4 Stages of the IoT Value Chain for Field Service

12/13/2019 / Digital Transformation / Katia Loboda

Engineer holding a tablet checks a robotic arm in an intelligent factory setting.

According to IoT Analytics, the global number of IoT devices now exceeds 7 billion and is expected to reach 22 billion by 2025. The benefits of IoT bring the potential for field service organizations (FSOs) to transform their business models and create new high-value revenue.

But moving up the IoT value chain requires more than just connecting equipment in the field. It means using those connected devices to leverage data on platforms and applications that enable both your FSO and your customers to achieve higher performance standards.

Core operational benefits for service organizations that successfully implement IoT solutions include:

  • Remote diagnosis equipment performance
  • Proactive and predictive responses with reduced time to resolution
  • Improved adherence to SLAs
  • Minimized equipment downtime
  • Frictionless team collaboration and knowledge management
  • Improved technician productivity

To realize these operational benefits of IoT, FSOs will need to advance through four key stages in the IoT value chain.

Stages of the IoT Value Chain for Field Service

The four stages of IoT implementation are:

  1. Female and male engineer wearing safety gear looking at real-time monitoring field service software on a computer.Connect
    This is the requisite first step that establishes two-way communication between assets in the field and data processing technology. A direct data feed from field equipment turns physical assets into operational and business intelligence tools.
  2. Control
    To make this data stream valuable, there must be a layer of software that interprets the data so that your company can act on it. In the field service context, this may be a solution that enables equipment performance modeling and remote diagnostics. For example, your team may receive an alert when temperature, pressure, or lubricant levels are outside of specifications.
  3. Analyze
    The analyze level may include a partnership between machine learning programs and your resource planning personnel. By comparing parts usage, error codes, purchasing, and other data from your end-to-end service operations, machine learning solutions can predict optimal inventory levels, required technician attributes, man-hours, and more.
  4. Optimize and Build
    The build and optimize step puts the business intelligence captured in the previous analyze step into practice. Internally, rich customer and operational data insights will allow your FSO to adopt digital tools that empower technicians and back-office staff to perform their roles with greater efficiency and expertise. This may include remote access to searchable knowledge bases, customer preferences, asset histories, repair guides, and more. Completing the build and optimize step also entails creating new value for customers. By using customer and equipment data, FSOs can build client self-service systems allowing customers to order their own parts, schedule service, upgrade service contracts, and otherwise play a greater role in their own service experience.

What Does IoT Powered Service Look Like in Practice?

With the connected field assets transmitting a constant stream of data to your field service management platform, your team can remotely troubleshoot equipment issues and minimize downtime.

Take an IoT-equipped HVAC system as an example. Machine sensors submit a constant stream of performance data points to the control, and analyze layers of your IoT infrastructure. The software layer flags a pressure reading outside of specifications and creates an alert that an air filter may be clogged or malfunctioning. The software automatically generates a high-priority work order and sources the proper parts and technician to resolve the issues on the first visit.

By combining rules-based performance analytics, parts availability, and technician attributes, IoT systems empower service teams to proactively address equipment performance issues. Some service companies may also choose to make this same data available to clients through customer portals. Customers can then order their own parts and schedule maintenance, reducing the administrative duties of the FSO.

The Business Benefits of Field Service IoT

According to the American Enterprise Institute, only 12% of S&P 500 companies from 60 years ago are still in business today. This underscores the importance for enterprises to constantly reinvent the value they offer.

As per Astea sponsored IoT Webinar, 42% of FSOs have already incorporated IoT into their operations to deliver higher-value service offerings.

By deploying intelligent software applications that utilize real-time data to provide proactive and personalized services to clients, you too can move up the IoT value chain. Not only will this enable your FSO to deliver best-in-class service, but you can also reap numerous business benefits including:

  • Improved customer satisfaction levels leading to greater customer retention and repeat business.
  • Increased revenue opportunities through new service models like predictive service and outcomes as a service (OaaS).
  • Reduced operational costs through inventory optimization, more first-time fixes, fewer truck rolls, and smarter scheduling.

Moving up the IoT value chain to improve internal service operations and strengthen the customer experience will be pivotal for service organizations to remain competitive in the years to come.

To learn more about the IoT benefits for field service management, download the Astea whitepaper today.

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