across an organization has never been more challenging—nor critical to overall business success. During these times of change, it is important to take the time to learn from others, reassess business requirements, and be prepared to try new programs, technologies, or processes. This necessity has already delivered positive impacts on how we work, play, and engage with others. Similarly, the importance of a high-performing service platform has increased exponentially as part of how to drive innovation.
Disruptions and market shifts aren’t a new concept. The global pandemic, geopolitical conflict, and monetary policy continue to impact businesses today more broadly than anyone had ever expected. Businesses were forced to adapt faster while increasing the speed of innovation to stay relevant.
Service organizations must be more agile, support an increasingly remote workforce, and collaborate with greater efficiency to maintain customer expectations. These requirements are coming from both within and outside of service departments.
Build it Yourself vs. Out-of-the-Box
One of the lessons learned from today’s dynamic conditions is the importance of working with experienced solution providers versus a “do it yourself” approach. Organizations seeking to develop expertise in-house often can’t keep up with the demands for enhancements and are not able to draw from industry best practices.
“Delayed technology decisions, one-off fixes, and slow rollouts are no longer sustainable. Competition for service wallet share requires dynamism and a shared view of the customer life cycle informed by integrated enterprise applications.” IDC Analyst Connection, sponsored by ServiceMax, Don’t Let Your Service Platform Limit Your Innovation, doc #US49751322, October 2022.
Stated differently, when delivering remote services to customers, the quality of the service experience elevates in importance. This experience has become a center point of how solution providers are assessed by end users. A poor experience will no longer be tolerated given that the level of competition has increased.
Remote Servicing Has No Boundaries
A quiet revolution has accompanied the explosion of remotely delivered services. No longer must vendors be geographically located adjacent to their customers. The global economy has made it possible to operate nearly anywhere, provided sufficient internet connectivity exists and a war isn’t going on in your backyard.
With this geographic constraint lifted, the possibilities for market expansion—and competitive pressure—is almost infinite. Any service advantage delivered remotely and consistently can result in new growth opportunities. Similarly, competitive threats can come from anywhere at any time. The pressure to innovate and remain obsessed with customer satisfaction is critical.
This reality helps to explain why investment in service platforms has grown significantly over the past year. According to one market research firm, the market for packaged Field Service Management cloud subscriptions, software licenses and maintenance was $3.5 billion in 2021. This reflects an increase of just under 20 percent from the prior year. Organizations recognize the need for service excellence and are investing accordingly.
A World of Increasing Complexity
Technologies that enable a service organization to operate and solve challenges have become even more complex. Technician training requirements have escalated. The Great Resignation and aging of the workforce have only put further pressure on how to ensure staffing requirements for field technicians are maintained.
Not only has the complexity of industrial machinery and other field assets increased, so too have the collaboration requirements to efficiently perform field services. Organizations must look beyond a singular business case when evaluating future Field Service Management solutions. This selection process is critical as part of a broader enterprise digital transformation strategy – both near and longer term.
“Too often, service has been left out of the enterprise digital strategy. Either IT is pushing a technology or a custom-built application with limited business input or service-specific technologies are implemented outside of IT oversight. Both approaches impede innovation. As the value of asset data, service insights, and customer interaction history becomes more relevant to a broader set of business functions such as engineering, design, quality, supply chain, marketing, and sales, the service organization needs to become more of an integrated part of an enterprise DX approach.” IDC Analyst Connection, sponsored by ServiceMax, Don’t Let Your Service Platform Limit Your Innovation, doc #US49751322, October 2022.
It should come as no surprise that the importance of having an ecosystem of business and technology partners has increased. The growth in complexity to deliver best-in-class services requires seamless access to a broader set of subject matter experts. These resources need to be readily available to provide guidance and expertise on demand. Innovation can accelerate as new challenges are experienced by a larger group of participants actively involved in performing service delivery.
Looking to the Future
Digital transformation continues to be further entrenched in how business gets done. The digital divide continues to expand into a chasm separating out organizations focused on becoming a digital-first enterprise.
Organizations need to focus on driving digital investment across the entire customer experience—including field service delivery. Implementing complete solutions designed to capture all the relevant data will play a critical role in future digital strategies. Service and product innovation will be a direct beneficiary to this process.
A more complete view of every asset’s lifecycle and corresponding data can deliver new benefits that drive innovation. Those organizations committed to this innovation cycle will continue to reap the rewards for this forward thinking, further differentiating these companies from the rest.
Read the complete IDC Analyst Connection, with interview questions and answers on this topic here: Don’t Let Your Service Platform Limit Your Innovation.