David F. Giannetto, COOHow do Internet of Things, augmented reality and artificial intelligence impact field service management? These new technologies are driving innovation in the service management software industry and transforming traditional expectations. Turning new ideas into reality to benefit their global customer-base is a main driver for Astea International, a provider of full lifecycle field service management solutions for enterprise companies and services organizations.
“To improve revenue and profit in today’s increasingly complex and competitive environment, service-driven organizations need a partner that goes beyond just the implementation of software—they need a partner who helps them think differently about the role service plays in the overall success of their company,” says David Giannetto, COO of Astea International. “We combine both the technology and methodology necessary to help our clients understand how to improve efficiency, drive revenue and deliver a great customer experience, but also provide the insight into how today’s best service-organizations are differentiating themselves.” Astea’s consultants step in as trusted advisers to help their clients understand the ROI associated with different approaches, helping combine the different pieces of an organization into one coherent picture. At Astea, the service lifecycle that is supported by their technology starts with the identification of a sales opportunity and carries through account management, customer service, scheduling, dispatch, work order completion and invoicing— perhaps the most complete view of service management.
Astea is leveraging 37 years of industry expertise to understand what is unique about their clients’ organization, and then layer that into proven, best practice business processes. “Once our clients are up and running, we continue assisting them to leverage all aspects of our solution and drive transformative change within their company,” explains Giannetto. This also means a real transformation for technicians—the way they act and behave has a direct impact on the reputation and overall image of the company. “Our technology enhances both the technician’s knowledge and their behaviors. This not only improves key service metrics such as first-time fix rate, but also the overall relationship.”
Astea's technology is unique in its ability to both revolutionize a company’s service model and radically improve a technician’s performance
To build this into their solutions, Astea relies on the extensive experience of their employees who see firsthand what is happening in the industry, as well as direct feedback from their global customer base. “These new methods are constantly analyzed and once their value is demonstrated, they are incorporated into our software as new best practices,” explains Giannetto.
Astea recently deployed their end-to-end service management suite, Astea Alliance, within a pan-European company that historically gave full autonomy to their technicians. While this autonomy was great for the technicians, it made the company’s service organization highly inefficient. The Alliance technology enabled them to reinvent both their culture and methods, reorganizing operations around a centralized dispatch center supporting multiple countries while also improving technician productivity from 65 percent to over 80 percent practically overnight.
Giannetto sees three major evolutions in field service driving their technology roadmap: the change from the traditional preventative maintenance cycles to an event-driven relationship where increasingly smarter devices trigger service activities as needed; the growth of third-party technicians to augment a company’s workforce, while still providing the same effectiveness, efficiency and customer experience; and an intense focus to use new technology—augmented and virtual reality, artificial intelligence and machine learning—to make an increasingly younger workforce more effective in the face of increasingly diverse services, assets and systems. He concludes, “It is our responsibility to provide a platform that makes these fundamental changes in our industry a reality for our clients—to create concrete benefits for them.”