by Spencer Gisser | 03/01/2019
ServiceMax, one of the most prominent companies in field service management, has just acquired Zinc, an enterprise communications company focused on deskless workers. This comes hot on the heels of Silver Lake’s acquisition of ServiceMax from GE. However, ServiceMax’s acquisition of Zinc proves that Silver Lake is interested in growing ServiceMax and gives ServiceMax a powerful new suite of capabilities unmatched by any other field service management provider.
Founded in 2007, ServiceMax provides high-quality field service management and asset management solutions. Headquartered in Pleasanton, California, ServiceMax’s solutions are truly end-to-end, from schedule and dispatch to the technician’s visit to billing. ServiceMax grew considerably under GE, which poured sizeable resources into the company. Under GE’s ownership, ServiceMax grew by 50% in terms of employees and revenue. GE and ServiceMax will continue to collaborate post-acquisition—the companies have entered into a reseller agreement to ensure ongoing collaboration to serve their joint customers, including GE’s industrial business units. Additionally, the companies will continue integrations between GE Digital’s Predix Asset Performance Management suite and ServiceMax’s field service management solution.
Zinc offers a secure enterprise communication platform to connect deskless workers in real time. Headquartered in San Francisco, the company is led by Stacey Epstein, who had spent nearly six years as CMO for ServiceMax. Zinc’s flexible platform offers many modes of communication including direct and group messaging, voice, video, content sharing, push to talk, and broadcasts. Perhaps Zinc’s most impressive feature is its “Hotline Groups.” Hotline Groups are organizationally defined groups that users can message when they need assistance from an expert in a topic or from someone with a specific role. For example, someone needing to speak to a dispatcher can message the dispatcher-specific Hotline Group. This will alert available dispatchers, and an available dispatcher can engage the user in a one-on-one conversation. These steps are all managed by Zinc’s automatic processes. In addition to communication capabilities, Zinc also offers robust analytics. Few organizations can claim to understand communication patterns among their employees as communication is typically decentralized. Because Zinc has high rates of adoption and use, however, organizations can use Zinc to understand how employees communicate, where bottlenecks and problems may arise, and how to better structure communication channels.
Zinc will now operate as a unit of ServiceMax, and Zinc is not undergoing significant changes for the time being. Zinc’s reporting structure has been unaffected by the change. Stacey Epstein is staying on, as are Zinc’s sales representatives. Zinc’s sales representatives will continue to sell Zinc’s solution as a stand-alone platform. ServiceMax has begun to offer Zinc’s platform alongside ServiceMax’s own solution. Given Zinc’s history of success with telecommunications and utilities organizations, ServiceMax aims to leverage these connections to expand its footprint in these areas. ServiceMax hopes to build new capabilities based on the integration of Zinc’s capabilities. For example, embedding links to a specific component within Zinc conversations would allow participants to examine the component’s history and provide future technicians with records of past conversations about the component.
Overall, ServiceMax’s acquisition of Zinc provides ServiceMax with an even more powerful position in the field service management market. The fact that this acquisition took place so soon after Silver Lake’s acquisition of ServiceMax highlights Silver Lake’s willingness to invest in ServiceMax. In addition to opening doors for ServiceMax, the Zinc acquisition provides unrivaled communication capabilities for field service operations.
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