Critical Trends Driving Digital Transformation in Field Service

Jun 19, 2020 • FeaturesMichael BlumbergDigital Transformationworldwide

Following an appearance on the Field Service Podcast discussing digital transformation Michael Blumberg from Mize outlines some of the reasons why service leaders should be implementing their own digital journey, particularly in these unprecedented times.


Digital transformation (DX) is the process of using digital technologies to create new — or modify existing — business processes., culture and customer experiences to meet changing business and market requirements.

Digital Transformation in service

DX has gained increased attention among Field Service Leaders because it results in many benefits, including but not limited to:

Improved process efficiencies:

For example, DX initiatives have led to a reduction in paperwork by Field Service Engineers (FSEs) and an elimination of telephone calls to technical support personnel.

Increased productivity

DX automates manual activities and brings data and information to the hands of FSEs.  As a result, FSEs are more productive. Less time searching for data and completing forms means more time in the field, and more call completed per day.

Real-time data-driven decisions

DX initiatives make it possible for Field Service Organization (FSOs) to forecast demand, predict and anticipate service events accurately.

Stakeholder enablement

Through DX, companies can extend the reach of corporate systems and infrastructure to business partners, dealer channels, and service provider networks so they can optimize service delivery and maximize Customer Lifetime Value (LTV).  Employees can have tools they need to manage their day, improve performance, and generate additional revenue.

New business models

IoT enabled services, and Servitization models could not be possible without DX.

Ultimately, these benefits result in higher-margin revenue, and improved Customer Experience (CX) will, in turn, leads to a larger market share and improve customer retention for FSOs.


Stakeholders Driving DX

There are two groups of stakeholders that are driving DX.  The first group is end-user customers. We now live in always-on, always-connected, "let's do business now" economy.   Customers see the impact of DX in other industries and expect the same in Field Service.  Also, customers have no tolerance for uncertainty or surprises.   At issue, Field Service is full of uncertainties and surprises. DX helps mitigate these issues.  For example, DX enables the Uberization of Field Service, making it possible for the customer to obtain real-time notification of when the FSE will arrive at the customer site and the route the FSEs are taking to the site.

The second group of stakeholders is business partners such as the resellers/dealers, service provider networks, and suppliers. These parties operate as independent entities. However,  the Manufacturer relies on them to provide to deliver exceptional service, maintain customer loyalty, and generate high margin revenue.  By implementing DX initiatives that support these stakeholders, the Manufacturer helps itself protect its brand.   For example, providing resellers with online access to parts catalogs, inventory availability, and knowledge resources ensures their technician achieve a high first-time fix rate when they are providing service on the Manufacturer's brand.  


Level of DX Adoption in Field Service

DX implementations within the Field Service Industry aligns with overall technology trends we are observing across all industries. According to a recent study by Dell Technologies, 78% of participants say DX should be more widespread within their organization. Despite the vast potential of DX, most companies are just scratching the surface in terms of what they can achieve through DX.  Many businesspeople have concerns about whether their companies can effectively execute DX on time.  They believe there is a limited window of opportunity before their companies may become irrelevant.  Roughly half (51%) of the respondents in the Dell Technologies study indicate their companies will struggle to meet customer demands, and 49% worry their organization won't prove trustworthy in the next five years if they don't fully implement DX initiatives.


Underserved Segments

Quite often, when we hear about DX projects, the focus is often on use cases associated with concepts like Uberization of Service, Predictive, and Proactive Service enabled by IoT. These projects are significant and represent the future. However, they require a substantial investment in time and capital. Not every company is ready or able to pursue these types of strategies, and as evidenced by the market research, we shared in this article.   On the other hand, there are a couple of low hanging opportunities that companies can pursue that can be implemented relatively quickly and provide a "good bang for the buck," For example:

Online portals for customers, channel partners, and suppliers to initiate or respond to requests (e.g., work orders, support tickets, RMAs), observe the status of activities and track financial and operational KPIs 


  • Electronic Forms to automate and streamline data capture
  • Electronic Parts Catalogs to look-up, find, and order parts
  • Unified Knowledge Platforms that make it easier for technicians and channel parts to find knowledge artifacts that may  found in disparate applications and databases
FSOs should not take these types of solutions for granted as they can result in significant ROI, a better service experience, and higher customer retention.


Why is now the right time?

At the time of writing this article, COVID-19 has forced companies to implement contingency plans to keep their customers and employees safe and ensure their products and services get delivered on time.  Companies who have implemented DX are likely to be nimbler in adapting to new realities created by the virus.   Remote Support, Proactive Service, Same Day/Next Day delivery…all made possible through DX, have now become the standard model of service during these times of social distancing and self-quarantine.   

There are, of course, many other reasons why FSOs might want to accelerate their DX initiatives.  First and foremost is the technology is readily available and doesn't require a large capital outlay because it is available on a subscription basis.  Second, the economics are favorable.  DX initiatives have proven to have a high ROI and rapid payback.  Third, DX initiatives have a positive impact on customer retention and loyalty.   Fourth, competitive forces and consumer preferences will dictate it.  Fifth, it is a good hedge against economic uncertainty. 

DX is a journey that all service professionals should be contemplating if they haven't already.

Further Reading: