I was on vacation last week sipping a Pina Colada by the pool (OK, wrangling toddlers is a more accurate description) when I read the news that Salesforce had acquired ClickSoftware. To me, this signals exciting times for any of us involved in the world that encompasses field service. A function that was once viewed as a cost-center, and often an afterthought, is getting its turn to be recognized as the wealth of opportunity it really is for any company.
I’m coming up on twelve years covering field service, and the evolution I’ve witnessed is something that I’ve personally found exciting for quite a long time (if you’d asked me if I’d find “field service” exciting before I happened into it, I’d have looked at you with a blank stare for sure – but I’ve grown to love it). I’ve witnessed a shift – slow at first and gaining speed – in how companies view and utilize field service. Last week’s acquisition, in my opinion, illustrates the fact that field service has arrived. No longer is it an afterthought or a necessary evil, but rather it has become a strategic arm of the business. A path to differentiation, a valuable way to delight and endear customers, an opportunity to grow revenue. Salesforce’s interest in ClickSoftware is validation of just how much potential exists in field service – not just for field service management providers, but for companies ready to embrace what field service can do for their businesses.
This excitement has been building for some time. At this year’s Field Service Palm Springs event, the buzz was different than ever before. Attendees were no longer skeptical of the need to invest to advance their service efforts, but ready to learn how to do just that. They were more excitedly sharing their strategies for becoming more strategic with field service and listening closely to hear what their peers are doing. The companies I’ve interviewed for the Future of Field Service podcast since we began in April are more passionate than ever before about where the industry is headed, the journey their organizations are on, and their personal roles in it all. I’m thrilled to be covering this space and to uncover along with you all the potential that unfolds in the next couple of years.
In light of last week’s news, and news yet to come, I’d urge you to work diligently to educate yourselves on the potential for your organization around field service as well as your various paths for reaching that potential. I’ve always been a staunch proponent of learning from your peers – I think hearing what people in similar positions in other service-based businesses are doing can provide greater value than any other form of content, which is why I’ve worked hard in my career to focus on providing exactly that. There are companies leading the charge in achieving the full potential that is field service – you can find a few examples here and here. Consuming content like this, attending events like Field Service and The Service Council Symposium, and looking for other ways to network one-on-one with your peers are some of the best ways to collect objective insights. As the hype around field service continues to build, which it will, the onus is on you to do your due diligence on the strategy, technology, and change management that will allow you to embrace the potential that exists.