The Customer Service Journal

Volume 5 July 2019

ISSN: 2374-9296

Knowledge for the world of customer service & support

Field Service Software

Integrators

Conferences

Consultants

Introduction

The Field Service software market has been evolving over the last 5 to 10 years.   With the introduction and adoption of the cloud, companies are no longer restricted in its search for on premise Field Service software that will meet its needs.  Mobility and the BYOD (bring your own device) has provided greater connectivity with the Field Service Engineer and offers new capabilities that were not available when the Dispatch Center was the focal point for capturing Field Service activity.  Now with IoT (Internet of Things) there is the capability to connect the customer's products directly with the Customer Support organization enabling not only faster response times for remedial issues, but also providing the capability to become more proactive in preventing product outages.   The concept of Service Life-cycle Management is now a reality moving us beyond the break-fix support approach to focusing on customer outcomes, reinforcing service as a key differentiator in customer buying decisions.

 

We have a considerable large number of software vendors to choose from that offer solutions from small to large enterprise service operations.  They are not all equal.  Many have different features/functionality that require the buyer to carefully consider which solution to adopt for their operational needs.

 

We have decided to divide these vendors into two primary groups -  those vendors that focus on large enterprises and those that are primarily focused on the SMB market.   This is not to say that there are vendors that do not cross both of these realms.   ServiceMax, for example, has a very scalable offering that can be successfully implemented for both large enterprises and smaller service organizations.

 

Our Criteria for Profiling Vendors

We have found a number of vendors who characterize their products as Field Service solutions.  However, some of these products are really focused on fleet vehicles and other mobile internal assets.   There are also products like Maximo which provides a solution for managing the support of stationary assets such as real estate.  So we have established a  starting set of criteria for selecting the vendors that we will profile:

  • Capability to manage a request for service from opening to closure that can be characterized as remedial, preventive, reliability centered, or product installation or upgrade
  • Capability to identify the product/device that is the target of the request
  • Acknowledging customer entitlements in defining the service level of the request
  • Scheduling and assigning a service technician to perform the service (same day, weekly, or longer term) based on availability, skills, geography, and service level agreement
  • Capability to transmit the request to the field service technician and receive updates by telephone or over the Internet by a connected mobile device.

The above are in essence minimal requirements.  Fully robust solutions will include many of the following capabilities:

  • Entitlements and contract management
  • Service parts management including RMAs
  • Management of customer installed base knowledge
  • Enhanced service billing via mobility
  • Coordination of the field engineer's ETA and the availability of the service parts needed
  • Proactive monitoring of the status of the service request.

In this issue we have selected the first 6 field service solutions that with a few exceptions are primarily focused on the enterprise   We will be adding additional vendors in upcoming issues.

Built on the Salesforce platform, ServiceMax has experienced as much as 100% growth year over year.  It offers a compelling and comprehensive set of functionality that includes a strong mobility platform.  It's recently announced partnership with PTC has enabled it to offer true connectivity between customer products and the ServiceMax platform.  It continues to expand its partnership with Tier 1 and Tier 2 service providers for implementation.

Oracle Siebel is in essence the Siebel application suite that was acquired in 2005.  Oracle Siebel includes: Appointment Booking & Scheduling, Entitlement and Contract Management, Mobile Field Service, Asset management, inventory and parts management, and repair management.

The E-Business Suite (EBS) for field service is  composed of an integrated set of modules that include; technician portal, inventory, service contracts, and project costing and billing.  With the acquisition of TOA Technologies in 2014 Oracle offers a strong mobile capability for field service which has been integrated into its cloud offering.

Astea was founded in 1979 and has always focused on end-to-end field service capabilities and continues evolve its functionality and offerings.   Astea is well suited for both large enterprises and the SMB market.   It has two main product lines; Astea Alliance for enterprises, and ServiceVision for the SMB market.

SAP

SAP Offers a comprehensive end-to-end solution for field service management.  It is highly suited for large enterprises that have SAP installed and want a single software provider.  Given its global foot print as a leading ERP provider, SAP is considered one of the larger CRM and Field Service software providers.

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