Practical steps for disrupting your sector with digital technologies

Mar 18, 2016 • FeaturesFuture of FIeld ServiceService Power

Marne Martin CEO of ServicePower urges us to grasp the opportunity that technology affords us, but only to do so with a firm understanding of why we are doing so and how that technology can improve our service offerings...

I often hear from executives “We need big data”, “We need 3D printers”, “We need M2M”, don’t think like that.

In this article I want to inject a sense of urgency into the field service community to act now but also take the right approach towards digital technology, you’re not implementing it for the sake of it; you must implement it to do something truly noteworthy, something great.

The current state of play

We are at a pivotal time in not just field service, but the world’s future, I believe we entering the ‘Age of Digital Enlightenment’.

We have a raft of emerging digital technologies like IoT (Internet of Things), mobile, cloud and social collaboration that are resetting what we think of as possible.

We have a raft of emerging digital technologies like IoT (Internet of Things), mobile, cloud and social collaboration that are resetting what we think of as possible.


You may have seen this shared on social media but it’s worth reiterating: Uber, the world’s largest taxi company, owns no vehicles. Facebook, the world’s most popular media owner, creates no content. Alibaba, the most valuable retailer, has no inventory. And Airbnb, the world’s largest accommodation provider, owns no real estate.

What does this mean for your business?

It is not a question of if service management will be disrupted, but when, it is inevitable. The mistake that taxi firms made with Uber is that they tried to fight it using traditional business and legal methods. Even now this continues to result in wasted energy and money, all the while Uber’s market share grows exponentially.

Without question your field service business is currently under threat from competitors that have grasped the enormity of what is happening and are plotting success based on enabling technologies.

What practical steps can you take? 

A threat is also an opportunity; to outpace the competition you need to adopt a positive and proactive mindset for your business. You also have to be pragmatic, to achieve transformational changes your business needs to step out of its comfort zone and embrace new ways of thinking.

Like the first ‘Age of Enlightenment’ we need to use our powers of reason, analysis and individualism.

We need to challenge what business means and bring together disparate technologies so that we can enable new, better ways of working.

Easier said than done.

A good starting point would be to assemble a project team to analyse your business, the field sector you operate in and even other similar sectors to take a pulse of what is working ‘digitalwise’.

However businesses that start early in this process will garner knowledge and experience that can help. Forward-thinking mining machinery leasing companies are using IoT to pro-actively monitor reliability issues so that engineers can be on-site fixing issues before they halt extraction.


Their customers are willing to pay a premium for this service and see it as a valuable differentiator.

This transformation is not realised using just IoT, there are several digital technologies (cloud, mobile, analytics) working together, the key is not to look at one technology but consider the optimal digital mix to create a symphony.

A good starting point would be to assemble a project team to analyse your business, the field sector you operate in and even other similar sectors to take a pulse of what is working ‘digitalwise’.

Your team should posses a mix of skills:

[ordered_list style="decimal"]

  1. Creative – to push the envelope
  2. Technical – to understand what is possible
  3. Business– to decide what would deliver the greatest sustainable competitive advantage


Above all else work with a field service vendor that understands digital, one that can give you a head start because it has existing experience and the three skills above.

Scheduling technology hasn’t really changed much in the last decade, until now...

Here at ServicePower we lead the way when it comes to innovation, we have long since created a service management platform that connects IOT, M2M, cloud mobile and all the other enabling technologies. Beyond that we are challenging what is possible with scheduling – which is still the hub of field service.


Scheduling technology hasn’t really changed much in the last decade, until now.

The KTP (Knowledge Transfer Partnership) initiative with Dr. Alan Crispin and Alex Syrichas from the Manchester Metropolitan University has developed a new algorithm with ServicePower for optimising the deployment of people and vehicles for field service companies that exploits “Quantum Annealing”.

It sounds hi-tech and it is. Previously Quantum Annealing was the preserve of the massive computing power of NASA and Google, now however ServicePower, via the cloud is enabling businesses of any size to channel its enormous power to optimise resources in the field.

It is the future, allowing real time modification to more easily and more quickly modify the parameters used in schedule optimisation to deliver unheard-of productivity and route efficiency.

It is not hyperbole to say that ServicePower is not just using technologies of the future, it is creating them.

So contact us so that together we can take stock of what you are doing, and what it is you hope to do.

We have dedicated many man-years to making the most of digital in field service, let’s talk about how this experience can help you decide what’s possible and the next move to make sure your company is destined for greatness.



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