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Investing in the field-service cloud in the digital-transformation age

Sept. 30, 2020

Field service has shifted from being seen as a cost center to a true revenue-generating component of the wider business.

ServiceMax's Athani Krishna

Reflecting on my years in field service since founding ServiceMax, cloud has been one of the biggest evolutions to shake up the market. Back in 2007 when cloud was just emerging and for the next five or so years, most organizations were only looking at on-premise solutions and could not contemplate an alternative.

There were a lot of questions over security and infrastructure, especially considering the vast amount of proprietary know-how companies had. There was certainly hesitation about the cloud.

Ten years into that journey, cloud became mainstream—nothing disastrous had happened and the efficiencies and value being derived allowed service operators to focus on their business, rather than working in their business, enabling the delivery of a better experience and service to their customers.

Fast forward to today and the question for industrial companies and enterprises looking at software deployment would be...Why not in the cloud?

The second major transition in field service over this time has been the shift from the department being seen as merely a cost center to becoming a true revenue-generating component of the wider business. This differentiates service organizations. So, we now see companies prioritizing investment in a modern, cloud software infrastructure in field service. 

CFOs and CEOs are much more in tune with why service needs this investment to modernize their infrastructure and are having the conversation about how to make techs more efficient as well as revenue generating and how to add lines of service.

These are the two main evolutionary elements I’ve seen in how thinking has changed and, with more and more companies moving to the cloud and because of the investments that have happened, the next big evolutionary thrust is harnessing and optimizing data.

Inevitably more data is now available and accessible in a much more organized, systemized fashion. A data-driven approach now drives efficiencies in the way service is managed and to proactively understand what customers need, how to transform the customer experience, and therefore better serve them.

Critically, data is further enhanced as assets become more connected and this data is being used to change the way operators look at their service paradigm, not only from their own infrastructure but across their entire service ecosystem.

This belief led me to support the approach of a combined platform / cloud field / asset management solution.

Previously field service and asset management not only operated separately but were also very rigid. As such, software was developed to address the needs as siloed categories. When you dive deeper, however, you see that the work is much more blended. When you start to look in detail at the requirements of short cycle and long cycle work, let’s say a repair callout as opposed to a maintenance contract, a customer won’t see themselves as boxed into a category when they are struggling with their challenges, so service companies need capabilities that span across the categories and address the issues. Then add in the requirements of connected products and assets, to this blended mix of field service, asset management, short cycle and long cycle work.

I am always looking at what is next. KloudGin CEO and co-founder Vikram Takru talks about ‘meeting the possibility of the future.’ This is something that resonates strongly with me; it is great to be a part of this latest stage of the evolution in field

Athani Krishna is the co-founder of ServiceMax