Enterprise Mobility & the Connected Worker Blog

Maximize Conference Highlights Field Service Challenges

by Spencer Gisser | 05/24/2018

ServiceMax concluded its annual conference this week, in which the company showcased its offerings, the benefits it drives for its customers, and its partner network. CEO Scott Berg led the keynote address, which covered ServiceMax’s new features and its achievements over the past year. Berg encouraged attendees to consider three questions throughout the conference: how to optimize when service occurs, how to make the most of IoT, and how to engage with proactive and predictive maintenance. These issues tie together some of the most important issues and priorities in field service.

Maximize Conference Highlights Field Service Challenges

Service optimization is a difficult yet rewarding line of inquiry for organizations involved with field service. If organizations maintain their assets too often, the high frequency of repairs will become costly over time. However, if organizations wait too long before conducting repairs, this will result in costly unplanned downtime. The dilemma of how often to engage in repairs is solved by the next two themes, IoT and analytics.

IoT has largely been an unfulfilled promise for field service. Organizations have invested extremely heavy in rolling out IoT and vehicle telematics, but the resulting volume of data has not always been used effectively. The promise of IoT is that organizations can make intelligent decisions by collecting detailed information about each machine. However, field service organizations find after deploying sensors that data alone is insufficient to fully drive the benefits they hoped for. First-time IoT users are often overwhelmed with the volume of IoT data and may throw out the majority of the data that their sensors transmit. Even after deciding how to process incoming data, organizations new to it may not understand how to correlate changing IoT data to key factors such as device usage or specific maintenance actions. Organizations that adopt IoT typically find value from doing so – with real-time insight into the condition of connected devices, a repair order can be automatically generated if any components exceed operating parameters. However, the challenges that come with IoT have stunted the benefit that field service organizations have gained from IoT integration.

Analytic capabilities make all the difference in field service. Building on IoT data from connected devices, organizations can examine their assets in light of historic data, understand how different usage and external conditions affects maintenance needs, and determine which maintenance actions are most successful given various failure modalities. These capabilities then give rise to predictive maintenance, in which organizations can provide service far ahead of device failure.

Putting these ideas together reveals what field service organizations stand to gain. By taking steps to gather and analyze data from connected devices, field service organizations can lower the cost of service. Few field service organizations have made it to this stage, where they can leverage IoT data to drive predictive and even prescriptive maintenance. Those that have can offer fresh possibilities such as “product as a service” due to their low cost of service. Although this is a future-oriented capability, companies such as ServiceMax have developed robust platforms for field service management and provide tools that support IoT and analytic enablement.

View our report on Field Service Management to learn more.