IDC Energy Insights has released an IDC MarketScape study that provides utility companies (electricity, gas, water, etc.) with an insight into the current capabilities and future strategies of mobile field force management (MFFM) software vendors, guiding them in planning a new MFFM implementation.
IDC MarketScape: Worldwide Utilities Mobile Field Force Management Software, 2014 Vendor Assessment provides a quantitative and qualitative assessment of the characteristics that determine a vendor's current and future success in the MFFM market.
The 10 vendors evaluated in this analysis are CGI; Clevest; ClickSoftware; IFS; isMobile; Oracle; SAP; TOA Technologies; Ventyx, an ABB Company; and ViryaNet. The study shows that:
Vendors are systematically enriching their product features and functionalities. Many of them have broad capabilities and a future vision that meets and anticipates the needs of utilities.
Different types of mobile devices and different operating systems (iOS, Android, Windows Mobile, etc.) are agnostically supported by the majority of vendors, but not yet consistently supported by all of them.
Mobile applications generally support text entry of various data types, dropdown lists, dependent dropdowns (reference data), complex data validation, etc.
The majority of vendors have deployed integrations with common GIS, EAM, CRM, and ERP systems. GPS solutions and vehicle tracking systems are also integrated. However, each MFFM solution differs in the variety of vendors' applications into which it integrates, as well as the level of available off-the-shelf adaptors.
Even if utilities still seem to prefer an on-premises installation, the cloud option, specifically multitenancy, is more pervasively offered by vendors, with some of them only offering cloud as a possible delivery model.
"Mobile technologies enable innovation in the area of field worker operations, positively impacting efficiency, safety, worker empowerment, and ultimately supporting the company's business goals of operational excellence as well as the reduction of opex and environmental impact," said Roberta Bigliani, associate vice president, head of Europe, Middle East, and Africa, IDC Energy Insights. "Utilities planning to invest in a mobile field force management application should consider this study to get a first independent assessment of software providers. Company-specific business needs, or local market context needs, should also be taken into account. Utilities' individual decisions must be taken in the context of their specific organizational and process maturity, and in consideration of the IT enterprise architecture and application strategy."