Author:
Girish Rajwani
Country Head – IFS India, Tech Mahindra

The post-pandemic world has witnessed various business transformations arising from challenges faced by conventional business models. One of the critical challenges during the pandemic-induced lockdowns was the absence of adequate field service management (FSM) to maximize workforce productivity and asset uptime. As the need for agility and efficiency rose, it soon led to the demand for a technology-driven, end-to-end FSM solution. Its capabilities include job prioritization, route optimization, skill matching, and contract management.

Using FSM software allows proactive aftermarket services that can aid in substantial revenue growth for businesses through integrated resource management. It also offers better brand experiences to customers with real-time product tracking and communication, promoting customer retention.

Unsurprisingly, the global field service management (FSM) software market is forecasted to grow by billions in the coming 4 years, accelerating at a CAGR of 12.74% during the forecast period.

Emerging Economies Dispositioned to Leverage FSM

The FSM market is booming in the Asia-Pacific region, next only to the US. The large-scale industrialization in India is fueled by the world’s largest micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSME) pool within its boundaries. Owing to India’s rapid digital transformation, the paucity of the technician workforce is playing a significant role in the FSM growth dynamic. In such a scenario, transitioning to cloud-based scalable IT systems seems logical for the aftermarket service industry. In fact, the shift is essential as underperforming tech generally costs way more than the SME’s active investment in cloud infrastructure. Besides scalability, cloud-based systems offer remote functionality to limited technicians, allowing quicker service. The adoption curve of FSM will undoubtedly be steep in the coming years, as the reliance on the mobile field service workforce for upselling is also very high. In addition, the outlook for the aftermarket industry is promising as technology users increase in the country.

Exploring the Trends Propelling FSM Adoption

The evolution of field service software kept pace with the demand. With the proliferation of siloed software for different field service components, the idea of cohesive software encompassing all activities became appealing. However, there exist other significant trends in the global economy that have triggered a large-scale adoption of FSM. Let us briefly discuss some of them:

Servitization

Enterprises are capitalizing on the expected consumerism trend of B2B by assuring continued product performance via the product-as-a-service (PaaS) model. This is implemented through cultivating a service DNA that requires sales, marketing, engineering, design, and supply chain departments to recognize their role in service delivery. With various departments collaborating to build a cluster of services around a product, they all become a touch point for sales. The wealth of insights on customers, products, and assets collected at every layer of these business functions can empower organizations to drive predictable revenues.

Aging workforce

Evolving business models strengthen revenue streams and help build operational resilience. The same must be emulated in the case of an aging workforce that breeds the risk of losing domain expertise in the field service industry. Technology has transformed and automated many processes, but an experienced workforce is still required to supervise service delivery. To strike a balance between technology use and experience, digital aids such as augmented reality (AR) come to the rescue. These tools appeal to the expectations of newer generations for smoother onboarding while allowing experienced technicians to assist the younger cohort remotely.

IoT and digital twins

The need for digital asset management has increased owing to IoT devices' growing popularity. To be able to manage a product digitally, centralization of asset information is vital. It allows better connectivity and availability of AI-powered remote diagnostic tools in the organizational ecosystem for enhancing product performance. Furthermore, digital twins are used for better predictive analysis of products through sensors relaying real-time product health data to the enterprise.

Digital transformation

In the aftermarket service industry, digital transformation can truly be leveraged with a clear line of sight of enterprise-wide actionable data. For making better and quicker field decisions, assistive technologies such as AR, voice technology, artificial intelligence (AI), and IoT are combined to build comprehensive data stores in real time. The bidirectional insights generated from a connection between field service technicians and the enterprise help deliver a digital customer experience across channels.

Sustainable and circular economy

Service management that supports environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) goals is in demand. By reducing the service team's travel with virtual maintenance, fuel cost savings can be maximized, and workforce productivity improved. The environmental effects of reducing fuel consumption can be more pronounced with spare part return and refurbishment programs as this help minimize wastage and inculcate the habit of reuse and recycling.

Experience economy

The practice of merely executing a product sale is no longer effective in times of consumerism. Today, sales are driven by better customer engagement across phygital touchpoints that brings tangible aftermarket outcomes. Customer-focused servicing strategies are being adopted to meet and appease the ever-evolving customer expectations. More engagement means generating more data that can be used to provide greater customer satisfaction, which results in increased brand loyalty.

Moving to an Outcome-based Service Model

A customer-centric approach to digital experiences is critical for any industry’s digital transformation success. It entails delivering consistent and compliant services across the customer lifecycle to help extract higher customer lifetime value. An outcome-based model aligns the services for value maximization by embedding the service contracts in the product outcomes. This helps bridge the gap between sales and aftermarket services. Also, the culture of servitization enhances customer experience with a stream of relevant services.

Leveraging FSM helps simplify business processes, which can be streamlined further by coalescing field workforce experience and assistive technologies. This leads to improved service quality and more predictable first-time fix rates, optimizing the cost to serve. As service margins increase along with the customer’s brand perception, it leads to better overall business outcomes.

Embracing a Connected/Cross-functional Service Management Solution

The need of the hour for enterprises is to achieve service excellence – business functions must be invested in customer and operator service-based outcomes. Businesses must enhance their operational resilience by reducing time, cost, and resources while winning customers with experiential services throughout their journey. Following its DigitALL philosophy, Tech Mahindra has spearheaded comprehensive business transformations with its synergizing original equipment manufacturer (OEM) partnerships. The latest feather in its hat is receiving exclusive distributorship rights for the IFS Cloud in India.

With advanced scheduling tools from cloud providers like IFS, real-time remote service capabilities have increased phenomenally and have the potential to improve quality and proof-of-service.

Undoubtedly, the convergence of services, projects, and assets is the way forward for an ideal service management ecosystem.

About the Author

Girish Rajwani
Country Head – IFS India, Tech Mahindra

Girish is currently Country Head for IFS Sales and Marketing in the India region, and is responsible for driving the GTM strategy, sales and pre-sales and marketing of IFS Cloud Applications. With over 13 years of experience in sales and managing CXO relationships across industries, he has a successful record in achieving exponential growth for businesses.