Field Service companies reveal their biggest challenges and bright spots in IFS State of Service 2023 research 

The pressure to satisfy SLAs, a shortage of experienced people, and the need to achieve technological superiority: In the IFS State of Service 2023 report, Field Service firms share their top difficulties and bright spots.  

    • Technology excellence has surpassed customer experience as the most important competitive difference. 

    • As the key focal area, sustainability takes the lead.   

    • Almost half of respondents (46%) struggle to satisfy client SLAs. 

IFS, the worldwide cloud business software firm, has revealed the findings of its global research study*, which identifies the top issues and important focus areas for field service organizations over the next 12 months. The findings underscore the enormous friction that exists between opportunity, skills, and technology in order to outrun market upheaval.  

Technology excellence has surpassed customer experience as the most critical competitive differentiation in field service. Nonetheless, with almost half of respondents (46%) saying that their organizations continue to struggle to maintain service level agreements (SLAs) and 37% citing old or inadequate technology as a recurring constraint, there is a clear technological gap that has to be filled. 

Field service organizations are under significant pressure to not only fulfill customer obligations, but also to remain competitive and achieve future sustainability goals, when combined with the other top concerns of a skilled workforce (40%), change management and user adoption of new technology (37%). The latter is now the most important future-oriented endeavor, closely followed by modernizing outdated service management systems and harnessing new technologies. 

Field service organizations acknowledge the advantages of digitization.  

Since 2018, there has been a noticeable increase in technology use and key investments. According to the 2022 research, the adoption of Artificial Intelligence (AI) has more than doubled, from 22% to 46%, Reverse Logistics has increased, from 25% to 54%, and the installation of Chatbots has nearly quadrupled, from 11% to 44%.  

Respondents claiming technical supremacy (29%,) as their most critical distinction has quadrupled since 2018, surpassing customer experience (26%). This trend demonstrates how businesses recognize that failing to invest in the correct digital technology puts them at danger of becoming outdated in a highly competitive market defined by disruption. 

Emerging Service investments and expected adoptions  

Furthermore, while technology is driving investment trends, some of the considerations point to a continued focus on the customer experience, with FSM technology solutions ranking highest in terms of planned adoption being: Remote Assistance (44% of respondents planning to implement), Wearables (44%), Knowledge Management (42%), Simulations (41%), Scheduling Optimization and Automation (40%), and Customer Self-selection (40%). 

Marne Martin, President, Service Management, IFS commented:  

“Our latest State of Service study paints a vivid picture – while customer centricity remains high on the agenda, the realization of the importance of technology as an enabler has become much clearer. Success is, however, dependent on the ability to orchestrate people and skills alongside market dynamics and customer demands for consistency in service. 

“In an economy of scarce resources and rapidly rising costs, remaining competitive is based on modern service management tools that can help companies serve customers more efficiently. 

Marne Martin, President,  Service Management concluded, “Having the right technology has never been more vital than at the moment that organizations interact with their customers, provide services and deliver their best: in their Moment of Service”. 

The State of Service 2023 Global Report includes insights and guidance from some of the world’s most creative business and service executives from manufacturing, telecommunications, utility, and service provider firms, in addition to the study findings. 

To learn more, download the State of Service 2023 Global Report

*The research was conducted by Mindforce Research, polling 400 senior-decision makers in Field Service across North America, Western Europe, the Middle East, and Asia Pacific. It is the third State of Service study commissioned by IFS, following versions in 2018 and 2020. 

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