Investment in Digital Tools & Field Service Management is Now a Board Level Priority

New research finds zero unplanned downtime is reaching a tipping point

LONDON, U.K., 19 October 2017 – The costs, causes and repercussions of unplanned downtime are triggering investment in digital tools and field service management, according to a new Vanson Bourne global study, sponsored by ServiceMax, from GE Digital, the leading provider of field service management solutions

The study found:

  • 82% of companies have experienced at least one unplanned downtime outage over the past three years (the average being two). These outages lasted an average of four hours.
  • Based on Aberdeen’s calculations, downtime costs $260,000 an hour across all businesses – two episodes of downtime lasting four hours each equates to more than $2 million
  • 70% of companies or more lack full awareness of when their equipment is due for maintenance, upgrade or replacement.
  • 65% of respondents from the energy and utilities sector, and 62% from the medical sector, cited losing customers’ trust as a possible impact of suffering a high-profile incident or disaster.

The new study, “After The Fall: Cost, Causes and Consequences of Unplanned Downtime,” surveyed 450 field service and IT decision makers in the UK, US, France and Germany across the manufacturing, medical, oil and gas, energy and utilities, telecoms, distribution, logistics and transport sectors, among others. The study finds that production and productivity, IT, and customer service are hit hardest by unplanned downtime, with damaging repercussions for businesses as a whole.

The study further reveals the extent to which businesses are investing in digital tools and field service management solutions:

  • 8 in 10 companies recognize that digital tools can eliminate unplanned downtime, and zero unplanned downtime is now the number one or high priority for 72% of organizations surveyed.
  • 60% of organizations confirm that digital transformation is a high or number one board level priority, and 56% report the same for innovation.

Forty-five percent of respondents say that a digital twin with predictive maintenance would help prevent major failures, and 54% are planning to invest in a digital twin by 2020. Likewise, field service management is expected to become a primary revenue driver within the next two years, on average.

“As the world has become more reliant on machines, we’ve seen a widening gap in asset efficiency awareness that’s historically gone largely unnoticed,” said Mark Homer, Vice President Global Customer Transformation for ServiceMax, from GE Digital. “This fractured insight is unnecessarily lengthening recovery time, but the research hints at a tipping point in recognition of the problem and planned investment to address it. In the same way field service management solutions moved from being reactive to proactive to preventative, we are seeing a similar shift in attitudes to unplanned downtime from recovery to protection to pre-emptive. Over time, zero tolerance and zero unplanned downtime will become the norm as companies develop and invest in their industrial digital strategies.”

A copy of the Vanson Bourne Whitepaper, Executive Summary and Infographics, can be downloaded here

About ServiceMax

ServiceMax, from GE Digital, leads the global industry of field service management software – an estimated $25 billion market worldwide. The company creates solutions for the 20 million people globally who install, maintain, and repair machines across dozens of industries as the leading provider of complete end-to-end mobile and cloud-based technology for the sector.

About Vanson Bourne:

Vanson Bourne is an independent specialist in market research for the technology sector. Their reputation for robust and credible research-based analysis is founded upon rigorous research principles and their ability to seek the opinions of senior decision makers across technical and business functions, in all business sectors and all major markets. For more information, visit

Media Enquiries:

Vanessa Land
Devonshire Marketing
+44 7768 693779