There will be more disruption to the industrial sector over the next five years than there was the previous twenty years. This is a serious challenge for many traditional companies whose structured hierarchies and bureaucratic processes lack the agility they need to adjust their business models with sufficient speed.
A study by McKinsey analyzed the 5 most disruptive forces that businesses in various industrial sectors have to contend with. It also determined that there was a substantial discrepancy between the “impact” these disruptions would have and traditional companies’ readiness to combat them. Whereas startups are positioned to respond and adjust rapidly, the “incumbents” are hampered by sluggish and outdated business processes.
Thankfully field services are one area companies will not have to worry about. The field services sector has given ample thought to the solutions to these disruptions. And Coresystems has created a number of tools and services to address the new challenges of the digital age.
Connectivity-Driven Business Models
New business models are switching to on-demand or pay-per-use models. This is a complex challenge for companies with extensive overhead structures and costs to cover. They need to create a business model that is economically viable in an environment where services are purchased on a need by basis. Field services has two approaches to address this challenge: crowd services and self-service.
Companies with sporadic and unpredictable demands on their workforce are relying on crowd services to gain valuable flexibility. By creating a crowd - a pool of their own service workers, partners, subcontractors and freelancers - they have a ready source of labor available on a pay by service basis. This makes it easier to accommodate unexpected bottlenecks and is also a cost-effective solution for the new pay-per use business model.
Another option is to have customers address their own issues. With Coresystems Now customers are able to take service needs into their own hands on a case-by-case basis. By scanning a QR code on their device, customers are directed to a dialog-based platform (chatbot) where they can provide detailed information about their issue and receive potential solutions. Customers can also request a service technician, replacement parts, or product information. By outsourcing minor issues to self-service tools, companies are better situated to tackle on-demand requests in real-time.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Autonomous Systems
Artificial intelligence and autonomous systems are becoming ever more prevalent in standard business operations.
In fact, automated systems powered by artificial intelligence can potentially automate 45 percent of jobs performed by people.
However, the majority of the work that will be automated is predictable routine services and data processing. This means field services, which often demand expert knowledge and stakeholder interactions, will be largely unaffected. Instead, the sector will be dependent on artificial intelligence and automation to streamline its business processes.
Coresystems’ field service software uses artificial intelligence to automate scheduling. By sifting through all relevant data - customer location, technician expertise and availability, inventory, duration of service performed, and more - the artificial intelligence-powered scheduler can determine the most strategic allocation of resources to accommodate as many service requests as possible. This is an advantage for companies looking to optimize their workforce and fleets. And it is also a benefit for customers who receive rapid and knowledgeable customer service.
The Internet of Things (IoT)
The ready availability of data and information has gotten customers accustomed to real-time responses and solutions. It has also made possible a new way of addressing issues: before they even occur. The implementation of connected sensors has created a new potential for predictive maintenance.
The use of IoT is contributing to an economic impact that could reach up to $11.1 trillion by 2025.
In order to tap into this new source of revenue, companies have to be equipped to respond quickly and in real-time.
Once again, crowd services are the best way to address this sudden increased demand for services. Access to a pool of available and skilled service technicians ensures that there will always be someone available to solve customer issues in real-time.
However, IoT is not only a challenge! It is also a huge asset to field service technicians who can count on their mobile phones to access critical data from machines and devices, back-office employees, customers, and even local information like effective routes, traffic and more. This data not only helps field service workers perform more effectively, ready access to knowledge increases first-time-fix rates.
Increased connectivity between companies and devices leaves devices more vulnerable to attacks. This means companies have to be more vigilant about their cybersecurity policies and procedures. And with cybersecurity now being deemed a distinguishing business feature, many companies hoping to gain a competitive edge are doing their best to set themselves apart by offering state-of-the-art security features. Coresystems’ software helps ensure that customer data is protected in accordance with legal security standards and that all security policies are in place. Read more about our security features here.
Capability & Talent Management
As new technologies emerge, there is an increased demand for new skill sets. However, it is difficult to find all the necessary talent needed to satisfy this growing need. It is also expensive to acquire a host of specialists with very specific and limited know-how. This is why companies need to rethink their hiring strategies. Indeed, sometimes the best way to expand a business’ services and skills is to rely on an ecosystem.
Companies are now looking beyond their own resources and assets to potential partners specialized in the skills they require. This is of course the concept behind crowd services: expanding a company’s expertise by bringing in partners, subcontractors and freelance specialists. This gives everyone in the ecosystem the opportunity to experience from unique perspectives, share knowledge, and learn from one another. In this way they can challenge each other to continue excelling in their specific areas of expertise for the mutual benefit of all and the sustainable growth and development of the ecosystem.
It is essential for business hoping to survive and thrive during the digital transformation to consider these 5 disruptors. They have the potential to upend even the most established businesses if they are not well-prepared to make the necessary adjustments to their business strategies.
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