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ServiceMax acquires Zinc

by Chris Gera, Managing Director, EVP of Research & Insights, Service Council

ServiceMax zinc

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:

  • ServiceMax is specifically designed for field service, same as Zinc. A fact we have seen played out with companies who have attempted to adopt tools made for desk workers, Zinc is superior for field workers. Since they are already integrated, this provides ServiceMax with an enhanced collaboration tool around its transactional services.
  • This union could provide new ServiceMax customers some quick wins with Zinc just by introducing real-time collaboration, giving them time to consider the broader ServiceMax platform.
  • We know that there is an opportunity for these two systems to be seamlessly integrated in support of normal field service processes. Being able to tie Parts, Work Orders, Sales directly into the customer records originating from Zinc communications. That’s an innovation we want to see.
  • We heard from Stacey how they are considering creating new AI tools using the Zinc platform as the base to help guide field service technicians. For example, a chatbot that asks – “Have you considered this tool to solve this problem?”.
  • As many service teams need to address talent issues, such as shortages, aging workforce, or training pace, Zinc also allows its customers to analyze and visualize ongoing enterprise communications to discover experts and help drive engagement across organizations. By connecting service workers and enabling them to share real-time knowledge within the context of the task at hand, Zinc and ServiceMax together improve productivity, customer experience, and employee engagement.

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.

Filed under:  Field service mobilityField service workforce managementGlobal service strategyIT strategyOperational technologyService automation 

Chris Gera
Managing Director, EVP of Research & Insights,  Service Council

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