Karo Kilfeather | 11.08.16
Summary >

Anyone working in field service management in 2016 is living in interesting times. With the global field service industry expected to grow to $5.11 billion by 2020, aggressively outpacing most others, there’s lots of opportunity ahead—and a lot of changes that come with it. Gartner’s 2016 report on field service management (FSM) delivers the expected analysis of market leaders, their relative positioning, and insight into this changing landscape.

Increasingly, the Magic Quadrant needs to explore emerging technologies shaping the field service management market alongside other trends and business health indicators in the evaluated companies and solutions.

This year’s report gleaned many insights around the way companies are incorporating FSM and enabling technologies, most of which we believe fall into one of three categories: improved connectivity and communication, smarter processes, and solution scalability.

Improved connectivity & communication

  • IoT enablement and work order APIs – There is so much hype around the Internet of Things, it can be a challenge to cut through the noise and determine the strategy necessary to make all these sensors and systems work together. Leading FSM solutions incorporate any and all relevant information from smart connected devices into the algorithms used to schedule and manage the execution of work.
  • Social communication is paramount for field service organizations who are focused on delivering a superior customer experience, as well as increasing efficiency. Field service leaders need to consider communication between field service professionals to help troubleshoot problems while on site at the customer and improve first time fix. Leaders also need to consider how social communication to customers can drive customer lifetime value by eliminating friction in scheduling and fulfilling customer appointments.
  • Wearables – Whether a smart watch, glasses or head-mounted camera, wearables have many practical applications for field service. While it is still early days for wearable adoption in the enterprise, leading FSM solutions have POC’s in place that will enable field service professionals to change their status via a smart watch gesture, or to leverage Augmented Reality and get instructions and schematics overlaid on equipment as they are standing in front of it.

Smarter processes

  • Predictive analytics – Predictive analytics is another weighty topic that can proliferate benefits across the service chain. From using predictive traffic to create more efficient routes, to predictive job durations to create a more accurate schedule, even leveraging data to predict when a machine will need preventative maintenance in order to prevent system failure, leading FSM solutions are enabling their customers to do all this and more.
  • GIS integration – According to Gartner, GIS integration is one of the most commonly used functions, with 45% of field service organization surveyed leveraging this function from their FSM provider. The ability to see where assets, customers, and field service professionals are in relation to each other drives significant benefits for routing, dispatching unplanned and emergency work, and for field service professionals to have visibility into where assets are on a job site, as well as other work they can be performing around their scheduled job.
  • Mobile scheduling and supervisor apps – FSM leaders understand the need for increased usability and expansion of mobility. They provide mobile solutions that are compatible with leading consumer devices, and are empowering new roles in the service organization, such as the field supervisor, with mobility. Field supervisors can now be out in the field mentoring their less experienced professionals while still keeping an eye on the rest of the team’s activities.

Solution scalability/extensibility

  • Mobile app extensibility – Of the field service organization’s surveyed by Gartner, 74% indicated they are using or plan to use the vendor’s latest mobile app within 12 months. Leading FSM solutions give their customers the ability to add new forms and workflows without the need for any coding. This gives the field service professionals the functionality they need to most effectively and efficiently do their jobs at their fingertips in real time.
  • 3rd party service provider enablement – In a recent survey conducted by The Service Council, a resounding 76% of service organizations reported using third parties for field service delivery. Couple that with the rising expectations of consumers, and you need an automated mechanism for having visibility into the jobs and capacity of your contractors. Leading FSM vendors provide service organizations with the ability to automatically manage and streamline contractor scheduling, dispatch and work completion.
  • Multi-tenant SaaS and upgrades – According to Gartner, cloud adoption among new FSM deployments has increased by over 65% from 2014, and now more than 38% are being deployed in a multitenant “public” cloud. Leading FSM vendors are no doubt leveraging the power of the cloud to offer customers seamless upgrades, reduced TCO, improved accessibility, and much more. But they are also offering their solutions on-premises for those organizations who are not yet ready to move to the cloud.

The rapid growth in the field service management space will challenge service-centric organizations to meet shifting customer expectations and fully leverage the emerging technologies and solutions available. Whether today’s market leaders can strengthen their positions depends on their ability to adapt to shifting conditions, use them to their advantage, and rise with the tide of change.

To learn more about the 2016 technology and vendor outlook on field service management, download the full report for free here.

Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.