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Gartner Magic Quadrant for Field Service Management, 2012: Top Three Things You Need to Know

On October 17, Gartner published its annual evaluation of what it refers to as the field service management software market. Here are the top 3 most important things to take away from the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Field Service Management, 2012:

 
PRLog - Oct. 19, 2012 - On October 17, 2012, Gartner published its annual evaluation of what it refers to as the field service management software market. For anyone considering purchasing a new or replacement application in this market, this report – the Magic Quadrant for Field Service Management – is a critical part of the buying process.

To help you break down and make better use of the report,  TOA Technologies’ team of field service management experts provide their take on the top three most important things you should take away from the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Field Service Management, 2012:

1. Adoption of field service management continues to grow – especially in the midmarket

In this year’s report, Gartner predicted that the revenue for “packaged field service dispatch and workforce management software applications” will be $329 million by 2013 (note that this does not include service revenue).

Based on Gartner’s research, it’s clear that this growth comes in part from a continued rise in interest for optimizing and automating field teams, both for cost savings and customer good will. This “do more with less” theme emerged in 2006 and continues to be a driver for decision-making.

But here’s something new – these vendors are finally addressing the midmarket. It’s not only the large telecoms and utilities that are able to use the super sophisticated solutions or the two-truck tree-trimming service downloading a basic, free app. The cloud has had a lot to do with this – it’s enabled the more sophisticated field service management solutions to be scaled to the needs of midmarket, giving these businesses the opportunity to take advantage of the sophisticated and proven technology that was previously outside of their budgets.

2. Cloud is giving field service management a makeover

Like many other technology markets, cloud-based application providers are having their day in the sun, oftentimes resulting in head to head battles with the household technology names – in this case, SAP and Oracle. And many times, the cloud providers are winning.

For buyers in this market, delivery model should be a part of the evaluation process. But the question shouldn’t be, “Should we go cloud or on-premise?” Rather, the question should focus on which delivery model helps you achieve your business goals – speed of deployment, reduced IT overhead, easy access to software updates, etc.

Now that the cloud myths of reliability and security are squashed, it’s time buyers evaluate this delivery model for the potential benefits it could provide for the business. But keep in mind that not all clouds are the same – some on-premise software providers have tried to create their own cloud offering. As Gartner noted in the report, “Adoption of the cloud and SaaS offerings of traditionally licensed providers is lower than expected, while adoption of pure SaaS providers is robust.”

3. Mobile and social technologies are accelerating the speed of innovation

Back in June of this year, Gartner released research covering what it calls “The Nexus of Forces” – defined as social, mobile, cloud and information. According to Gartner, “Field service applications have the potential to more fully use these factors to drive greater customer intimacy, higher service levels and completely new service business models.”

As mentioned in #1 and #2, the power of cloud architecture is both helping field service management scale to benefit more types and sizes of organizations and impacting how buyers evaluate vendors. But if cloud is a powerful force in this industry, mobile and social are revolutionary.

In this year’s Magic Quadrant, it was clear that because of the on-the-road and on-the-go nature of businesses using field service management, this market is, and will continue to be, very malleable to trends in mobile and social technologies.

Mobile: Buyers should consider what has emerged as two different schools of mobile philosophies – browser-based apps (HTML5-backed) and installed apps (from some kind of app store). With cloud technology coming into its own, it’s influencing buyers to think longer and harder about how they’re going to install and then keep these solutions updated. And many are coming to the conclusion that they don’t want a whole IT team dedicated to installing and updating hundreds or thousands of devices out in the field.

Social: Consumer social media is influencing enterprise software, and cutting-edge field service management solutions are taking advantage of it. Gartner points to tools built into existing field service management solutions that help field users make more intelligent connections with their peers and stay better connected with the home office. This also has an influence on mobile – gone are the days where field employees would need a laptop, a cell phone and a toughbook. They can now use one smart device for all of their communications needs.

Bottom line – mobile and social advances are forcing vendors to a place where they can’t ignore the opportunities to innovate to meet market demand. Buyers should push vendors to clearly explain their short and long-term visions for incorporating mobile and social into their solutions for the betterment of field service management.

The Magic Quadrant for Field Service Management this year provided good information for buyers evaluating different vendors in the market. But remember – this is one tool that you can use to help make your buying decision. Ultimately, the buying decision should come back to you – your specific business goals and the technology that will best help you achieve them.

(Please note that while the TOA team and has frequent communications with Gartner analysts, this post does not represent Gartner analyst research. It is TOA Technologies’ opinion of the report).

About TOA Technologies
TOA Technologies is the leading provider of mobile workforce management applications. ETAdirect, TOA’s patented platform, improves customer service while dramatically reducing operational costs and delivering immediate and lasting return on investment. As the industry’s only complete on-demand solution, ETAdirect uses time-based pattern recognition and predictive analytics to provide the most advanced and accurate field service management application on the market. ETAdirect reduces customer wait times while increasing field workforce efficiency. TOA’s solutions are cloud-based, quickly deployed, highly configurable and easily integrated with existing CRM, ERP and other solutions.

Across four continents, ETAdirect manages mobile workforces for some of the world’s most recognizable global brands in the satellite/cable/broadband, telecom, utilities, insurance, home services and retail industries. Named Best of Breed and a Visionary in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Field Service Management, 2011, TOA Technologies is headquartered in the United States and has offices throughout Europe, Latin America and Australasia.

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