January 2013 - The Service Council

The Service Community Sees More Consolidation (ServicePower acquires Stratix Corporation)

By John Carroll | News | No Comments

The announcement that ServicePower Technologies Plc (AIM: SVR) has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Stratix Corporation’s Software Division and its Field Service Mobile software shouldn’t come as a surprise. ServicePower has been on an aggressive acquisition and strategic partnership (reference Bella Solutions – Software License Agreement with ServicePower Technologies PLC) path over the last year. On the surface, the acquisition makes a lot of sense given the existence of shared customers (e.g. ADT), non-overlapping technology and similar market focus. I’m curious to hear the viewpoint from their customers.

While I suspect that from a go-to-market point of view, ServicePower’s focus will continue to be placed on enterprise companies that represent industries and market segments that employ field environments with complex scheduling requirements (a finite set of targets), it also leads me to believe that ServicePower may be placing its bet on the small market (an infinite set of targets).

ServicePower CEO, Mark Duffin had this to say:

“We can also offer third party contractors within the ServiceOperations or ServiceMarket portions of the field management platform the same sort of mobile connectivity and functionality that was typically only available to direct employees. Clients benefit from the same real time job status information from third party contractors, enabling them to keep their consumers and retailer customers engaged and update to date.”

Secondly, the decision by Stratix to divest its software division further strengthens the viewpoint that global service organizations are looking for a technology partner who can offer a single source solution (reference PTC Goes After the Global SLM Market in a Big Way – Acquires Servigistics). The market has witnessed quite a bit of consolidation which supports this requirement from global service organizations. Stratix historically has been considered a point solution without the functionality of the full service management platform. This would appear to strengthen ServicePower’s position from this point of view.

Over the coming months, The Service Council will be speaking with many of ServicePower’s customers to gather their viewpoint which includes executives from USAA, Farmers Insurance, Pitney Bowes, Assurant Solutions, Squaretrade among many others. Stay tuned.

Field Service Organizations Are Investing for the Long Run

By John Carroll | Perspective | One Comment

For many field services organizations, the tools and processes they use to support their assets in the field (i.e., field technicians and the equipment they support) have remained fairly constant for far too long while their customers’ needs and expectations have only intensified.

However, while technologies and devices may have evolved significantly in recent years, what has not changed is the continuing reliance on the basic tools and processes that services organizations require to support their customers and their respective assets in the field. Things like service metrics, or Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), planning and forecasting, training, automation and increased customer involvement are all elements of service that, if grown effectively, can provide services organizations with everything they need to get the job done, all while reducing internal costs, generating higher levels of service revenue and profits, and keeping their customers both satisfied and loyal.

The results of The Service Council™’s Field Service Benchmark Survey confirm both the importance and application of these key elements by identifying the following as the top current and planned strategic actions being undertaken by a majority of Field Service Organizations (FSOs) with respect to improving their service performance:

  • 82% Improving the metrics, or KPIs, they use to measure field service performance
  • 72% Investing in mobile tools to provide real-time access to required data and information in the field
  • 67% Integrating new technologies into existing field service operations
  • 62% Improving planning- and forecasting-related activities with respect to field service activity
  • 61% Providing additional training to field service technicians and/or dispatchers
  • 56% Automating existing manual field service processes or activities
  • 52% Increasing customer involvement in the field service process via web-enabled self-help (e.g., call initiation and scheduling, visibility into call status, etc.)

Based on these data, it appears clear that the global Field Service community recognizes that despite the proliferation of new supporting technologies and devices, it is still pretty much back to the basics with respect to running a successful – and profitable – field service organization.

[For more information on this topic, be sure to check out our column on the inside back page of the February 2013 issue of Field Technologies magazine.]
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