In response to Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Field Service Management 2012 report, field service management experts from TOA Technologies reviewed the three most important things to take away from the report.
1. Adoption of field service management continues to grow, especially in the midmarket. In this year’s report, Gartner predicted that the revenue for “packaged field service dispatch and workforce management software applications” will be $329 million by 2013 (note that this does not include service revenue).
Based on the research, it’s clear that this growth comes in part from a continued rise in interest for optimizing and automating field teams, both for cost savings and customer goodwill. This “do more with less” theme emerged in 2006 and continues to be a driver for decision-making.
As something new, these vendors are finally addressing the midmarket. It’s not only large telecoms and utilities that are able to use sophisticated solutions or the two-truck tree-trimming service downloading a basic, free app. The cloud has had a lot to do with this – it’s enabled the more sophisticated field service management solutions to be scaled to the needs of midmarket, giving these businesses the opportunity to take advantage of the sophisticated and proven technology that was previously outside of their budgets.
2. Cloud is giving field service management a makeover. Like many other technology markets, cloud-based application providers are prospering, often resulting in head to head battles with household technology names like SAP and Oracle. Many times, the cloud providers are winning.
For buyers in this market, delivery model should be a part of the evaluation process. But the question shouldn’t be: “Should we go cloud or on-premise?” Rather, the question should focus on which delivery model helps a company achieve its business goals, including speed of deployment, reduced IT overhead and easy access to software updates.
Now that the cloud myths of reliability and security are debunked, it’s time buyers evaluate this delivery model for the potential benefits it could provide for the business. Keep in mind that not all clouds are the same – some on-premise software providers have tried to create their own cloud offering. As noted in the report, “Adoption of the cloud and SaaS offerings of traditionally licensed providers is lower than expected, while adoption of pure SaaS providers is robust.”
3. Mobile and social technologies are accelerating the speed of innovation. Back in June 2012, Gartner released research covering “The Nexus of Forces” – defined as social, mobile, cloud and information. According to the firm, “Field service applications have the potential to more fully use these factors to drive greater customer intimacy, higher service levels and completely new service business models.”
As mentioned in the first two points, the power of cloud architecture is both helping field service management scale to benefit more types and sizes of organizations and impacting how buyers evaluate vendors. But, if cloud is a powerful force in this industry, mobile and social are revolutionary.
In this year’s report, it was clear that this market is, and will continue to be, very malleable to trends in mobile and social technologies, because of the on-the-road and on-the-go nature of businesses using field service management.
Mobile: Buyers should consider what has emerged as two different schools of mobile philosophies – browser-based apps (HTML5-backed) and installed apps (from some kind of app store). With cloud technology coming into its own, it’s influencing buyers to think longer and harder about how they’re going to install and then keep these solutions updated. Many are coming to the conclusion that they don’t want a whole IT team dedicated to installing and updating hundreds or thousands of devices out in the field.
Social: Consumer social media is influencing enterprise software, and cutting-edge field service management solutions are taking advantage of it. The report points to tools built into existing field service management solutions that help field users make more intelligent connections with their peers and stay better connected with the home office. This also has an influence on mobile. Gone are the days where field employees would need a laptop, a cell phone and a toughbook. They can now use one smart device for all of their communications needs.