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ClickSoftware 2020 Predictions: Expectations from the Field Service Industry

VMblog Predictions 2020 

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2020.  Read them in this 12th annual series exclusive.

By Paul Whitelam, Global Marketing SVP at ClickSoftware

2020 Expectations from the Field Service Industry

The field service industry is driven by customer expectations and they only become more challenging as on-demand services become the new norm. As 2020 approaches, we'll need to prepare and implement the right technology to efficiently and effectively meet these expectations. Take a look at the following focus areas for organizations that wish to achieve a competitive advantage in the years ahead.

Voice Capabilities

Consumers have already embraced voice assistants but providers of field service will increase their adoption of voice interfaces to boost efficiency and meet safety requirements.

Twenty states have already enacted a hand-held ban for all cell phone use. Those mobile workers who are on-the-go and need to reach their dispatcher or send an update to a customer will use speech-to-text or voice controls to conform with these laws.

Voice capabilities can also empower multitasking, collaboration, and other efficiencies such as note taking, communicating with the back offices, activating a case, accessing repair history, or searching a database - all without stepping away from the task at hand. Field service organizations willing to get ahead by investing in these voice activated tools now, will win big in the long run.

A Significant Uptick in Real-World AI Case Studies

The market is finally catching up and field service organizations are reaching new levels of AI implementation. As 2020 approaches, production deployments will validate AI's role in predictive maintenance, the future of work, and other uncharted territories within field service management. These will illustrate where AI will be most practical and valuable.

We find ourselves in a world where smart uniforms, drone deliveries, and robotic automation are becoming a reality. Sometimes the most difficult part is to determine where this new tech should be utilized. Fortunately, as knowledge around AI and other new tech increases, so does our success rate, and field service organizations will specifically look to such examples to improve their own practices.

Field service organizations need to be ready for the next big innovation. As soon as drones and other advanced technology hit critical mass, organizations must be prepared to implement and invest. When drones are deemed successful in preventing vegetation overgrowth near electric wires, and smart uniforms can offer biometrics that protect drivers on long travels - field service organizations will want to be prepared to adopt this technology to gain a competitive edge.

Sustainability Advantages

In 2015, world leaders agreed to 17 lofty goals for creating a better world by 2030 - everything from the end to poverty to the fights against inequality. As we enter 2020, among the several goals field service management can help drive is number 13 - combating climate change.

The advanced technologies powering field services - mobility tools, demand forecasting, predictive analytics, and AI - can also address climate change by reducing emissions due to more efficient routes, a reduction in miles driven and less fuel consumption. These advancements in work planning and scheduling have far reaching benefits including community safety. For example, preventative power outages are managed efficiently and effectively, helping to mitigate wildfire risk.

Field service teams will also review their transportation methods, introducing hybrid fleets that will decrease daily emissions. While working to protect the environment, these initiatives will ultimately benefit the business itself including improved customer experience, increased business growth, and reduced costs.

Frontline Workers Adjusting to the Digital Workplace

As 2020 approaches, it's important to ready frontline workers for the technology that promises to disrupt their daily routines. Field service organizations are beginning to witness real results from tech innovation that didn't seem possible a few years back, with significant impact on workers' roles.

Within a Forrester survey, 58% of global services decision makers reported their firm is undergoing a digital transformation, while 36% of digital experience delivery decision makers surveyed felt organizational challenges were the biggest barrier to the successful delivery of digital customer experience projects.

In the field service industry, the roles of the mobile worker and dispatcher will drastically change as mobile capabilities and automation increase, but others are also impacted,  including the field manager, the call center agent and the planner. All have to adopt new ways of working and update their skills. The relationship with the customer is also impacted, but only with the proper technology can field service organizations be more transparent, providing better service and a new means of communication.

To satisfy customer demands, it's going to take some strong preparations to successfully implement the technology that promises to meet these needs. Be ready for these digital innovations, and what they can do for your field service organization.


About the Author

Paul Whitelam, Global Marketing SVP at ClickSoftware

Paul Whitelam 

Paul has more than twenty years' experience leading multi-national marketing and product teams. Paul has worked on both the technical and business aspects of many areas that are fundamental to field service. This includes senior-level positions at Nokia (mobility and sensor technology), HERE (mapping and GIS), and Endeca (data management and analytics). Prior to his current role, he served as Group VP of Product Marketing, working with field service management leaders across a variety of industries. Paul has a B.A. in Management Studies and French from The University of Reading.
Published Thursday, December 26, 2019 7:19 AM by David Marshall
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