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Innovation Evolution:
A Shift to a Digital (Transformation) Mindset

Mar 3, 2021

Evolutionary change in the last couple years has increased the priority of Mobile Field Service Management, Asset Management, Predictive Maintenance, Touchless and Self-Driven Customer Scheduling, Paperless Workflow Management, and AI/ML – in the cross-silo planning and data delivery methods that Utilities, Telecoms, Industrial Equipment, Commercial Service Providers and Manufacturers must now deploy to increase productivity, revenue and customer service.

These solutions now require a new Digital Transformation Mindset to deliver best practices and results. Here are baseline ideas for operational Digital Transformation:

Increase Technology-Fueled Experiences and Modernization

Technology has been the great enabler for organizations and individuals. Many analysts and growing operations foresee accelerated technology adoption continuing into the coming year.
The Forrester analyst firm reports in their Predictions for 2021 that ‘Top companies will cultivate resiliency, creativity, customer obsession, and adaptability. On the tech front, every company — not just the 15% of firms that were already digitally savvy — will double down on technology-fueled experiences, operations, products, and ecosystems.’

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Predictions from the IDC FutureScape for Worldwide Digital Transformation include that by 2022, 70% of all organizations will have accelerated use of digital technologies, transforming existing business processes to drive customer engagement, employee productivity, and business resiliency.

Technology is also seen as a key factor in the global recovery, via accelerated adoption that supports business growth through the pandemic.

An annual trends survey of over 1000 senior business decision makers and 98% of survey respondents said they agreed that technology would play a major role in the global economic recovery. “For business, one positive, lasting legacy of this time will be the increased appetite for digital transformation,” commented Felicity Burch, Director of Innovation and Digital, CBI as part of the survey. “This has the potential to be the start of a great digital transformation.”

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What this means for Field Service Management (FSM) and Enterprise Asset Management (EAM)

Jeanine Sterling, Information & Communication Technologies Industry Director at Frost & Sullivan predicts, in these sectors, the emerging technologies are ones to watch

“Users of mobilized FSM solutions are demonstrating an increasing level of interest in cutting-edge technologies as they can offer a differential advantage in highly competitive sectors,” comments Sterling on the Frost & Sullivan recent analysis, North American Mobile Field Service Management Market Continues to Offer Expansion Opportunities: Forecast to 2025.

“For example, the escalating deployment of machine learning and artificial intelligence in the FSM space alongside the integration of mobile FSM solutions with Internet of Things (IoT) platforms enabling a more proactive and highly-valued approach to both machine maintenance and technician workflows.”

While Artificial intelligence (AI) is not a new innovation for 2021, it is one that still has to reach its full potential, writes Devin Partida in her article on 6 Emerging Technologies in 2021

“In 2020, AI started to flourish — and it will continue to do so throughout 2021,” Partida states. “Applications for AI are increasing in variety and capability . . . These integrations are only going to grow from here, in every aspect of life.”

We hear more and more from service leaders that they are looking for AI-based solutions in their FSM and EAM operations that can offer the ability to manage all work whether it be short term or long term.

These service leaders want to move much more to a predictive and proactive approach, which will optimize the service experience, deliver a truly customer-centric model, and increase profitability through improved productivity. They demand applications that can predict future needs and improve decision-making with real-time visibility into financial and operational metrics, that are powered by AI and analytical information, so it is constantly learning from daily operations and user interactions.
See our Seven Ways Artificial Intelligence is Transforming Field Service Management for more in-depth insight into how AI can shape your 2021 operations.

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Leverage 5G Connectivity in Operational Mobile Field Service Management and Enterprise Asset Management

2021 promises to be the year of 5G. Frost and Sullivan predicts that these high-powered, low latency 5G networks can pave the way to a new level of FSM apps and capabilities.

5G delivers a more reliable experience with faster speed than ever before and means more can be achieved. Data can be downloaded much faster and resources and applications which previously may have not been easy to access remotely, can be downloaded instantly. Field and office-based teams can share information in real time and with speeds 100 times faster than 4G, 5G will bring connectivity to people in innovative ways.

Service leaders will be watching closely how the 5G rollout will help their service teams and enhance mobility, especially for those working in the most remote areas and under the ongoing restrictions imposed by Covid-19.

5G speeds will mean that video calls, conferencing and streaming can be lag-free and the remote use of augmented and virtual reality will be achievable.

