Welcome to the Service Council's Smarter Services Podcast where Chris Gera and his guests will share real world lessons and experiences designed to help you build a successful service strategy, delight your customers, and make a greater impact for your business. Our goal is that you'll learn it, use it, and share it. In this episode Service Council's Chris Gera is joined by Arizona State University professor Thomas Hollmann, Executive Director of the Center for Services Leadership (CSL) in the W. P. Carey School of Business, for a discussion on the science of service...Listen Here
ServiceMax Inc. announced on February 27th that it has acquired collaboration startup Zinc Inc. in its first acquisition since moving under the wing of Silver Lake Partners LP.
I had the opportunity to speak with Stacey Epstein the CEO of Zinc following the announcement. Asked about the timing of this for ServiceMax Stacey shared: “I see this as ServiceMax wasting no time – the SilverLake deal just closed and ServiceMax is making moves already. This is just the first step in delivering a much broader, full service execution management suite.”
We discussed the power that Zinc offers as a mobile communications service that enables users and their companies to focus on “In The Moment” communications. Not only enabling field personnel to collaborate on their work using the usual messaging, voice and video features…the platform also includes several niche capabilities geared specifically toward field service operations.
One such capability is Zinc’s Hotline Groups mechanism. It enables workers to bypass their company’s internal support system when they require urgent assistance and directly contact the specific team best equipped to help them with the task at hand. Another specialized capability, Push to Talk, is essentially a virtual walkie-talkie that allows the user to communicate with many colleagues at once. The ability to connect in “real time” with peers to share tribal knowledge, key “how to” information and gain support without having to wait through hold and handle times in a centralize support center is empowering. We have heard from users in our community that they experience higher first-time fix rates, quicker resolution time and a lift in service employee engagement.
Why this move makes sense to us:
We asked Stacey about the future and incorporating emerging tech in virtual reality, augmented reality and artificial intelligence…she shared with the collaborative resources of the combined teams she expects to speed Zinc’s innovation cycle saying: “with things like AI and AR, and a lot of really interesting features and capabilities …that Zinc gives a great platform to speed the innovation in those areas.”
Zinc will continue to work with other field service management platforms and CRM systems including Oracle, Click, and Salesforce. Zinc and ServiceMax integration with the Salesforce platform will also be supported.
I believe this is a very smart acquisition by ServiceMax and has the potential to be a strong innovative addition to the technology portfolio for Service Leaders and Service Organizations. It will be interesting to see how ServiceMax is able to combine the two platforms in a manner that delivers improved speed and efficiency in outcomes for the field service staff by anticipating and linking communication to action in managing parts, sales and problem resolutions. Achieving this seamless connection has a potential unmatched in the market.
IFS and PTC announced a new global reseller partnership on February 21st. This move is interesting on several levels.
Why this move makes sense:
Collaboration in this space doesn’t occur often at this level and we are excited about the value proposition that this partnership will have on two very important operational aspects for Service Leaders and their brands related to service excellence and asset readiness. As the pressure on service increases from customer expectations and cost containment…efficiency, execution and delivering customer value remain top priorities.
Right Person, Right Part, Right Time at the Right Place…that’s a constant drumbeat that we hear from Service Leaders as they work to optimize their organizations to deliver outstanding customer experiences that are successful the “first time”! Service Customers want their service providers to help them drive uptime, with smart, predictave, JIT, effortless service resolutions. We believe this partnership could exponentially increase that “value-delivered” service outcome. Its interesting an offering that brings together the strength of PTC Servigistics® to deliver value combining with the IFS Field Service Management™ and including IFS Applications & IFS Maintenix™.
Too often a service executive must “choose” one versus another… while what they really want is to be able to employ the strengths that each solution provider brings to market. For that reason, we are very excited to stay close to the early adopters of this offering and will be sharing with our service community the capabilities and tangible results they can achieve with the combined power of these providers.
We will be watching this closely to see how the value is delivered as this moves forward into their customer systems and platforms. Assuming there are lessons learned from the ServiceMax relationship that will propel the PTC/IFS partnership further we would be encouraged to see additional connections across platforms where the combined offering delivers significantly increased value to the Service Organizations who employ them.
Questions which remain:
Will there be channel conflict issues which arise? We are sure there will be some rough edges as both companies figure out how to develop and deploy this integrated solution to the market and the customer. This innovative approach could spur others with these partners and perhaps across the providers that serve the Service Industry. Just as we focus on how best to deliver services to the end customer across different business segments, its exciting to see these providers refocusing and innovating to help those organizations win.
Does this increase real or perceived value from clients seeking an FSM platform and push IFS into lead position? Too early to tell…we will certainly be watching closely and evaluating what PTC & IFS learn along with sharing what we learn from companies who undertake and implement this integrated offering. We believe there is real value to be had here because the problem they are working to solve is very real to service executives working to deliver for their customers. The question we will continue to ask and evaluate is “Do clients find the integrated solution effortless to adopt and easy to integrate quickly and does it deliver value once up and running…?”
Will customers of other FSM solutions consider a move to IFS in order to gain additional value as result of the value presented by the partnership? As with any new offering there will be a period of adjustment in the market and those organizations who are currently evaluating a new FSM and associated platform now…will they be compelled to pause and evaluate how this partnered solution could unlock value for them. We believe it’s worth a look!