ServiceMax Brings Field Service to the Cloud

Mobile, Collaborative Applications Enable Technicians to Work at Peak Efficiency

Thanks to Hacienda newcomer ServiceMax, field service management is no longer a technologically fragmented sector.

Thousands of companies have technicians out in the field doing all kinds of service work on devices as diverse as copiers and medical imaging systems, explains Jeremy Frank, ServiceMax Marketing and Community Manager. "They have a many, many details to track, and they need all kinds of information to do their jobs well," he notes. What has been lacking, up until now, is an over-arching system that integrates all requisite data, functions, and actions connecting customers and field service personnel.

"ServiceMax is changing the game by delivering cutting-edge innovation to field service," Frank continues. Its complete suite of cloud-based, collaborative, and mobile applications "ensures a finely tuned operation" that allows field service providers to perform at the highest level-"spoiling customers without spoiling profits," as the company website notes.

The typical service call scenario involves a cluster of inter-related activities, from verifying customer entitlements and warranties to scheduling and workforce optimization to inventory and parts logistics. ServiceMax replaces "old-world" spreadsheet management and information silos with cutting-edge technology, streamlining the process and significantly boosting efficiencies, right down to equipping technicians with turn-by-turn driving directions to the customer site.

Field service personnel can take advantage of mobile applications on the iPad to communicate with experts when they need help resolving an onsite issue, such as a complex repair. Simply pointing the camera at the problem and starting a video chat provides real-time access to "the collective intelligence of the company," fostering new levels of collaboration and productivity, Frank points out.

The ServiceMax suite also provides visibility into each site's service history, which can be critical in maintaining positive provider-customer relationships. For example, a technician who has records of past repairs at his fingertips can assess the nuances of a current situation and make an informed recommendation to replace, rather than fix, a troublesome component.

The founders of ServiceMax had been developing custom software when they realized there was real opportunity to reinvent the field service sector. In 2007 they created ServiceMax, building the system on the platform from "One of our big differentiators is that we are cloud-based, which is relatively new for field service," Frank observes.

These selling points have "really resonated with both small and big enterprises," and the past year has seen "massive" growth for the company, both inside and out. In April ServiceMax moved from Santa Clara into offices at 3825 Hopyard Road to accommodate an expanding head count and create an easier commute for East Bay employees. The 8,200-square-foot Pleasanton site accommodates approximately 25 staff working in product management, marketing, customer support, business development, and professional services, while an office in Bangalore, India, houses most engineering functions. A handful of employees works remotely from elsewhere in the United States.

The budding company is also building a strong corporate culture. Each week on "Orange Thursday" a different employee team makes creative lunch arrangements for the entire office. The options have ranged from barbecues to a session at the Pleasanton Sports Park playing football. On Mondays the entire company gets together for updates from the CEO and employees who want to talk about their projects. "It's very interactive," Frank relates, concluding, "we're building up a tightly-knit community."

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