Last week, ClickSoftware hosted its second annual user conference, ClickConnect 2016. We were joined, and inspired, by hundreds of field service professionals who traveled to San Diego from across the globe.
ClickConnect 2016 taught many lessons. We learned how the enterprise landscape is changing (and how companies are responding). And we learned how service is the key differentiator, especially in a saturated market.
Consumers drive an on-demand economy with high expectations. All companies providing field service must make meeting these demands a top priority. These trends led the conversation about mobile management as the key to driving business value.
For those unable to attend, or those considering joining us next year, take a look at some of the top takeaways from the conference:
1. Service as a differentiator
Quality and reliability are table stakes for service companies, especially when discussing commoditized products. Service proves the determining factor between a new customer win or a reduction in market share. Service organizations need to be on the cutting edge when consumers compare apples to apples—and have the resources at their fingertips.
2. A new customer: the CFO
Service companies no longer just sell their product to the end user. First the operations team needs buy-in on a new field service offering from the highest levels of the organization. This includes the chief financial officer (CFO), who holds the purse strings. When presenting field service management (FSM) tools, it's critical the C-suite understands the competition. They should know what the competition is doing, and understand the benefits of the selected solution. Education will accomplish this goal.
3. Decision making: what drives the change?
When companies invest in an FSM solution, there are lots of conversations around the change. It's a big investment, so it's important to have insight into the peripheral aspects. The one common thread throughout the conference was visibility as a catalyst for the change. You can’t manage or improve what you can’t quantify from the start. This means the conversation about FSM solutions moved away from the project delivery team and day-to-day business users. And it moved up the business ladder, to the chief executive officer and vice president level. It's more about seeing the big picture.
4. The skills gap is a generational gap
It's no secret that millennials love apps. They're the first adopters and were raised on computers. But they're also not learning engineering skills in school. Conversely, older generations of service professionals can take apart a microwave or HVAC unit and put it back together. They understand mechanics and electrical elements, but tend to resist mobile app solutions. Could cool new technology like augmented reality bridge the gap between the different skill sets of field service technicians? We’ll explore this more in the coming months.
5. Getting the most out of FSM solutions through customization
Companies that invest in a sophisticated FSM solution can reap huge cost saving and efficiency benefits. This is a large scale project. It begins with selecting the right solution, and ends with execution and training. Organizations want to gain the most value from their investment. Different companies have different needs, so there's no one-size-fits-all solution. Customization is key to getting the most out of their FSM solution.
Although we are still basking in the success from this year’s conference, we are already planning for ClickConnect 2017. We look forward to working with you throughout the year to set the agenda. And we appreciate your help in shaping the future of service.