Leveraging Microsoft’s Connected Field Service capabilities to transform your business

Feb 16, 2017   |   Microsoft IoT

Digital transformation is causing tremendous shifts in how manufacturers do business. Leading firms are moving toward selling services instead of products[1], turning what used to be an expensive operation – fixing failures in the field – into the cornerstone of a successful, high-margin business.[2] This approach, known as servitization, decreases operational costs, creates new, recurring revenue streams, and enables manufacturers to differentiate their offerings from competitors’ solutions. But shifting from a “product-based” to a “service-based” business isn’t just about improving profits – it’s also about providing customers with better outcomes, greater reliability, and reduced risks. For more and more manufacturers, servitization is essential to embracing digital transformation and generating new value for themselves and their customers.

Connected Field Service enables a seamless shift to successful servitization

With Microsoft Connected Field Service, a fully integrated IoT enabled “field service” solution that leverages Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Field Service, it’s possible to transform service from a siloed source of cost into a consistent profit driver. Connected Field Service enables companies to easily and successfully navigate the five key steps to servitization, which can dramatically improve first-time fix rates, reduce onsite appointments, increase profits, and enhance customer outcomes. Here, we’ll walk through the basics of how companies are embracing servitization via Connected Field Service:

1. Utilizing quality field service management software is the critical first step for every organization. Great software enables companies to enhance the management and delivery of their services to a diverse set of customers. With Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Field Service and it’s advanced field service capabilities, it’s easy to integrate scheduling and routing, inventory, invoicing, training and knowledge, customer information, and more. The best field service management software goes a step further into optimization, maximizing appointments per day, and improving customer satisfaction and organizational productivity. It also boosts first-time fix rates by aggregating and distributing critical data so that individuals across the organization have access to the latest insights from the field.

2. Connecting smart devices and assets to field service software enables companies to leverage the latest Internet of Things (IoT) technology to enhance operations. Leveraging IoT connectivity is where operational productivity begins to escalate quickly.  With this approach, many issues can be repaired remotely and with minimal human intervention, resulting in cost savings and ensuring that technicians are sent only when necessary. Achieving these benefits requires seamless integration of IoT technologies with Connected Field Service. Using software like Microsoft Azure IoT Suite and Dynamics 365 for Field Service, companies can quickly and easily connect devices and start using IoT data to make more intelligent service decisions.

3. Integrating service across an entire a company provides field service organizations with a true competitive advantage. A single platform gives technicians the ability to identify opportunities in the field and request follow-up from sales – uniting field service, customer service, and the sales organization. It also ensures that technicians have a full 360-degree view of customer cases so they have all relevant information before they arrive on-site, increasing the first-time fix rate. A comprehensive service approach is more than just collaboration between different business units – it’s a mindset of ensuring a continuous, cohesive customer experience and empowering employees to gain visibility into the entire customer journey.

4. Leveraging machine learning is critical to field service because it enables predictive maintenance  – fixing problems before they arise or can cause disruptions. Machine learning can deliver benefits in many related scenarios as well. For example, by applying insights from machine learning, firms can order inventory more efficiently, schedule technicians more effectively, and understand which products are out-performing and under-performing, and why. But the primary application of machine learning – empowering companies to know when service is needed via predictive maintenance – provides a tremendous competitive advantage when it comes to reducing costs and maximizing field service efficiency.

5. Enabling field service to power innovation is another example of how field service can help firms differentiate themselves. Product and service innovations come from customer insights, from the actual use of products and services beyond the feedback customers volunteer.  The tribal knowledge of field service technicians can also be used to uncover trends and best practices – using smart devices and machine learning to capture, aggregate, and analyze field service technician’s repair notes, firms can enable the wisdom and expertise of their employees to power ingenuity. Connecting a 360-degree view of customer interactions across channels, product telemetry from connecting smart products to field service, and observations from service technicians gives field service organizations multiple new catalysts for innovation. With those powerful insights, service organizations can transform many maintenance problems into predictive, preventive solutions.

Get started today

Microsoft is helping manufacturers embrace digital transformation and compete in the age of servitization. Businesses that want to stay competitive can’t afford to wait – one out of every four field service operations is already generating new revenue from servitization. Learn how you can expand your services and enhance customer relationships with Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Field Service, Microsoft IoT Connected Field Service capabilities, the five steps to successful servitization, and Microsoft Azure IoT Suite can transform your service organization today at www.InternetofYourThings.com.

[1] Aberdeen Group, State of Field Service Market

[2] Aberdeen Group, Service Revenue: Unearth an Untapped Stream of Dollars


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