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| Bill Pollock How field service organizations can ride the IoT wave

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If IoT is the future, then the future is already here. In his previous post, analyst and field service expert, Bill Pollock, looked at what IoT means to field service organizations. Here he addresses its financial and service impact on these organizations and what they need to do to get moving.


The greatest barrier in taking full advantage of the IoT is typically senior management resistance. Coupled with an unclear understanding of exactly what IoT is and what it can do for the organization, this can become a momentum killer within an organization.

Everyone involved with services management should be kept up to date regarding advances in IoT-based technologies, the introduction of new applications and mobile tools to support field technicians (and to transfer some on-site responsibilities to remote-based scenarios), and evolutions in solution capabilities.

With subscription-based pricing, cost should be less of a barrier to the prospects for moving forward with a field service management (FSM) solution. But the key question is whether your CFO and purchasing teams understand that or whether they are still entrenched in the traditional perpetual license mindset.

The best advice is to collect as much information as you can, schedule some demos, and invite management to witness the benefits of an IoT-powered FSM solution firsthand.

How to monetize IoT

Every time there are advances in technology, the more progressive field service organizations adopt those advances and streamline their processes, reduce their internal costs, and improve their service delivery capabilities. But their customers tend to see this primarily benefiting the services organization, not them, and understandably expect that cost reductions should benefit everyone.

The mistake that many services organizations make is trying to sell the same services to customers, at reduced costs to themselves but at increased costs to their customers. What needs to happen is for services organizations to move away from traditional service level agreement pricing to an outcome-based pricing model.

This means, for example, guaranteeing outcomes rather than simply “X hours of service coverage.” The best current illustrations of this are selling “uptime as a service” rather than merely throwing hours of support at customers. It’s a rifle shot – rather than a scattergun – approach to selling services.

The impact on service lifecycle management

Many organizations say they offer total service lifecycle management support, but many still only offer field service management solutions in terms of field service and support, preventive maintenance, and parts and inventory management.

But IoT empowers field service organizations to provide true lifecycle management for their customers. Essentially, this is cradle to grave support for all of their systems and devices, throughout all of their day-to-day usage and applications.

IoT does this by automating the entire services management process, end-to-end, from data collection through device monitoring, problem identification and resolution, routine and ad hoc maintenance services, predictive and pre-emptive maintenance, parts/inventory management, and even end of life product support.

Service level management (SLM) is more than field service management, and the IoT can support all of the organization’s SLM services processes.

Where to begin

For organizations in certain segments – such as aviation, energy, factory automation, and medical devices – if they haven’t already embraced and incorporated IoT into their services operations, they are already a step or two behind the market leaders.

Now is the time to familiarize yourself with all things IoT, attending IoT conferences, viewing vendor demos, establishing “long lists” and reducing them to “short lists” for vendor consideration, and working on gaining management buy-in.

Prepare a plan for moving to an IoT-powered field service management or service level management solution scenario. And do it urgently, because many of your competitors have already done so, and many of your customers and prospects are at least somewhat familiar with what the IoT can do for them.

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