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6 field service trends to watch in 2022

The global field service market is continuing to grow at a quickening pace. In 2016, the field service market size was estimated to be $1.78 billion USD, and now that number is predicted to hit $4.45 billion by the end of 2022—an estimated compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 16.5 percent.1 Much has changed since…

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The global field service market is continuing to grow at a quickening pace. In 2016, the field service market size was estimated to be $1.78 billion USD, and now that number is predicted to hit $4.45 billion by the end of 2022—an estimated compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 16.5 percent.1

Much has changed since 2016. Say farewell to the days of disjointed, paper-based systems as those days have long sunset. Technology has forever positively changed field service management—from automating work orders and AI-driven analytics to harnessing the power of mixed reality to complete a job. And the evolution of field service isn’t even close to being over.

Many of the current trends are further improving the delivery of field service. Customers are often driving this change as expectations of what constitutes exceptional service continues to rise. To deepen customer loyalty, field service organizations will need to listen, stay nimble, and continue to innovate to meet these ever-changing, always rising customer expectations.  

With that in mind, there are a number of trends affecting the field service space. Some of these trends may be pivotal to whether some field service brands will flourish or fail.

According to one study, field service organizations will continue to explore contact-free or remote service as a whopping 75 percent of consumers dislike the idea of having field technicians in their homes amid the pandemic unless absolutely necessary.2 The idea of contact-free or remote service is not new, but it has quickly become a customer preference due to the pandemic. Field service organizations and their technicians are pivoting to accommodate customer expectations. What is new is that IoT, AI, and mixed reality have helped advance contact-free service, not to mention the added benefits of lowering service operations costs, travel time, and vehicle expenses. Plus, contact-free service promotes the health and safety of technicians—a valuable employee benefit.

2. Shift to automation

It’s not uncommon for field service operations to become bogged down in manually intensive processes. This means administrative workers are often tasked to handle the additional workload or frontline workers are faced with spending less time on critical service tasks like building relationships with customers. Backoffice operations can become overwhelming with managing customer expectations, parts inventory, juggling schedules, confirming appointments, submitting invoicing, plus fitting in that last-minute emergency service call.

This is where field service management software becomes a life ring to administrative workers. Jobs can be automatically scheduled and assigned to technicians by leveraging AI and rules. For example, the closest, most experienced technician can be automatically booked and dispatched without causing excessive disruption to existing schedules. As more and more field service organizations are faced with an aging workforce, optimizing scheduling is becoming even more paramount with fewer experienced technicians to dispatch. This trend in automated scheduling is expected to continue to optimize operations as more technicians retire creating a quickly shrinking talent pool. 70 percent of service organizations surveyed stated they would be burdened by the knowledge loss of a retiring workforce in the next 5 to 10 years.3

3. Proactive, predictive maintenance

Predictive maintenance uses AI, machine learning, and analytics to predict device failures before they happen. Predictive maintenance helps you take appropriate preventative measures to avoid device failures while decreasing maintenance costs. Predictive maintenance relies on predictive analytics, which uses historical data to match current behavior and make an assessment. Technicians can use IoT-enabled tools to proactively monitor equipment health, create alerts, and follow protocols to mitigate potential damage. If the same circumstances are occurring, the device is likely to fail again so a work order is automatically created and service is scheduled. Customers can opt for remote service and self-healing initially or can have a technician dispatched.

More and more field service organizations will move to predictive maintenance solutions as it anticipates client needs, reduces outages, and significantly decreases costs for the field service organization and the customer. It can also predict when it is the safest and most optimal time to perform the work, which is important when scheduling device downtime to coincide with off-peak working hours.

4. Self-service portals

Clients continue to demand greater transparency into their work orders and service requests. They want instant access to appointment calendars, the ability to track the technician enroute, and any other information to ensure operations are running well so they are well-informed. To this end, client self-service portals will continue in popularity by offering 24/7 online support, especially when a knowledge base, FAQ, and other resources are also accessible by the customer. Even now, 70 percent of customers expect a company’s website to include a self-service application.4

With self-service portals, clients can create service requests and share critical information regarding the device in question. The client can also view past service calls, including the technician who performed the fix, and get simple and routine questions answered without engaging a technician. Customers can even resolve issues themselves without needing to schedule a service call. Self-service portals empower the customer and this increases customer satisfaction, while reducing field service organization costs.   

5. Mobility

Technician access to mobile technology is now an essential tool rather than an option. Around 75 percent of field service organizations with 50 or more users have deployed or plan to deploy mobile apps in the future, and 60 percent allow employees to bring their own devices to work with them; however, only one fifth are currently using mobile devices in the field with the vast majority of field service organizations stating increasing mobility as a top or growing investment priority.5

With field service-specific mobile apps, technicians can get their schedule while on-the-go and receive turn-by-turn directions to the client’s site, avoiding traffic congestion and other delays. They can review the customer’s information and service record, and access knowledge articles, product guides, and other company resources to expedite the repair. Technicians can even use Microsoft Teams or other communication apps to reach out to more experienced colleagues for assistance, thereby increasing first-time fix rates. After the repair is completed, a field service mobile app should enable the customer to electronically sign off on the work order in that moment so the work order can begin being processed. Mobility drives technician efficiency in a manner that isn’t possible using pencil and paper. Watch this space as the importance of a mobile app with robust capabilities will continue to grow.

6. Mixed reality

Lastly, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the growing use of mixed reality within field service. Mixed reality has grown from science fiction entertainment to a versatile and necessary tool. Its influence and use can now be traced from onboarding and training new employees in a safe, virtual environment to reaching out and collaborating with more experienced technicians for guidance on a difficult service call. Mixed reality can even ensure the safety of technicians by conducting virtual fixes using digital twins, virtual inspections, and device audits.

As an example, Microsoft customer, Burckhardt Compression manufactures and services massive gas compressors. Maintenance is critical, but ships are often in remote locations and difficult to reach. Burckhardt Compression now uses Microsoft Dynamics 365 Field Service and Dynamics 365 Remote Assist so engineers can use mixed reality to quickly collaborate with ship technicians and provide specialized mechanical expertise. The company has successfully reduced costs, decreased its carbon footprint, and can now respond to customer needs in mere minutes instead of days.

Mixed reality app Dynamics 365 Remote Assist, complemented with a HoloLens 2 headset, provides hands-free capabilities, letting technicians access customer details, device information, and repair history using voice commands and hand gestures to navigate data presented in holographic form. For technicians in remote or dangerous locations, this functionality is particularly useful as the technician can resolve issues without having to hold onto physical mobile devices.

More experienced technicians can share their skills and provide guidance via shared holograms, but knowledge management is just one of the benefits. Mixed reality is a gateway to information about the resolution of the most common issues, with product guides available in hologram formats. Mixed reality can help better train new technicians, accelerate first-time fixes by tapping into the experience of more knowledgeable technicians, and promote better health and safety for front-line personnel. Imagine the direct impact mixed reality could have on customer experience and satisfaction, while boosting your organization’s business performance in an ever-increasingly competitive market. And I’ve only touched on a few of the advantages of using mixed reality.

The possibilities are limitless

These are just a few of the trends affecting change within field service. No other software arena is as exciting as this space as the possibilities are limitless. Each of these trends are customer-driven, yet each trend also impacts another to create an avalanche of technological change that will benefit the customer to meet their ever-growing demands—all the while differentiating field service organizations of tomorrow.

Field service management software like Dynamics 365 Field Service is leading the way by leveraging AI, IoT, and machine learning to deliver one of the most robust and innovative applications available. We continuously design and refine features to meet the needs of your field service organization and help you exceed customer expectations, increase loyalty, and revenue.

Learn more by visiting Dynamics 365 Field Service.

Read more on mixed reality and Dynamics 365 Remote Assist.

Sources:

  1. Field Service Connect
  2. CustomerThink
  3. Service Council
  4. Steven Van Belleghem
  5. Field Service Connect

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Accelerate sustainability progress and business growth with Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability — starting June 1

It’s a moment we’ve been building toward — new capabilities from Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability that will enable faster, broader transformation for organizations at varying stages of their sustainability journey. We are pleased to announce the general availability of Cloud for Sustainability on June 1. Now, a growing set of ESG (environmental, social and governance)…

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It’s a moment we’ve been building toward — new capabilities from Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability that will enable faster, broader transformation for organizations at varying stages of their sustainability journey. We are pleased to announce the general availability of Cloud for Sustainability on June 1.

Now, a growing set of ESG (environmental, social and governance) capabilities from Microsoft and our global ecosystem of partners will give organizations the opportunity to accelerate their progress and business growth.

Watch the video.

Turning sustainability commitments into action with better data intelligence

To stabilize our future and build more quickly toward a global net-zero carbon economy, organizations of all types, sizes and sectors are facing the need to transform common practices. This includes more effectively managing their environmental footprint, embedding sustainability through their organizations and value chains, and making strategic business investments that drive value. And this starts with solving a data problem.

Organizations need more accessible, centralized data intelligence to make the high-stakes decisions that are required right now to address complex issues, weighing both business and ESG criteria to direct capital toward investment opportunities that balance growth and impact.

Wherever organizations are in their sustainability journey, together, we can accelerate progress to reach our collective goals.

Microsoft is energized about helping our customers accelerate their progress. Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability solutions will provide the intelligence and data management capabilities organizations need to respond to changes with agility and confidence.

Building on more than a decade of work on sustainability

Our own sustainability journey began when we set our first carbon goal more than a decade ago. This led us to better organize our data and realign our company’s vision and strategy with our sustainability goals. We continue to build on our commitments to innovate and invest in technologies that address environmental sustainability and to transparently share our achievements and setbacks so that we can all learn together. We’re also considering how to deliver on our ESG commitments while continuing to grow our business and drive shareholder value — not an easy challenge!

Now, with the release of Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability, we’re bringing together powerful capabilities delivered by Microsoft and our partners to help organizations:

Unify data intelligence. To effectively drive sustainability reporting, sustainability efforts, and business transformation, organizations need better visibility into activities across their enterprise and value chain. Collecting and connecting IoT data from devices using sensors — combined with rich services at the edge or in the cloud — provides the basis to monitor and measure activities at scale. And now, Microsoft Sustainability Manager will empower organizations to more easily record, report and reduce their environmental impact through increasingly automated data connections that deliver actionable insights.

This extensible Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability solution centralizes previously disparate data in a common data format and offers organizations an increasingly comprehensive view into the emissions impact of their entire operations and value chain.

Sustainability Manager is available for a free test drive or to purchase June 1.

Build more enduring IT infrastructures. Organizations can reduce their environmental impact and increase business value when they replace tools, systems, or activities with more efficient options. Moving workloads to the cloud, for example, can increase both carbon and energy efficiencies. Emissions Impact Dashboard applications provide Microsoft customers with transparency into emissions produced from their use of Microsoft cloud services. Devices also contribute to an organization’s environmental footprint. Surface devices maximize sustainability of materials and extend product life while minimizing product carbon footprint and energy consumption.

Reduce the environmental impact of operations. With digital solutions delivered through Microsoft and our growing partner ecosystem, we’re already helping organizations maximize asset and production efficiencies, reduce the environmental impact of their buildings and spaces, and advance their transition to clean energy.

Create more sustainable value chains. Digital technologies are also helping organizations facilitate greater transparency and accountability through their value chain, from raw materials to product creation to distribution. A data-first approach can help organizations achieve data integrity and gain the visibility they need to drive efficiencies, reduce emissions and design out waste.

