Field Service in the Cloud: Solving the 5 Biggest Challenges of Field Service Delivery

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1 Field Service in the Cloud: Solving the 5 Biggest Challenges of Field Service Delivery The ServiceMax Whitepaper

2 Executive Summary The time has come for field service organizations to also reap the benefits from cloud computing or on-demand solutions. In fact, an on-demand field service management solution can solve the top five challenges you face today while gaining ROI almost immediately. This paper looks at these challenges and outlines how automating your field service processes enables you to minimize warranty leakage, customize service offerings, streamline parts management, and grow service revenue. You will: See how automating processes can help you solve your biggest field service delivery challenges. Discover from real-world case studies the cost reductions and revenue increases you can expect. Learn what options you have today to revolutionize your field service organization. Introduction Delivering superior field service is more than just a way to keep loyal customers. It s your opportunity to create a strategic revenue-generating center. And in a world of increasing competition, field service can be just the edge you need to gain market share. A top-performing field service organization must be able to manage complex processes that span multiple disciplines. This means visibility into technical support, technician scheduling, depot repair, installed base data, service contracts and warranties, spare parts logistics, third-party service partners, and business analytics. Field service teams need a system that accurately controls, monitors, and tracks all the activities that each individual, group, department, or partner in a service organization performs. Yet, only 10% of field service teams have any sort of field service management software in place today. Most of those are legacy, client-server systems are difficult and costly to maintain. The remaining 90% have tried to make due with a combination of home-grown systems and Excel spreadsheets. As a result, field technicians rarely have all the information they need at their fingertips and service operations suffer. The problem is field service has been long neglected by the software industry. Sales, marketing, human resources, financial, customer service, and internal support departments have all reaped the benefits of web-based cloud computing solutions. Cloud computing or on-demand uses the Internet as the mechanism, or the platform, to distribute applications making technology advances much more accessible and cost-effective than ever before. This delivery model means there is no hardware or software investment made up front as well as no disruptions or additional costs for software updates and upgrades. Customers often experience quick time to value, scalability to adapt as needs change, increased productivity and performance, access to latest technology innovations and both short- and long-term savings. Challenge #1: Giving Away Free Service Knowing which products are covered under warranty or the details of service contracts is critical to knowing what services customers are entitled to and which customers should pay for service. Most warranty or SLA information is buried within a proprietary order management system or you need to invent

3 Leading Supplier of Transportation Information Management Solutions Drives More Service Revenue with Customer satisfaction and loyalty was of concern due to lack of a unified system, which resulted in broken processes Needed a better solution for inventory usage tracking to meet customer demands Did not have IT time, resources or budget to build infrastructure for an on-premise solution Reverse logistics process was inaccurate and complex The company deployed an ondemand field service solution Increased service revenue with a higher percentage of installed base on maintenance contracts Reduced RMAs by 10% with better information on equipment returns manual processes to extract this information and put it into a spreadsheet; meaning it s slow and cumbersome. It s inevitable that you end up giving away free service on equipment that is no longer under warranty or you deliver service to a non-paying customer who might actually not be entitled to it. First, you need to make sure that when the work order is captured, critical information about the product, warranty, and/or service agreement is available to your field service team. If you maintain a complete record of every installed product at every customer site you know exactly what level of service is needed to repair or replace it. Product information can include: What product identification, serial number, lot number, and/or quantity Who customer, contact information, distributor When purchase, ship, and install date Where physical location and address How warranty coverage or service contract You can do this by either integrating with your back-office ERP systems or simply entering it directly into an easy-to-use, on-demand field service management solution. The solution should have complete integration to your existing order management systems and be web-based so that your field service team can enter data from anywhere, anytime. Now that you have detailed product information, you also need to capture warranty and service agreements. If your field service organization needs to stay flexible to meet customer demands, you will need to make sure that your on-demand field service solution enables you to define the various types of basic warranty and how entitlement is calculated. For example, warranty coverage can include parts, time, and/or labor. Warranties can also be driven by purchase, shipment, or install date. You can configure your solution to automatically apply the most relevant warranty for your organization. When a service request comes in, the customer support user can identify the customer and product to be supported with powerful search capabilities based on keywords or specific attributes search capabilities. If the product is out of warranty, an automatic notification prompts the user for automatic creation of warranty or entitlement if required. Customer service users can easily create or renew warranties or contracts to capture cross- or up-sell opportunities, saving time and generating revenue. The solution then keeps track of a complete history of service entitlements made to customers so management can easily view and analyze trends in grouped products, regions, or customer segments. Challenge #2: Inflexible and Out-of-Date Systems Managing service operations across multiple legacy systems and spreadsheets is cumbersome and complex. Your technicians in the field must login to VPN to access on-premise, client-server systems and sometimes can t even do that if there is no network coverage in remote areas. The result is they re often out of the loop with out-of-date information. Additionally, offering more services to customers gets tougher if it means major IT resources just to add another option for customers. If you re looking to win and keep customers based on speed and accuracy, then you deal with major systems headaches every day. Delivered by subscription, on-demand field service has major advantages over on-premise, client-server systems: rapid implementation, dramatically lower

