Field service customers increasingly demand guaranteed uptime and asset reliability, so the industry is shifting to outcomes as a service (OaaS) profit models. By adopting greater connectivity through mobile, cloud, and internet of things (IoT) solutions, field service organizations (FSOs) like yours can transition to the proactive service models the market craves.
According to a study we at Astea have conducted, within the next 24 months, 47% of FSOs anticipate moving to autonomous models in which machines self-correct to prevent problems. But before successfully providing outcomes as a service, most FSOs will need to upgrade their technology infrastructure and business practices.
To address the challenges of an OaaS rollout, we’re happy to bring you this brief introduction to the key findings in the Astea-sponsored WBR Insights whitepaper, “Defining SLAs to Support Maximized Device Uptime and Outcomes as a Service”.
What’s Standing in the Way of Your OaaS Adoption?
As customers demand greater flexibility and constant connectivity, FSOs are realizing the urgency and long-term necessity of working toward an outcomes as a service model. But while 47% of respondents in our study have long-term plans to support OaaS, most aren’t fully capable of supporting it today.
Why are fewer than half ready to make the switch? Because OaaS models involve higher, more challenging performance standards.
In order to maximize asset uptime, for example, field service companies need to invest in technology that can report on equipment in the field and troubleshoot problems remotely. Meeting this challenge means using such emerging technologies as machine learning, artificial intelligence, and IoT technologies.
Stat: 29% of respondents are currently integrating AI/machine learning into their service strategies.
Many service-centric organizations rely on field service management (FSM) software to leverage data gained remotely. When businesses connect IoT devices in the field to an FSM solution, the software can use predictive analytics to identify potential failure points and create service tickets for preventative maintenance—the “behind the scenes” secret to an OaaS model’s success.
Challenges in Transitioning to New Service Models
Too many FSOs simply wait to respond to customer service issues as they arise. In fact, 36% of our OaaS whitepaper respondents currently operate according to this break/fix service model.
This approach might resolve the issue at hand and satisfy the customer for the moment, but predictive service, enabled by emerging technologies, will soon replace reactive service.
Most survey respondents recognized an OaaS strategy’s benefits, including greater profit opportunities and improved customer satisfaction. But the majority struggle to overcome remaining challenges to fully delivering outcomes as a service.
Stat: 50% of respondents claim lack of sufficient data collection from products in the field is the most difficult challenge to delivering outcomes as a service.
Some of those obstacles include a lack of technology infrastructure in the field, insufficient inventory management means, and an inability to scale the model to engage a greater segment of field service customers.
But the primary challenge organizations must overcome is defining service level agreements (SLAs) around OaaS offerings. SLAs must be aligned with customer expectations, be achievable, and be profitable.
Stat: 48% of respondents have difficulty defining SLAs for profitability and pricing.
Let Customers Tell You About the SLAs They Want
According to our survey, customers most want maximized equipment uptime, followed by more detailed analytics of sensor-equipped assets. Both objectives form the foundation of an OaaS model.
“Many customers want ‘outcomes solutions’ but that means something different to each of them. How can we build/price/deliver outcomes offerings that are all different based on each customer?” – survey respondent
But clients may interpret the term “outcomes as a service” differently according to their own business context. So your transition strategy must include customer consultation and education.
As mentioned above, fully implementing OaaS will likely require investing in new technology. This investment will bring added value to your operations and your customers. If an updated service model changes your prices, you must educate customers so they fully understand the new value they’re receiving, such as extended asset life and reduced emergency maintenance spending.
To make an OaaS service model scalable, engage with not only customers already seeking this higher level of service but also those who haven’t yet shown awareness of it. When you do, you’re helping ensure your whole customer base is ready for the future of field service.
And education runs both ways! Invite customers to tell you about the biggest operating pains they expect a service provider to solve. Working together, craft SLAs to meet and exceed their expectations and to generate profit for your company.
FSM software can play a crucial role in helping businesses define and implement new OaaS SLAs. Using customer portals and self-service functions, FSOs can rely on rich customer engagement data within their field service management solution when optimizing SLAs for OaaS models. In addition, SLA planning features and automated maintenance scheduling help service-centric organizations meet their SLA targets.
With careful planning and the right technology, OaaS models bring value and ease of operation to both service providers and their customers.
Download the Astea-sponsored WBR Insights whitepaper “Defining SLAs to Support Maximized Device Uptime and Outcomes as a Service” to explore:
- The most difficult challenges to overcome when supporting the delivery of OaaS.
- How to define SLAs around OaaS offerings.
- Timelines of shifting service models.
- Integration of AI, machine learning and other emerging technologies.
- The role of customer education.
- And more!