SANTA CLARA, CA – November 3, 2010 – At ServiceMax, we’re shifting field service from afterthought to business opportunity by taking a new approach with cloud-based tools that help organizations reinvent the way they manage all components of post-sales service. We’re ushering in a new era of field service that’s more about increasing revenue and delighting customers than cutting corners, and we constantly strive to understand the fundamentals of what people are already doing.
To get to the heart of the matter, we surveyed more than 300 industry professionals from communications, high-tech, medical, equipment manufacturing, utilities, and other sectors. Respondents were from small organizations (56%) — less than 500 employees, and large companies that provide post-sales services themselves or through a third party provider for on-site service, parts replacement, return material authorization (RMA), repair and telephone support.
We wanted to know: What do they think of cloud computing? How do they schedule service calls? And, how do they manage parts? Here’s what we found: the majority of managers use homegrown solutions to access and manage critical customer and logistics data, which underscores the immense opportunity to transform their field service by rethinking the tools they use and their overall approach to service:
Cloud Computing/Social Media
30% of those surveyed use cloud computing to bolster their field service operations, and 36% are using social networking tools.
Old vs. New
For overall field service management, 17% use a complete, end-to-end suite of solutions dedicated to handling post-sales service across all operational areas. 45% use various solutions for each operational area, while 21% use a mix of clipboards, spreadsheets and mobile phones, and 16% use their ERP solution to manage field service.
To manage scheduling and dispatch, nearly one third (31%) have developed homegrown tools and others (17%) use a mix of informal (and often disjointed) tools such as clipboards and spreadsheets. At the same time, 12% of those surveyed use partners for their field service and only 17% are using automated workforce optimization.
Forward and backward RMA and depot report parts logistics are managed with a variety of solutions: 27% use the ERP system, 20% use spreadsheets, 8% use a point solution, while 19% have integrated this process with other field service operations.
Sharing Customer Data
An astounding 54% still rely on email and phone calls to share critical customer, parts and work order information with partners, while 24% use a Web portal to automate the sharing process and 7% create reports on a weekly or monthly basis.
A substantial 42% said that they have real-time access to customer entitlements and other installed base information; an additional 27% have real-time access to the same information, though not at the parts level.
“The survey confirmed what we’d suspected — the field service industry is primed for a transformation,” said Dave Yarnold, CEO of ServiceMax. “There’s a huge opportunity for organizations to reshape field service by embracing the efficiencies and capabilities of the cloud. With this they can increase revenues and efficiency, and create smarter service that makes customers happier. At ServiceMax, we’re opening up a new world of field service that’s scalable, customizable and portable — one that isn’t tethered to spreadsheets or pads of paper.”
ServiceMax is based in the cloud and gives service managers a centralized hub for all parts and customer logistics so that everyone — from manager to field technicians — has a complete picture of a customer’s history that they can access in real-time, allowing an organization to give the most informed service to each customer. To learn more about how ServiceMax is helping organizations such as Marlen International reinvent their field service, please visit: www.servicemax.com. To view the complete survey results, visit the results page.