Gartner Group has found more than a little magic in the field services management (FSM) sector with their latest round of research—a market the research firm sees as booming.
As Microsoft Partners, we at Sopris agree because we are also seeing the explosion in exploration and implementation: field services is no longer merely the tail that wags the door, but a way for organizations to unleash the potential of the cloud for Microsoft Dynamics AX and Dynamics 365.
According to Gartner’s “Magic Quadrant for Field Service Management” report: The FSM market is growing rapidly in response to proven business results from projects and technology developments in mobility, SaaS [Software as a Service] and machine learning.”
Note the importance of machine learning—like Microsoft’s Cortana—to this equation as a doorway into widespread data deployment at the point of sale and other crucial junctures within a business.
By 2020 Gartner is predicting further that “two out of three large field service organizations will equip field technicians with a mobile application that drives profitability by creating revenue streams, efficiency, and customer satisfaction.”
Gartner defines the field of field service technicians in this fashion: “Field service operations dispatch technicians to customer locations to provide services, typically installation, repair or maintenance, for customer-owned equipment or systems. The equipment or systems may be actively managed, maintained and monitored under a predefined service or maintenance contract. FSM applications optimize procedures, information flow and data capture through a set of processes and capabilities.”
Part of the Gartner Magic Quadrant is the Visionaries portion that includes depth and breadth of product; scheduling optimization; purchasing management; and other requirements. Gartner singled out Microsoft for praise:
• Research and Development. “Microsoft’s FSM capabilities are built on the Dynamics 365 platform and inherit its toolset. Admins can repurpose and extend the capabilities used in customer service and sales, such as portals, knowledge management and Skype for Business, to FSM.”
• Sales execution. “Microsoft is investing to grow the geographical reach of its FSM solution, including new language translations (there are 44 available for no additional charge), data centers, channel training and consultant certification programs.”
• Product breadth. “Microsoft’s FSM now includes capabilities that are often found only in ERP, such as project service (long-cycle work), purchase orders, inventory management for multiple warehouses, and logistics.”
We at Sopris would go even further than the low-hanging fruit of field technicians; in fact, we believe mobility is poised to permeate most organizations as a must-have. Gartner agrees growth will be driven by the integration of enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM). We expect firms in the Architecture Engineering Construction (AEC) space—and too many other sectors to count—are also ready to jump on board the field services bandwagon.