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We live in a world where IT and digital play a predominant role in a company’s success. Our Field Service Annual Survey showed that the biggest problem companies face in field service is adapting current IT infrastructure for Future Digital Strategy (read our Field Service Annual Survey from here).
Getting the infrastructure ready for the future
There are many technologies to implement yet having a unified IT infrastructure for these systems is not easy. This can make or break a Digital Strategy if the data between systems cannot speak to each other. Rajat Kakkar, the Vice-President Head of Product Related Services at Fujitsu explains the importance of having the right infrastructure:
“Organizations struggle on how to manage their legacy data or establish new platforms to future-proof their IT. Establishing a BI platform which relies on data consolidation or a capturing data points will define success of service organizations.”
Priorities and challenges differ per organization
Our survey also showed other challenges faced by field service professionals. Deciding on digital transformation tools, competition from “compatible” spare parts and 3rd party service providers were common challenges faced by service organizations. Workforce planning, change management and knowledge management were some of the issues related to business strategy. These challenges received very similar scores which means that current challenges faced by field service directors are far and wide and priorities differ per organization.
New technologies and practices to improve customer experience
Through our survey, we found out that companies are planning to focus on remote diagnostics and centralizing data from machine sensors as technological enhancements. From the business mindset, customer service and field technicians were the main things in their agenda. This information goes hand in hand with the rest of the findings; manufacturers’ desire to consolidate customer and equipment data into a holistic value creation process. And to offer predictive maintenance. Julia Moller, the Head of Aftermarket at Arvos Group explains why they are focusing on a remote diagnostic tool to future-proof their business:
“It is quite interesting to observe that most companies want to go into remote diagnostic within the next five years, but are struggling with IT problems at the same time. We face similar issues. On one hand, we are trying to implement a remote diagnostic tool. In our case, this is a sensor-based predictive maintenance solution called Zero.One®. On the other hand, trying to implement the correct IT is rather complicated. Customers want to have only one tool to oversee and control all their installed equipment at a plant, but at the same time can’t tell us what system we should integrate into, as the customers themselves are not that far into the digitalization. It only works step by step and with close collaboration.”
The takeaway for field service professionals
Digital is a hot topic on any manufacturer’ agenda. We see that throughout the year when speaking with service leaders. How companies face that hurdle will have a big impact on future success.
What is interesting to note, however, is that although we often say that it is all about being fast rather big, as Julia pointed out in her insight, customers themselves are sometimes not that advanced themselves in digital development. And being faster than the customer is not always productive or profitable. Creating an open ecosystem together with partners, suppliers and customers for a step by step collaboration is a better solution.