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The Future of Field Service Technology

The market for field-service management (FSM) software has surged in the last decade. Its sensational growth in the 2020s, accelerated by an unprecedented confluence of global events, economic trends, and innovation, is expected to continue for the foreseeable future. Industry projections for the coming years vary, but they all predict double‑digit annual percentages of growth and continuing technological transformation.

One report estimates that the FSM market will grow from $3.2 billion to $5.7 billion between 2021 and 2026. Another report says the market will reach $29.9 billion by 2031. While this is all great news for investors, entrepreneurs, engineers, and marketing teams, the story on the ground is different. What tech application really looks like As the market for FSM and enterprise resource planning (ERP) software has matured, the landscape has settled into a handful of very large companies and a constellation of smaller platforms all promising to help service contractors operate more efficiently and profitably.

Unfortunately, this seemingly endless (and growing) supply of “solutions” doesn’t solve the industry’s needs. Contractors often face the choice between clumsy all‑in‑one software or narrowly specialized platforms that don’t address real situations that service professionals see on the job. Bulky all‑in‑one options might do everything, but they rarely excel at anything.

Specialized software, on the other hand, sounds great. But too many contractors end up with an expensive, ponderous selection of best‑in‑class platforms that don’t work together. Field service technicians spend up to two and a half hours every day searching their tablets or smartphones for solutions to situations they encounter in the field. Whether its manufacturer’s specs, a product manual, a video tutorial, or regulatory data, the information they’re looking for is out there. Unfortunately, it’s widely dispersed and comes in a bewildering variety of formats, many of which aren’t compatible with each other or with technicians’ primary FSMs. Accessing and engaging with this critical information requires time, patience, and multiple applications. Many field technicians use as many as nine different apps in a single day just to complete straightforward jobs.

Along with time and stress, these ongoing ad hoc searches increase the risk of error resulting from:
• Inconsistent, incomplete, out of date or inaccurate data from third‑party sources.
• Manual data entry.
• Fatigue or confusion.

Worse, there’s no lasting value to the time techs spend tracking down information this way. If they find useful data on one app, it stays there. Another tech from the same company who encounters a similar situation will likely have to follow the same tortured process in order to reach a successful resolution.

The solution doesn’t become a part of the company’s shared store of knowledge and the stress and time‑sink associated with managing job information is perpetuated. Additionally, because of the individual nature of searches and learning styles, it’s likely that every technician’s results will be different. That introduces a lack of consistency and predictability that interferes with workflows on their side and can significantly reduce customer satisfaction and loyalty.

In an increasingly competitive industry facing a chronic labor shortage and the radical disruption of supply chains, neither option works anymore. The industry is searching for solutions that truly empower technicians, the people who are the heartbeat of field service.

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