ServiceMax aims to join up data across the extended service chain – Diginomica

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ServiceMax added new features to its core Field Service Management (FSM) app last week, including greater use of maps for work planning, geo-fencing with regard to technician alerts and automation, and tighter integration of its Zinc messaging app. But the big picture surrounding the latest release is a more joined-up approach in order to delivering support in the field, as Sumair Dutta, Vice President of Product Marketing at ServiceMax told me in an interview yesterday.

While a lot of the buzz in the industry is around new technology trends, such as applying Artificial Intelligence (AI) to field service information, or using Augmented Reality (AR) in field services settings, Dutta says those are not necessarily a priority for customers at the particular moment. What’s important is putting the right data foundation in place to enable those future capabilities, which won’t happen without first joining up processes and providing the convenience and software to ensure the data gets collected in a reliable and robust way. Only then will there be sufficient information to be able to take advantage of AI to really move the needle forward. As Dutta explains:

The ambition will be, once you’ve established that common platform of data, of asset and assistance data, and you’ve established the different stakeholders who are constructing that digital thread, then can you begin to more intelligently mine that will data to provide insight plus recommendations.

Where everyone wants to go with AI is usually, ‘Can you proactively tell me that this machine is going to fail, so I can fix it? Can a person proactively inform me that I’m going to need XYZ part? ‘ That doesn’t happen if you don’t have the information in the context of all associated with that. If you just have an individual bit of data, it’s not really going in order to drive that will level of insight. So we see that as the third wave, if you will, that we are going to help our customers get to with these common platforms.

Bringing components together

The new release brings enhancements to ServiceMax Core, the vendor’s flagship FSM offering, which it offers alongside Asset360, its asset-centric add-on to Salesforce FSM, and FieldFX, based on its acquisition last year of Liquid Frameworks, plus which targets the oil and gas sector. Each product has its own development priorities, based on the particular needs of the market each serves, but also benefits from the work of the other product teams. Dutta comments:

We want to grow each product individually, because they all possess their own ambitions and they have their identities — they want to innovate and they want to ensure success. And then associated with course, trying to bring innovation across all those product lines.

For example, a new component called Data Guide, an advanced forms and workflow tool, was added to ServiceMax Core in the last release, depending on functionality that will came from FieldFX, plus gains more features within the latest release. Originally designed regarding highly detailed and regulated inspections and maintenance, this helps in order to automate plus guide information collection and associated tasks in the particular field, along with pre-population of ServiceMax data about the work order and the resource, and automated follow-up workflows and document creation.

The particular overarching theme of the summer release is definitely to encourage customers to bring together their use associated with the various components in ServiceMax Core. There’s the particular focus on linking its Zinc communications plus collaboration device across other components such as the Service Board scheduling solution, the Engage customer self-service offering as well as the Go work execution mobile app that technicians use in the industry, which the brand new Data Manual plugs into. Part of this is a cross-selling initiative, as while most customers use Go, some potential Service Table users are on an older dispatching product, and a smaller subset use Engage and/or Zinc. Dutta explains:

If you were to think about all of individuals different tools, the idea behind that is that will each one of these empowers a different personality or different persona within what we would call the particular service delivery chain.

Ideally, that service shipping chain can be a flexible, end-to-end connected process, but in many program organizations the various components still operate within separate silos that get in the way of providing the kind of joined-up customer experience that’s becoming a lot more of an expectation these days. With regard to example, an older scheduling app may create each day’s schedule in advance and not have the ability to reconfigure an engineer’s diary during the day to accommodate the new provider call or to work around a mid-day hold-up. Or an engineer might not have the information to hand about the customer’s contract cover and do work that hasn’t been authorized for payment, resulting in a disputed invoice.

Extended service chain

Meanwhile, clients expect a more digitally enabled portfolio of assistance than the simple break-fix processes of old. Dutta says that will today’s extended service string starts with the client maybe attempting a self-serve fix, along with help through an internal service desk via Zinc. The company desk then might escalate the issue making use of Engage, sending images or video over Zinc in order to show the problem. If the call-out’s required, the assigned engineer can check what parts these people need using Go and Zinc before heading out to the customer site. He sums up:

Ultimately, exactly what we’re trying to say is, you’ve got all associated with these different people in a good extended service chain, who are speaking about one constant, which is certainly the work purchase on that particular asset. We see the opportunity not only to empower each 1 of these types of individuals with the particular product, as you can see, but to actually begin to link almost all these products together…

If you think about phase one of ServiceMax, it was empowering all these people with applications. Phase two is bringing these programs together in a digital thread associated with sorts. After which phase three would become, now that they’re all communicating on the same thread, what are the insights and automations that we may begin in order to surface to each of these people to deliver a better experience?

The value of this… is that there is a much better customer experience. They’re linked into this overall support delivery encounter. They understand what is happening when it’s happening. You have a much more effective services team because they’re no longer disconnected from each other. They’re just about all brought with each other on this particular thread. And you have got a much more proactive way of approaching your customers, which has an efficiency but also a customer loyalty plus customer satisfaction play, if you will certainly.

While the underlying ServiceMax system provides a single information store in order to collate most of the relevant details, its Zinc communication and collaboration application — which usually ServiceMax acquired three years ago — helps the people involved to co-ordinate their actions. Just as people in their personal lives make use of several different messages apps intended for different groups or communities they’re part of, Dutta says people are using Zinc alongside some other apps because the a single that’s best suited for collaboration within the particular service chain. He describes:

We don’t observe Zinc since necessarily the Slack or even Teams competitor for a variety of reasons… When we initially brought Zinc in to the fold there was this whole population associated with technicians plus service practitioners who liked Zinc and wanted to use Zinc due to the fact of the simple nature in which it communicated the particular relevant info that they will needed. So while you could use Teams and Slack to reach out to additional people within your organization, individuals that a person want to reach out to within the organization are on Zinc…

A large chunk of our customers have their technicians on both. They use Groups for team or company-wide information which coming through, and after that they use Zinc for more specific service execution of field service jobs.

My get

The themes of this ServiceMax release are in line with the growing trend towards becoming a member of up data across historic silos, as enterprise apps adapt in order to the electronically connected environment of today’s Frictionless Enterprise .