The results of Strategies For GrowthSM‘s (SFGSM) 2019 Field Service Management (FSM) Tracking Survey reveal a healthy – and expanding – global services market that appears to have clearly rebounded from the economic downturns and upheavals experienced over the previous 10 years or so (i.e., since the 2008 economic bust). In fact, the global FSM market is now poised to make significant strides forward in terms of growth, technology adoption and the integration of those technologies into existing (and improved) services operating plans and processes.
However, there are still many obstacles along the way, and those Field Services Organizations (FSOs) that are not prepared to adapt to the “new” way of running a services operation will be ill-prepared to compete on a head-to-head basis with those that are. For example, the top future challenges cited by survey respondents as likely having the greatest impact on their ability to acquire and/or integrate new technologies into their existing field service operations may be summarized as follows:
- 43% Return-on-Investment (ROI) on the acquisition of new technology
- 34% Identifying all of the required functionality for the organization
- 30% Cost of new technology
- 28% Potential disruption from new technology implementation and burn-in
- 27% Obtaining management “buy-in” for new technology acquisition
Other challenges, such as selecting the most effective FSM solution (19%) and integrating new technologies into existing FSM solution platforms (16%) are also cited as rounding out the top challenges facing the global FSO base.
The good news is that there are also significant and distinct opportunities, or benefits, that can be realized by FSOs, regardless of type, size or coverage, through the acquisition and integration of these new technologies. For many FSOs, these may include:
- 39% Ability to run a more efficient field service operation by eliminating silos, etc.
- 37% Improving customer satisfaction
- 36% Ability to provide customers with an end-to-end engagement relationship
- 27% Establishing (or strengthening) a competitive advantage
- 27% Improving field technician utilization and productivity
- 25% Reducing Total Cost of Operations (TCO)
But these opportunities and benefits do not automatically produce themselves – there needs to be a formal plan for attaining these goals, and many of the leading FSOs already seem to know how to go about making it happen.
The 2019 survey results also reveal that more than two-thirds (71%) of global FSOs currently run their services operations as profit centers, rather than as cost centers. This percent represents an increase from roughly 66% only three years earlier, but more than 10 percentage points above roughly a decade ago. In fact, the percent increases to 74% for those FSOs attaining 90% or greater customer satisfaction, and up to 81% for Best Practices FSOs that also achieve 30% or greater services profitability.
As we move through the uncharted waters of 2019, 2020 and beyond, the future state of the global Field Service Management (FSM) market will depend largely on which strategic actions FSOs plan to take in the ensuing 12 months or so. Since these actions will be directly linked to the multitude of drivers that are most likely to influence decision making within the global services community, this would be an excellent place to start!
The 2019 survey results reveal that the top drivers cited as being most influential on the future success of FSOs may be categorized into three main areas:
- Need to improve service workforce utilization, productivity and process efficiencies
- Meeting (or exceeding) customer demand for quicker response and improved asset availability
- Internal mandate to drive increased service profitability and revenues
However, once the key market drivers are firmly identified, FSOs need to create – and implement – the most effective strategic planning actions to address them head-on. As identified in SFGSM‘s 2019 survey, the most commonly implemented strategic actions, currently, are:
- 47% Develop and/or improve KPIs used to measure field service performance
- 43% Invest in mobile tools to support field technicians
- 38% Automate existing manual field service processes and activities
- 34% Integrate new technologies into existing field service operations
The question then arises: What can your FSO realize from aggressively addressing each of these challenges and opportunities head-on, recognizing the key market drivers, and taking the strategic (and tactical) actions to take the organization to the next level?
The answer is simple! The average FSO is currently attaining 37% services profitability and 84% customer satisfaction (although 26% are not even attaining 20% profitability, and 20% are not attaining 80% satisfaction). Therefore, while the opportunity is there, not all FSOs have their operations in order to aspire to the next levels of Best Practices.
So, … if your organization is not currently attaining desired levels of profitability and satisfaction – or even worse, finds itself among those not even attaining lower levels of performance – now would be the perfect time to consider acquiring a Field Service Management (FSM) (or a Connected Field Service, or CFS) solution that can help it to attain these loftier levels, without losing any more ground to the industry leaders who have already taken the appropriate actions.
[BTW – Have you already taken SFG℠‘s 2019 Servitization Journey Benchmark Survey? If yes, then, thank you! If no, please accept our invitation to take the survey by clicking on the following Weblink: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/SFGServ19. Thanks!]