Learn more about how we’re helping organizations achieve positive impact on Microsoft.com/sustainability.

Global partners, a critical piece to extending impact

Much of this important work is being achieved through collaboration with our global ecosystem of partners who have helped us land our ambitions and transform our business. Today, they’re also pivotal to helping customers advance sustainability through robust, innovative solutions powered by the Microsoft Cloud.

Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability partner solutions span industries, from transportation to real estate to manufacturing, such as these early solutions that are already in market:

There are many more solutions coming. Our sustainability partner ecosystem also includes trusted advisers like these, who are actively helping organizations plan, design and implement strategies to enable sustainable growth:

Learn more about breakthrough work being done by our sustainability partners on Microsoft AppSource.

What’s next?
Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability availability coincides with Hannover Messe 2022. Watch for news and announcements around this keystone industry event — and stay tuned for additional solutions and capabilities.

Tags: Cloud, Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability, sustainability

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Facebook: Giving Senior Dogs Loving Homes

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Celebrating many identities within a global community of impact: An Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month conversation

Srinivas Prasad Sugasani: It’s such fun to connect with you on Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. As Asians and Pacific Islanders, I feel that we have so much to celebrate. At the same time, as we think about some of the events and realities that we have navigated recently, I’m curious from your perspective,…

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Srinivas Prasad Sugasani: It’s such fun to connect with you on Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. As Asians and Pacific Islanders, I feel that we have so much to celebrate. At the same time, as we think about some of the events and realities that we have navigated recently, I’m curious from your perspective, Jane, what do you feel is different about this past year?

Jane Hesmondhalgh: We’ve continued on our journey of working to create an inclusive culture at Microsoft. And there is still a gap between our aspired culture and everyone’s lived experiences today. For some, that gap may be small; for others it may be larger. But the fact that at Microsoft we have this value system we’re aspiring to is, I think, very much aligned to the Asian and Pacific Islander communities.

We’re consistently working toward respect, accountability and high integrity at Microsoft. I would say that our continued work to make progress is not so much different this year, but that we’re focusing even more effort on it.

Unfortunately, this past year we have seen the continued trend of acts of hate toward Asians globally. But the fact that Microsoft is strongly supporting the community in the face of those is super critical for the community. And that much-needed support is not a one-time event where we say something and then we’re on to the next thing. It’s the ongoing recognition that acts against violence, injustice and inequities across the world are unacceptable.

SPS: That’s right. We’ve also been focused on community education in the wake of this alarming rise in acts of hate and violence — how the community can leverage safety practices, and how can we work with the local government communities to increase safety.

JH: Our Inclusion Council has also been really engaged in these discussions. Other examples of sustained commitment to the community include the events we’ve done to engage with external experts in ongoing learning such as Microsoft Include, and of course the support of our Asians at Microsoft Employee Resources Group (ERG). I have heard from the community specifically that one of the most powerful things they’ve attended this year are our community calls, where people have had the opportunity to talk through how they’re feeling with others who may have experienced similar things.

SPS: Based on what we heard from our community, we’ve also been increasingly focused on how we strengthen and support the advancement of the ERG and its members at the company. I am really proud of how we’ve been working with outside experts on leadership development across the company, all the way from entry-level employees to the most senior in the company. This is the kind of year-round investment that is directly benefiting the community.

JH: I’m so passionate about this piece — the leadership education for Asians and Pacific Islanders. When I started as the sponsor for the Asians ERG, that was the No. 1 feedback, that the community wanted unique and tailored leadership education.

As we know, there are 4.7 billion people in this broad community across the world. Asians and Pacific Islanders make up 60% of the world population. That really strikes me. Because within that, there are so many different perspectives. So, a question for you is, how do we ensure that different types of conversations and perspectives from the entire community are brought in?

