Virtualization Technology News and Information
The Top Six Field Service Trends for 2023

By Brad Hawkins, Senior Vice President of Products and Solutions, ServicePower

Talk of a recession is on everyone's mind going into 2023. In preparation for a major downturn, many field service organizations began cutting costs last year and looking for operational efficiencies. Yet even with dire predictions on the horizon, the global Field Service Management market continues to grow. Forecasts predict it will reach nearly 3 billion dollars by 2027. Digital transformation will continue to drive industry growth this year, along with several other key trends.

1.   Increased use of AI-Enhanced Field Service Management

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is no longer a buzzword about a future technology-it's the new reality for field service management. AI is so compelling because it can predict patterns and surface insights and prevent problems much faster than its human counterpart. Its use leads to operational efficiencies, shorter downtimes, and increased customer satisfaction. With the proliferation of Internet of Things (IoT) device sensors, AI-enhanced management platforms have more data than ever. These platforms use this data to provide service technicians with remote and real-time access to equipment information, optimize service schedules, and forecast future maintenance needs. 

2.   Exponential Growth in Predictive Maintenance

Predictive maintenance has been trending for several years, but 2023 will see further advances as more companies adopt this proactive approach. Smart and IoT devices provide diagnostic health data and alerts that are paired with maintenance records to predict service needs. Data analytics and machine learning algorithms sort through the data and can even predict which parts will need replacement, so technicians show up for the service part in hand. Companies deploying predictive maintenance minimize equipment downtime and improve customer service. 

3.   Greater Dependence on Data in Decision Making

Field service companies generate and collect massive amounts of data every day. Digital transformations remove silos, allowing access to mine this data for insights that lead to smarter business decisions. The addition of AI and machine learning algorithms generates insights in seconds, leading to faster decision-making. In the field service industry, real-time scheduling optimization is one tool that leverages data to reduce truck rolls and improve the first-time fix rate.

4.   Continued Workforce Shortages and Talent Skill Gaps

Workforce shortages are an issue facing many industries. In field service, skilled technicians are retiring, and fewer skilled workers are entering the field. To solve this issue, companies need to focus on operational efficiencies that make the technician's job easier and maximize their productivity. The growing use of augmented reality (AR) helps fill gaps in technician knowledge when troubleshooting. Digital applications give them access to equipment and service histories to help them make better decisions. At the corporate level, field service management software allows organizations to leverage and optimize a blended workforce of employees and contractors. As companies deploy these digital tools, they'll have better support for remote work and a more productive workforce that requires fewer workers.

5.   Value and ROI Drive Technology Investments

Executives are now requiring better ROI and faster time to value for technology investments. Part of this is driven by talk of a recession and the need to cut costs. The other driver is the abundance of on-demand cloud-based services that reduce capital expenditures and get services online quickly. According to a Grant Thorton CFO Survey, technology investments are an area for cost savings, but not at the expense of digital transformation.

6.   Sustainability Is a Top Priority

Employees and customers are demanding more accountability for how a company's operations impact the world around us. Field service management continues to make strides toward better sustainability. One of the most significant areas for reduction is the emissions generated by truck fuel and equipment or parts shipping. Reducing truck rolls creates fewer emissions and cuts down on road wear and tear. More efficient scheduling, predictive maintenance, and AR, along with improved first-time fix rates, all contribute to reduced truck rolls. The other big area for improvement is the reduction of paper use. Digital tools for field technicians have already reduced paperwork in the field. The faster companies can achieve their digital transformation, the more immediate the impact will be on our natural resources.

Looking Ahead

Every trend this year is dependent on technology to some degree. Field service providers who stay with legacy systems and a reactive service model will struggle, while those who make smart investments in emerging technologies will be able to meet evolving customer expectations. It's tempting to pull back spending across the board during uncertain economic times. However, research by Bain & Company has found companies that thrive during and after a recession also reinvest in growth.




Brad Hawkins has been with ServicePower since 2004, where he currently serves as Senior Vice President of Products and Solutions and oversees operations, development and product management. A long time veteran in the world of field service technology, Brad brings more than 20 years of experience in work force management software.

Published Thursday, January 19, 2023 7:33 AM by David Marshall
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