A Blog Series Examining the Gartner® report “The Six Most Critical Functions of Field Service Management Applications”
The First and Second FSM Functional Categories: Demand Management & Work Planning
Recently Gartner published a thought leadership report entitled The Six Most Critical Functions of Field Service Management Applications, authored by Sr. Director Analyst Jim Robinson. The research examines the most beneficial capabilities of Field Service Management (FSM) technology. Since adoption of FSM software is accelerating across industries—with the number of organizations owning an FSM solution with embedded mobile technology predicted by Gartner to grow from 40% to over 75% by 2025—this report provides a helpful blueprint for service executives who are tasked with mapping out the future vision for their organization’s technology infrastructure.
This timely research from Gartner also highlights the critical role FSM technology plays in helping service organizations offset significant challenges today. In fact, in our State of Service 2023 global report the top five challenges facing service organizations today can all be overcome by selecting the right field service vendor and the right mix of the six digital capabilities highlighted by Gartner. These top pressures include:
- The struggle to meet customer SLA’s
- Lack of skilled workers
- Change management and user adoption
- Insufficient or outdated FSM systems
- Desire to create as-a-service offerings
For IT application leaders advising service executives on field service management solution investments, Gartner’s research acts as a buyer’s guide by outlining potential benefits of each functional category and the most optimal way to derive the greatest ROI. By understanding all the various types of field service applications available, application leaders will be better prepared to select the best software vendor to support their service organization’s digital transformation.
While Gartner recognizes that some service organizations may need to implement multiple solutions to adopt all six functional capabilities, IFS customers can access all critical functions from a single solution: IFS Service Management. With employees such as back-office staff, dispatchers, field engineers and service managers all needing regular access to FSM solutions, we believe this report outlines the best ways to plan integrations so that users can avoid switching between the hundreds of screens that can exist across multiple systems.
In their most recent evaluation of field service software vendors, the 2022 Gartner® Magic Quadrant™ for Field Service Management recommends that companies performing complex service consider adopting end-to-end FSM applications like the IFS Cloud platform which offer additional functionality to manage warranty and claims management, depot repair, reverse logistics and more.
This blog series explores the full breadth of the Gartner research, examining the role of each critical function within the service continuum and showcasing real-world examples of how IFS technology enables these capabilities for some of the world’s leading service brands.
Gartner’s six Most Critical FSM Functions
|1. Demand Management||2. Work Planning||3. Technician Enablement (mobile)||4. Work Order Debrief (mobile)||5. Operations||6. Analytics & Integration|
Field Service Software ROI Shortfalls
Although many companies already have some field service applications in place, these solutions are often under-utilized causing them to achieve only some of the potential revenue, cost-savings and customer retention benefits. According to Gartner:
|In 2025, two-thirds of organizations with more than 50 field technicians will own more than one field service solution but will miss one quarter of the potential efficiency gains due to incomplete integration or deployment.|
By comparing the six critical functions detailed in the report with the performance of existing field service applications, organizations can determine how well their service infrastructure is working. This comparison is a useful exercise to identify efficiency deficits. It also allows you to quantify the positive return on investment if you choose to implement a more comprehensive solution that delivers all six critical functions.
Let’s begin our series by taking a detailed look at the first two critical FSM functions outlined by Gartner.
Critical Functions 1 & 2
A lot of activity occurs before field service work begins. Triggering events include customer requests for service, equipment failures in the field (detected remotely via connected assets or onsite by technicians), regular planned or preventative maintenance, and other long-cycle project work from internal teams.
Two of the six critical FSM functions support these activities: Demand Management and Work Planning.
1. Demand Management
This function focuses on two essential areas: the customer experience (CX) and proactive planning for the work ahead. With IFS, organizations easily deliver on both.
The IFS Omnichannel Contact Center application provides an efficient platform that extends across phone, email, chat, and social messaging. Self-service options powered by artificial intelligence place each customer firmly in control of their experience.
With customers empowered to serve themselves, call volumes decline, and agents can focus on higher-value work. Detailed analytics, including pre-and post-call customer feedback, allow you to continually refine and improve interactions.
IFS Technology in Action
Since the greatest benefit that organizations can derive from adopting new FSM tools is the ability to deliver a better customer experience as outlined in our State of Service 2023 survey results, the criticality of the Demand Management function cannot be underestimated.
IFS Workforce Scheduling and Planning supports all activities needed to properly scope a service request. For example, access to existing information such as customer preferences and escalation plans, IoT integration and orchestration for real-time validation of conditions in the field, determining required parts and skills, and other proactive planning to ensure each service call completes quickly and successfully the first time.
2. Work Planning
This critical function is paramount for service organizations, allowing companies to optimize efficiencies across all areas of the operation. Strong work planning capabilities at this early stage of the engagement support accurate forecasting, scheduling and route optimization, purchasing requisitions and change orders, and ongoing interactions with customers and other stakeholders.
With IFS Workforce Scheduling and Planning, our customers efficiently manage all of these moving pieces. Schedules are optimized, combining new service calls with planned maintenance to increase technician productivity.
Leveraging artificial intelligence and machine learning, proprietary algorithms are executed in milliseconds to continuously analyze real-time events, factoring in the type of job, location, current traffic conditions, technician details (availability, skills, etc.), and access to required parts and tools.
Dispatchers respond to changes in real time. For example, if a technician completes a job sooner than anticipated, the scheduling engine dynamically shifts the timeline, incorporating additional jobs if possible.
IFS also supports longer-term capacity planning, especially relevant for inventory and parts management, ensuring adequate resources and capacities meet SLAs and other obligations. With the IFS What-If Scenario Explorer (WISE), you can easily scope and consider different options to help inform these critical business decisions.
|Cubic Transportation, a producer of public transit fare reading and payment systems for the transportation industry, relies on IFS for real-time scheduling and much-needed visibility of what’s happening in the field. Read more.|
While the potential efficiency gains from adopting scheduling optimization can be significant, selecting a tool that cannot scale to support global operations will ultimately hold a company back. The IFS scheduling optimization solution is noted by Gartner in the FSM Magic Quadrant as having not only breadth and depth, but also the scalability to support tens of thousands of field technicians.
To discover all the insights and best practices for maximizing your organization’s ROI benefits from field service management applications, download the Gartner report “The Six Most Critical FSM Functions”.
Stay tuned for the second article in our blog series where we’ll examine critical functions three and four: Technician Enablement (mobile) and Work Order Debrief (mobile).
Do you have questions or comments?
We’d love to hear them so please leave us a message below.