SPS: As you said — 60% of the global population! And we are trying to represent diversity within the community at that scale. It’s actually one of our strategic pillars in our ERG — including all community members. I think we’re doing a really good job with that. The leadership team has ensured that we include many voices, and as a result of that diversity of thought, we’ve seen new steps and actions being taken. For example, we had an Asians ERG art exhibition. We had a day of remembrance where people could talk about their practices, cultures, ancestors. We had a stand-up comedy event. And we’ve focused specifically on women inventors. Those are just a few examples.

So, focusing on the many dimensions of identity within our global community ensures that we can all share our experiences and learn from each other.

JH: This leads me to reflect on the word “community” and what does that mean? With a global team located all over the world, how do we bring everybody together in a sense of community? At Microsoft the community is a combination of people, cultures and beliefs. So, I think that community piece is our connection to the history across the Asia Pacific region. Within this vast land mass, we can appreciate and understand the differences and uniqueness of the people in the sub-communities and societies. We talked earlier about Microsoft’s culture and values. I think one thing that helps us is that Asian values around integrity and respect are very similar to the company’s. And then of course we go beyond respect to actually celebrating our cultures. Each of our ERG chapters and groups, each culture, is a contribution that is valuable to the world.

And these values are actually critical for the work ahead, right? This year, next year and beyond, we want to tackle the biggest problems that divide us as a society. And we’ve got that microcosm of society within our Asian and Pacific Islander community. We can play a huge role in landing the mindset of interconnectivity and learning both within and outside the company. Each person must be committed to driving positive change, be more intentionally inclusive in the workplace and build our empathy. With this, we can build momentum to meet the challenges of the world.

SPS: Well said Jane. As you’re speaking, I’m thinking about my own personal journey as well. Part of my life I lived on a farm in a small village. I experienced a community there where everybody looked like me, spoke like me with a very similar kind of language. When I lived in various cities, that was the first time I’d experienced people looking like me but speaking different dialects.

And then when I started working on a multinational level, I encountered people who had such a range of cultural differences from me. What I’ve learned is whether it is living in a village, in a small community or at the global level, human values remain the same. I’ve realized more recently that as things become more complex, more turbulent, and we do not know what future will hold, the constant is the values that we all stand for. And that is true across the Asian and Pacific Islander communities, and all across Microsoft and our nine ERGs and many dimensions of identities.

JH: You know, I never thought about it in this way but because you shared a little bit about your own background, I’ll share something about when we moved from the U.S. back to the U.K. In his new school, my son felt left out, and suddenly struggled with questions around “I am British, but do they think I am American or Chinese?” He didn’t feel that sense of belonging, and all these new questions of identity came up which he held to himself. Things did get better, but it reminds me that it’s all of our responsibility to help each other understand that while people are different, everybody has something to offer. People need to feel like they’re valued and that they can contribute without being judged.

SPS: It is so true. Thank you for sharing that. Are there any misperceptions about the Asian and Pacific Islander community that you would like to address?

JH: I’ve heard people say things like, gosh Asians are good at math and science, and they have an easier entry to STEM fields and occupations. I don’t know that I would ever categorize it as easier or not easier. There are many Asians who are not good at math and science, right? It’s a generalization, and there are a lot of these.

Another misconception is that because the Asian population is large, there are a lot of Asian leaders. But actually, the statistics have shown that we’re the least likely of all racial groups to become managers and executives. We need more role models and pathways to that senior level, which is where those development efforts we spoke about earlier come in. And of course, some other misconceptions came up during the pandemic around Chinese people.

So again, what combats these types of misconceptions and harmful stereotypes is learning and building our understanding and empathy for one another.

SPS: I absolutely agree. We will continue this work with the Microsoft communities and our leadership. I look forward to the impact we will make in the coming year. Thank you so much, Jane, for the chance to have this conversation. I look forward to our celebrations and recognition this month!

JH: Thank you, Srinivas! Happy Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month!

Tags: diversity, inclusion

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