A Field Service Leaders Survival Guide For Dealing with Digital TransformationSep 09, 2020
The digital revolution is taking the Field Service Industry by storm. It has created new business models and new standards of service delivery. To survive and thrive in this environment, Field Service Leaders needs to have clear vision for the future. Michael Blumberg, CEO of Blumberg Advisory Group, provides his insight and perspective in this blog post.
It seems that there is no escaping the Digital Transformation Revolution in Field Service at this moment. A splendid example of this is the Servitization of Manufacturing. Servitization is about the journey a company goes through as it transforms from a product centric company where service is an afterthought or necessary evil to one that generates a sizable portion of revenue from services; where service is the business. The ultimate example is a Product as a Service business. This is sort of the razor and razor blade scenario where the manufacturer gives away the razor in exchange for the recurring revenue stream that comes from purchasing the razor blades. Instead of razor blades, it services or more specifically, outcome-based services. For example, paying for the usage or result (e.g., outcome) produced by a product instead of buying the actual product. To deliver on the promise, the provider of this outcome most implement a broad array of digital technologies to ensure the equipment is up and running whenever the customer needs to access it. Downtime is problematic so you need to have technologies like IoT, AI, AR, etc. to ensure this high uptime.
In parallel to the servitization trend is the general ethos that businesses need to disrupt or be disrupted. Uber has become the poster child for disruption. This has lead many Field Service Organizations, software vendors, and technology providers to promote the concept of “Uberization” within field service. Let’s put the term Uberization into context, when I hear the term Uberization, I think of providing customers with real-time, on-demand, always on, always connected solution. Other terms that people associate with Uberization are agility and frictionless. Agility is the ability to scale quickly, frictionless is where touch points that would delay the time it takes to complete a transaction are eliminated. We might also think of a solution that incorporate aspects of the sharing economy or gig economy.
The Field Service Industry is far from being a laggard when it comes to Uberization. Examples of how Field Service Organizations (FSOs) are achieving this outcome include but are not limited to:
- Utilizing IoT to monitor equipment performance and send notifications and alerts about the condition and performance of the machine
- Leveraging Artificial Intelligence to interpret these notifications, identify and diagnose problems, and take corrective actions
- Transmitting dispatch orders, triggered by IoT alerts, electronically to an ERP or CRM system and using Dynamic Scheduling software functionality to assign the right person for the job based on the needs of the job
- Turning to a freelance management system platform to source and dispatch freelance technicians on-demand to scale to capacity during peak periods
- Using Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, or Mixed Reality to provide less experienced field engineers with expertise they need to resolve technical problems they haven’t encountered before
- Relying on Big Data and analytics to optimize resource planning and allocation issues.
If FSOs are going to remain relevant and create value for their customers, their leaders must adapt and grow within the context of the trends identified above. This motivation is required now more than ever. Technological development and new business models are coming at such as rapid pace that leaders can't afford to rest on their laurels or past successes of their company. Past success does not guarantee future results!
In this digital age, companies must be faster, stronger and better than their competitors. A 5-year strategy is typically out of date within 18 months or less. To survive and thrive, Field Service Leaders must have a crystal-clear vision about the outcomes they’d like to achieve within their organizations. They must pursue these outcomes with laser like focus and adapt a sense of urgency about achieving these results.
Accountability to the mission is critical as is mindset of certainty and a spirit of resourcefulness. Quite often, the greatest of strategies and best of intentions are not pursued because a lack of certainty or a perceived lack of resources. The truth is that those who overcome enormous challenges and achieve phenomenal results have done so because of their determination (i.e., certainty) and their resourcefulness. Cultivate these traits and the possibilities are endless.
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