How is the field service industry shaping up in 2018?

Last year, we looked at the key trends shaping the field service industry in 2017. But how have we moved on over the past 12 months? And what should you be looking at now if you want to modernise your IT solution to keep up with advances in digital technology?

  1. Digital Transformation

Digital transformation is a hot topic. Not least because, if you want to ensure the long-term success of your business, being able to operate and compete is not an option. And, to do that, you need to be tech-enabled.

However, in 2018 there is a growing awareness that to create an effective digital transformation strategy, you need to create a strategic technology roadmap and business case. And, that, rather than making this IT-centric, this must focus on the long-term benefits of investment (e.g. keeping engineers in the field, saving time between jobs, etc.). Not to mention the risks of doing nothing.

  1. Customer experience

Customer experience (CX) is becoming increasingly important in 2018. But meeting evolving customer expectations remains a challenge for many service driven companies. Here again, investing in the cloud can help.

Today’s technology is an enabler that has put the customer at the very heart of their interactions with your service-led business. What’s more, because of the benefits it provides, the cloud leads to happier customers. And that can only ever be a good thing.

  1. Automation

Last year we discussed how IIoT enabled functionality was shaking up the industry. And, in 2018, powered by cloud technology, the IIoT is making automation easier than ever before.

By using cloud software to perform mundane and repetitive tasks, your processes are simplified, standardised, and streamlined. This helps to reduce the time your employees spend on paperwork while ensuring regulatory compliance. For example, engineers can fill in automated forms using any mobile device, with protocols established that require all fields to be submitted.  Because this data automatically syncs with your back office systems, in real-time, there is no need for your support staff to duplicate this information into another system.

With businesses in the UK and US wasting £8.15bn a year by using different tools to manage similar services across their organisations, the impact of automation on your bottom line cannot be underestimated[1].

  1. Artificial Intelligence

In 2017, we looked at how imminent developments in AI were expected to take automation and customer service to a whole new level. And, just a few months later this is undoubtedly the case.

Machine learning and artificial intelligence are already propelling advancements in service management software. Using more intelligent technology able to accomplish more intelligent tasks.

As we move into a new industrial age, one where technology is set to revolutionise the world as we know it, it’s those service-led businesses that know how best to use AI and people together that are set to succeed.

  1. Predictive Service

Keeping your customers’ machines and equipment up and running is vital. This is true whether we are talking about industrial systems or office-based tools such as photocopiers and computers.

With growing demand for better quality service and less equipment downtime, predictive service is becoming a benchmark of quality in the field service industry. So, instead of fixing things when they break, companies must be able to fix them beforehand.

However, planned maintenance can be both complex and time-consuming without the right tools. So it’s no wonder some companies are still using a reactive approach when it comes looking after their maintenance contracts. However, in 2018, more and more organisations are investing in PPM modules to reduce the burden.

  1. Mobility

Mobility was a key trend in 2017, and it is still one in 2018. Mobile tech is revolutionising the UK’s workplaces. Helping businesses to streamline productivity and become more efficient, the latest mobile software is transforming the way services are managed and delivered.

In response, mobile has become a crucial part of most IT strategies, as savvy businesses look for new ways to leverage mobile devices and software and improve their operations.

According to research, the mobile worker population is set to reach 1.3 billion – that’s 37.2% of the workforce[2]. So, it’s no wonder that the level of demand for mobile-enabling tech shows no signs of slowing down, with more and more companies using tools such as smartphones, wearables and apps.

SaaS solutions that remove the need for mobile workers to come into the office to share business-critical information are very much in demand.

  1. SaaS

In 2018, everybody’s looking to the cloud and the preference for software as a service (SaaS) over on premise solutions is showing no signs of slowing down.

And it’s no wonder as, when it comes to digital transformation, SaaS is one of the most potent enablers available. Employees get the technology they need to work more efficiently, customers benefit from unparalleled levels of service, and businesses become more agile and more competitive.

  1. Security

In 2018, security remains a crucial concern as most businesses look to protect against future cyberattacks. Here again, the cloud can help.

With cloud-based service management software, you can appoint an ISO27001 certified and trustworthy provider, committed to safeguarding your data.

  1. Data

We’ve been talking about how big data can help deliver more sophisticated customer experiences for years now. And, in 2018, more and more businesses are becoming data-enabled. However, for many companies, data collection is still done using outdated (and often prohibited) processes.

Under the GDPR, the financial penalties for non-compliance can be as high as €20 million or 4% of annual revenue. And, with security breaches becoming an all too familiar news story, the damage to your reputation following a data breach could be even higher.

Finding ways to balance this need for customer data while maintaining compliance is going to be a key challenge throughout the rest of 2018 and beyond.

  1. ROI 

Spending wisely and achieving ROI never stops being important. Cloud-based service management software can make a positive difference to your business. And, as well as helping you to streamline a broad range of tasks, from scheduling engineers, tracking jobs, managing contracts, invoicing and more, it has also become the smart financial choice.

Implemented at a fraction of the price of an on premise solution, with no large-scale investment in licenses or infrastructure required, SaaS is now the answer of choice for cost-savvy businesses. Once up and running, SaaS also helps to create a more stable cash flow, with services provided on a pay-as-you-go pricing model; so you never get any nasty surprises.

But it’s not just about saving you money, cloud-based service management software also helps to make your employees – and therefore your business – more productive. Reducing instances of duplication and human error while improving collaboration, SaaS helps everyone to work smarter.

Contact us for more information on how our software can keep you ahead of the curve, boost your business and your bottom line.

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[1] http://www.cbronline.com

[2] IDC