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January 24, 2024 | 8 Mins Read

The State of Service in 2024

January 24, 2024 | 8 Mins Read

The State of Service in 2024


Sarah shares her thoughts on what will take focus in 2024 for organizations focused on field service.

Sarah Nicastro: Welcome to the Future of Field Service podcast. I'm your host, Sarah Nicastro. Here we are in January of 2024, and I am once again being asked to predict what will come in the world of field service this year. I've shared before that the idea of predictions, I find a little challenging because I just know that none of us can really predict the future, but I'm always asked my thoughts and happy to share. So we'll say with that caveat, well, certainly I can't predict what's to come. I'm going to talk about some themes here, four themes that I think will really be key to the service landscape in 2024. 

I'm going to do these at a high level, but I am hosting a webinar next Thursday, February 1st at 10:00 AM Eastern Time, with some wonderful guest speakers. I have Roy Dockery of Flock Safety, Tom Mills of Field Solutions Group, and Bob De Caux, who is the resident AI expert at IFS. And they're joining me for a very informal open forum conversation where I'm going to ask them what they think of these predictions and have them give their thoughts on what they see to come as well. So we'll put the link in the show notes, but be sure to join us for that. I think it'll be a nice dynamic chat more so than just me talking to myself. 

So the first thing, obviously I would be remiss to not mention is the AI buzz. And I think what we're going to see in 2024 is that buzz turning into action. It was interesting to me to be attending events with service leaders throughout 2023, the mixed emotions around the topic of AI. Some of them were really genuinely excited about it and had some strong opinions on the role it will play for their organizations. And others I think were honestly sick of hearing about it and feeling that there were more important topics to be discussed in the content they're reading, the sessions they're attending, et cetera. So a mixed bag, but the buzz was there nonetheless, and it remains and with good reason. 

I shared in a conversation a couple of times last year that to me, this wave of AI and what's possible is the next really foundational shift in the way we work. So digital transformation was the first, and I would say maybe getting a handle on data the second, although some still haven't done that. And putting that data to use and really looking at what's possible with AI and automation today, I think is what the focus will be going forward. So the thing about AI is it's a pretty vague term. There are a lot of AI based technologies, some of which have actually been in use for a very long time. And I think it's important when we think about the AI buzz and the AI action we need to take, grounding that in what will be and what can be valuable to the business. Anytime you see a technology that takes over the headlines like this, you have a lot of people that feel they need to jump on the bandwagon, and they do that in a very rushed way that ultimately can hinder their success rather than contribute to it. 

So I think yes, the buzz in my opinion is warranted, but really leading with what are you trying to accomplish? What are the areas of opportunity and the biggest challenges for your business and how does this fit into that is more important than rushing out and doing X, Y, or Z just because it's trending and it's cool. So I think it'll be really interesting to see how companies really dig into what has been buzz and they look for the opportunities to take action with technologies that truly are ready for primetime. I think it's more so a matter of business readiness. So is the business ready for it? Is your workforce ready for that amount of change? Is your data infrastructure ready to be leveraged in the way that it can, et cetera? So again, next week during the webinar, Bob De Caux will be on and he's going to be talking a little bit about some of those readiness indicators. Also, how to assess what the best fits are, et cetera. 

So the second theme I think is around leadership. And I see that this year and moving forward, I think a lot of old school leaders are going to be ousted. And I want to be clear, when I say old school, I do not necessarily mean age. I mean more so mindset. If you've seen any of the content that we have published recently with Carolyn from Vattenfall, that type of thinking that people first mentality, leadership and action, I think is really the wave of the future. Obviously, some organizations are already there and have been there, a lot aren't. A lot have really leaders in place that have quite outdated opinions and methods and practices and beliefs. And I just don't think that with the talent landscape being what it is, with the customer expectations that we're facing, that we can afford to allow that type of old school leadership to persist. 

So Roy, who's speaking on the webinar next week, actually is publishing his very first book, and I'm excited. My copy is in the mail. It should be here before next week. So we'll be able to talk a little bit about that. But this concept of leadership is something that is incredibly important to him. So I'm really interested to get his take on just how quickly will this evolution shift. Just because I think that we're going to see progress in this area, it doesn't mean that I think every old school leader will be eradicated by the end of 2024. And also there's a lot of complexity to that. Carolyn shared in the session we did in Stockholm, she had the no policy, but how hard that was to actually put action behind because it's something that people support in theory until it becomes a reality that is more layered and complex to make those decisions. So I'm interested in that topic and that conversation. 

The next theme is around how customer experience will demand service silos dissipate. So this is something that we've seen happening. Mark Hessinger from 3D Systems was on the podcast a while back. He was talking about his shift even in title from customer service to customer success and what that represents for their business. We had Bob Feiner from Dell on a while back talking about think rings, not trophies. So we've seen this start. 

I think that the way service is evolving, it's going to become more and more prominent because one, I think customers are going to tolerate even less, the disconnectedness that does still exist in a lot of organizations. And two, we talk about the world of outcomes. Ultimately, I think they're going to look for more and more integration of those things and more and more of a really landscape view of how service providers can assist them in their business objectives, which I think is just again, going to really reinforce and expand the need for companies to break down those silos. 

Electrolux is another example. We've done quite a bit of content with Electrolux because their service transformation is something that is based on them deploying IFS technology. But that service transformation is just one piece of a bigger company objective around customer centricity. So I think things like that, that really fundamentally change some of the organization of processes within and technology used by organizations, we're going to see more of that. 

And finally, the role of the field technician will begin to be redefined. We've seen this coming, but it's one of those things where because there are short-term talent challenges, it's really easy to say, "Yeah. Definitely it's changing, but let's just worry about right now." I think we're going to start to see some of those changes really take shape, and we're going to see some of the organizations that are leading that charge having to figure out what this means and what this looks like. When we talk about AI and automation, there is just no way that we don't end up having to really dig in and take a look at what the service function means, what its core value proposition is, how it's delivered, and what that means in terms of how it changes the makeup of our talent. 

So there's again, plenty of examples of this. Tony Black of Husky, he was on the podcast this past year or last year I suppose, and he talked about their move to Predictive, ultimately a change in service delivery model. And I think it's a really good example to go have a listen to, but it is just one piece. There's a lot of things driving this evolution around what is a field technician? What do they do? Does that role become multiple roles? How much of that role is replaced by AI? How much automation will customers tolerate? What aspects of human centricity are imperative to maintain? And is it the field technician that does that or is it someone else? Is it more of a sales role? Is it more of a customer success role. So there's a lot of interesting things to talk about here. 

And Tom, who will be joining is his firm, the Field Solutions Group specializes in talent acquisition, and they do a lot of primary research. So they have a lot of things that we can dig into to talk about that topic a little bit more. So those are the four, if not predictions, areas that I think are going to be top of mind for everyone in 2024. Obviously, you will see those things represented in the content that we create here at Future of Field Service, and you can stay tuned for conversations around these things and taking a real world look at how companies are changing or where they're struggling to change, et cetera. 

And as I mentioned, if you have an opportunity to join us next Thursday, February 1st, I think it will be really a good opportunity to test my theories with some people that I respect a lot, their insight and ability to bring some interesting things to the conversation. So stay tuned for more here. Join us at the webinar if you can, and I will look forward to seeing you next week. So we'll put the link to the webinar in the notes. You can find all of our podcasts and other content at The Future of Field Service podcast is published in partnership with IFS. You can learn more at As always, thank you for listening.