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.