4 Biotech Tools Company Gets Flexibility with an Solution A well-known biotech tools company began its search for a new field service solution. Multiple software solutions across the company that were not integrated Company has diverse product lines so needed flexibility to support multiple service offerings Tried to deploy on-premise field service system but failed because of autonomous nature of the company The company went with an ondemand field service solution Vendor was able to provide enhancements in hours or days unlike previous vendor who would take weeks or months Lower total cost of ownership with no hardware or software investment upfront Flexibility expedited the implementation and rollout Company was able to meet changing FDA regulatory data requirements maintenance costs, and ease of use. No longer do you have to keep expensive legacy or home-grown systems maintained by paying consulting fees. Anyone in your field service organization, and your extended partner team can access critical warranty, SLA, or customer history information anytime, using any mobile device. And critical IT resources are spared with the cloud computing model. Challenge #3: Lost Revenue When warranties or service contracts expire, you rarely take advantage of the opportunity to offer extended service plans to customers because you aren t notified in a timely manner. In some cases, competing service providers may swoop in and sell their services to your customers with expired warranties or contracts. If you measure how many active units are under covered under your service contracts or warranty, you would like to see that percentage increase as much as possible. Again, by ensuring that when customer orders are placed you collect information about the product, warranty, and/or service agreement then you can maintain a complete record of every installed product at every customer site. With an on-demand field service solution, you configure the system to provide proactive notifications when warranty periods expire. The can easily be set up with a click when the order is taken. Using dashboards and/or reports, you can pull up all products that will expire in a given amount of time to actively target those customers and sell them extended coverage. Service contracts can be worth anywhere up to fifteen percent of the original product purchase value this adds up to a lot of revenue. By retaining retain higher percentages of customers on your service contracts or warranties, you can capture additional service revenue. Challenge #4: Costly Inventory Write Downs Inventory is a huge investment, but necessary in order for you to run your service organization. Individual spare parts can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars each. Regulations may even require that you control individual spare part numbers by unique serial number or lot number. Poor spare parts inventory controls can mean inventory shrinkage or excess inventory buildup, which both drive up your costs. Automation is critical for effective inventory tracking and monitoring. By maintaining an accurate, up-to-date inventory record of every part at every stocking location, you know the exact value of your spare parts inventory. Automatic audit trails track all movements or stock adjustments so you know exactly when inventory value changes. You can also track by serial number or by individual part numbers to meet government compliance and regulatory requirements. Real-time inventory updates ensure that you know when defective parts have been returned so you can minimize leakage and writedowns. You can even track parts activities across service partners including parts usage, parts orders, and RMAs. Challenge #5: No Visibility with Service Partners Mostly likely, you rely on contractors or suppliers to help deliver your services. You might work with third-party service providers who take care of customers in remote areas, or assist during peak times or heavy vacation periods. You may even outsource all depot repair work. No matter what the roles your

5 National Water Treatment Company Empowers Service Partners with A national water treatment company began replacing and upgrading field service functionality that resided in an older ERP system. Needed a solution that could handle large volumes of service requests and warranty claims Solution had to be accessible by multiple contractors, dealers, and suppliers Company has diverse product lines so needed flexibility to support multiple service offerings The company implemented an on-demand field service solution Eliminated cost, maintenance, upgrade and integration concerns Rapid implementation and easy to use system No need to back up data since hosting from vendor takes care of back ups Effectively handles 2,000 warranty claims and 7,000 service calls per month Better reporting and visibility statistics Enhanced communication with contractors, dealers, and suppliers service partners play in your business, both you and your partners need visibility into and control of the information that is vital to providing stellar service to customers. Getting timely and accurate customer and service information out to partner teams is virtually impossible without an on-demand solution. Cloud computing makes getting complete and detailed information into the hands of your partners as easy as logging into the internet. An on-demand field service solution lets your partners manage everything from service requests, to contracts and warranties, to parts orders and RMAs, so they can deliver outstanding service on your behalf. Make it easy for partners across the globe to do business with you by using multi-currency and multi-language capabilities. By pushing out key information to your customers via a portal, you can enhance communication and mitigate potential channel conflicts. You can also view partner performance and profitability to get the most out of your partnerships. Transforms the Service Organization Today, you have the option of trying to make traditional, on-premise field service solutions work. This means you may end up: With no communication between most of your back-office solutions and other systems that contain critical data, like service contracts. Unable to get complete, real-time information to your technicians in the field or to service partners. Attempting to build your own solution to handle tasks like parts inventories or contract management. Extracting information into Excel spreadsheets, which are often out-of-date by the time the information is compiled. There s a revolution occurring in the field service industry due to automation and field service solutions moving toward a cloud computing model. Your IT burdens and high costs that have prevented you from streamlining operations are no longer an issue. You can implement and deploy an on-demand field service solution in as little as one week. A complete on-demand field service solution can tie systems together including warranty and service contracts, parts inventory, depot repair status, service partner operations, and other back-office systems into one field service solution for a complete picture of all service operations. It can automate processes to eliminate redundancy and reduce costs, as well as increase customer service and satisfaction. Why not explore your other option? ServiceMax delivers the first and only complete solution. Visit to learn more. (408) Copyright 2009 ServiceMax, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Designated trademarks and brands are the property of their respective owners.

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