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With the imminent arrival of the latest version of our industry leading field service management solution, IFS FSM 6, I thought it timely to share with you some insight into our goals for this milestone release.

Before we get into the details, I would like to highlight an evolution that we have seen taking place in the world of service.  That is, the move to an experience economy.  Now, customer satisfaction is merely table-stakes, today we recognise that the ultimate driver of loyalty and customer retention is delivering a superior experience.

Given this backdrop, a fundamental guiding principle of FSM 6 was to ensure everyone receives a superior experience.  This is even more important when you consider that, as the most complete service lifecycle management solution in the market, FSM 6 encompasses a multitude of stakeholders, with varying needs.  Delivering on this “experience promise” for everyone required a gargantuan effort.

Internal Users

Let’s start with internal users.  It gives me great pleasure to announce a brand new, reimagined user experience (UX), providing the ability to interact with the solution via any device, using responsive technology that delivers an optimum experience whether on a smart phone or a 24” monitor.  Imagine pinching and zooming into a map of your service network on your iPad, selecting a task on a Gantt chart to open up images of actual on-site equipment or further expanding a dashboard to show real-time performance metrics for that unit reported by the IoT sensors installed.  All of this enabled as intuitively as opening up the calendar on your phone, and all from the comfort of your office, couch, train, client site, anywhere….

Dispatchers and planners are at the heart of the service equilibrium.  Such a critical role requires not just a better presentation layer or improved interaction patterns, but moreover, it demands near-instant answers to even the most complex questions.  Where in the schedule should we inject that emergency repair? What appointment slots do we have next Wednesday for our Platinum client? Can I achieve a 98% SLA given the current workforce size and makeup? These questions come from all quarters, but they all share a common theme—urgency.  With FSM 6 we have responded to this challenge with an increase in Planning & Scheduling Optimization (PSO) performance hitherto thought impossible.  This is further extended with our move to elastic computing models, meaning we can burst and shrink resource needs on-demand.

Stakeholders abound

As the most complete field service solution, stakeholders abound, and no one has been forgotten.  Let’s consider some external parties.  Subcontractors, third-party repair vendors, external logistics providers, dealers and of course, customers.  Each is now furnished with a designed-for-purpose web-based portal.  This means everyone is now able to harness the power of our holistic solution—encompassing the complete service lifecycle, whether repairing defective units in a depot, shipping replacement parts and products or looking to book a self-service appointment.

Customer Engagement

Talking of customers, we now incorporate a comprehensive customer engagement platform, IFS Customer Engagement (CE), enabling digital transformation of the customer experience.  Think CTI, Interactive Voice Response (IVR), a complete unified agent desktop, customers tracking technicians with automated estimated arrival times—in fact seamless automation of all inbound and outbound communications.  First impressions are ultra-important and IFS CE ensures each touch point along the journey provides for an optimum outcome.

Not forgetting dealers and distributors

In some scenarios, you are not the face to the customer, particularly in those business models which involve a dealer or distributor network.  With the IFS FSM 6 Dealer Portal, those organisations that carry out sales and/or service on your behalf are fully embraced.  From logging warranty claims for service performed, identifying and ordering replacements parts or checking prices, the dealer portal allows you to recognise the network as an invaluable part of your extended operation, once again ensuring that relationship is given the necessary tools to ultimately deliver a superior experience.

Procurement and deployment—the choice is yours

Understanding that selecting enterprise software is a complex and often daunting exercise, we also considered the buying and commercial experience.  IFS has always endeavored to ensure we are easy to do business with.  To that end, in terms of software procurement and deployment, with IFS FSM 6 we take choice to the next level.  Want to move to a complete Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model?  You can!  Prefer to evolve to the cloud via a managed cloud platform on Microsoft Azure?  No problem.  Perhaps a hybrid model?  Sure.  Or maybe you are most comfortable with the total-control that on-premise traditionally affords?  That is fine too.  Subscribe or license perpetually – with IFS FSM 6 it is about giving you choice, which again improves the procurement and deployment experience.

Given the leadership position we enjoy by having the most complete solution, it would be easy for us to rest on our laurels.  However, that would be both short-sighted and remiss.  As I stated at the start of this post, experiences are defining the next battleground for customers and that applies equally to our business as it does to yours.  As can be seen from the wide range of examples given above, it is our goal with IFS FSM 6 to ensure every touch point is optimum and every journey results in a superior experience.

IFS FSM 6: Delivering a superior experience….to everyone!


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Image credit: Photographer: serts

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