These applications have the opportunity to transform field service and asset management operations in critical ways. For example, mixed reality applications can identify an asset, then retrieve manuals, specifications, and video instructions to perform a repair, service, or installation in real time. The application can also overlay the content on the physical asset to check accuracy. First time fixes are achieved without the need for follow up visits or additional input.

The increased speed means that transfer of vast amounts of data becomes possible too. This allows IoT and machine-to-machine (M2M) technologies in FSM and EAM become more viable as even with the large volumes of data capture these incur, information can be quickly processed in real time. For FSM and EAM technicians this means they can resolve issues more quickly, ultimately delivering a better, more productive service to customers however remote the location or even in the busiest places at peak times.

In Field Service News article looking at how widespread 5G adoption can benefit field service mobility, Frost & Sullivan Technical Insights Research Analyst, Mogana Tashiana commented:

“5G will play a key role in ensuring the sustainability of businesses in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. The low latency will aid in managing the high traffic to e-commerce by improving network accessibility at a faster pace, accelerating online purchases and order placements.”

“Furthermore 5G-integrated IIoT devices have the potential to disrupt traditional on-site job functions through remote working and virtual meetings., Covid-19 has led to a massive shift to remote working to maintain business operations on par with on-site job operations.”

Cross-Silo Data Integration (and sharing) is Key to a Successful Digital Transformation

With faster connectivity and emerging technologies coming into their own, cross-silo data integration will be critical.

Example: It’s pointless having AI-based applications delivering business intelligence through the fastest networks to date, if only half of the available data is accessible due to siloed technologies. Frost and Sullivan states that with organizations’ increasing migration towards cloud-based solutions optimizing FSM solution integration will enhance customer satisfaction, expedite service response intervals, and increase profits.

Any new solutions must work alongside existing software. In the Advanced Trends Report research, survey respondents stated that the ability to integrate solutions is most important when developing and adopting innovative technologies. It was felt that as many organizations are still deeply entrenched in legacy systems, limiting the options for digital transformation.

One of the biggest challenges facing service organizations is unifying siloed solutions so that the end-to-end workflow and Single View of the Customer can be successful.

In a recent guest blog – First Cloud Platform that Combines Field Service and Asset Management for All Work – Andy Stinnes, Venture Partner, Cloud Apps Capital Partners, addresses the importance of integrated solutions.

“The FSM and EAM markets are large, multi-billion-dollar existing software categories characterized by mission-critical, enterprise scale, operational business problems that I understand and work well with,” writes Stinnes.

“The sector is dominated by outdated, complex, expensive on-prem and private-cloud solutions, now largely owned and maintained by large software vendors who are not innovating to keep up with changing customer needs. It is fascinating to me – considering that FSM and EAM are vital components in a business – how these clunky, old, siloed, manually integrated systems can become a ball and chain that prevent operational teams from doing what they need to do today, let alone planning for the future.”

As integration can feel like an overwhelming project to take on, in an ideal world, organizations are looking for something easy to deploy, integrate, maintain, and use. They are looking for the best possible solution for their workers in the field, as they realize that their work output is typically the first-line interface with their customers.

To make it as straightforward as possible for the worker, one easy-to-use and easy-to-access solution is optimum. For example, Field Teams can utilize one cross-silo solution to combine field service, asset and inventory management, customer portals, scheduling, mobile field execution and IoT integrations into one comprehensive industry-focused SaaS platform.

Plan for Ongoing Transformation and Mobile Field Service in the Year Ahead and Beyond

Businesses benefited in an unprecedented way from cloud-based solutions over the past two years. Customer Field Service leaders are now taking their cloud-based technology advancements and are applying them to their business strategy to drive this transformation further.

In addition, as more and more new people enter the Field Service and Asset Management workforce, the requirement for simple, easy-to-use, any device, anywhere data delivery will be mandatory. End-to-end Servitization and Predictive Maintenance will help manufacturers and industrial equipment sales and leasing operations refine the way they do business and maximize the uptime – and safety – of the products they offer.

The Digital Transformation process requires planning, possibility-thinking, and mobile field service and asset management integration. These are easily implemented with a proven, cloud-based solution that takes a “worker-first” approach to provide operations with a Single View of the Customer.

For advice on your cross-silo integration planning and how to accelerate your digital transformation, contact us today.

vikram takruAbout the Author
Vikram Takru

Vikram Takru is CEO of KloudGin, Inc. He co-founded KloudGin with the vision of creating transformative field service and asset management technology that eliminates silos, connects people, process and technology, and creates access to information where and when it is needed. He is committed to delivering solutions that work for field crews in the toughest conditions.

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