ClickConnect Americas 2013—Mobility, Cloud, and Other Trends Transforming Field Service

Read P.J. Jakovljevic’s write-up of the ClickConnect Americas 2013 conference. You’ll learn about ClickSoftware’s technological advances toward empowering its customers to provide optimized services and the company’s multi-faceted expansion strategies, as well as the changes currently reshaping the field service landscape to enable the real-time service enterprise.

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Attending the ClickConnect Americas 2013 conference after a few years hiatus left me with the impression that the more things change the more they remain the same. ClickSoftware Technologies has certainly seen recent growth—with more than $100 (USD) million in revenues (estimated for 2013) and more than 550 employees—and its 2013 conference audience was consequently more sizeable (more than 270 including employees and press/media) than I remember, but its founder and chief executive officer (CEO) Dr. Moshe BenBassat is still invariably there at the helm and seems to be as motivated as ever. ClickSoftware remains the leading provider of software solutions for workforce management (WFM) and optimization both for mobile and in-house resources. In this report, I’ll apprise you of the company’s technological advances, aimed at empowering its customers to provide optimized services, and its multi-faceted expansion strategies, as well as recap the changes currently reshaping the field service landscape to enable the real-time service enterprise.

The company’s products for field service management (FSM) and resource optimization are aimed at the service sector, where the primary resources are people (e.g., service technicians) and their available time. This is in contrast to the manufacturing sector, where the primary resources are machines and raw materials. Another key differentiator from manufacturing is that a customerreceiving service is typically an intrinsic part of the service process, where the customer receives the service at home (or wherever agreed upon), while in manufacturing the customer is not required to be present during the actual production process. Thus, time utilization is critical for both the service resource and the customer, with the service provider not only maximizing the utilization of its workforce, but also striving to avoid the well-known scenario of a customer impatiently waiting at home for the service resource to arrive (the so-called “service guy” syndrome).

While other service management applications such as customer relationship management (CRM), enterprise asset management (EAM), and outage management systems (OMS) produce work orders to be executed, ClickSoftware’s products for WFM and service optimization (SO) focus on the fulfillment/delivery of these work orders in a cost-effective manner. In a way, WFM and SO are the flip side of CRM, EAM, and OMS. All of these systems combined may be categorized as an asset performance optimization (APO) offering.

In today’s highly competitive environment, ClickSoftware’s mission remains to enable service organizations to execute on their service commitments at the right time and place effectively and efficiently. ClickSoftware can achieve that goal by leveraging optimization and mobility technologies, as well as best practices for real-time ongoing management of customers' commitments and the organization’s resources. By so doing, ClickSoftware can improve the experience of its customers’ customers, maximize productivity and service revenues, and minimize the cost of service delivery. The end result is higher customer acquisition and retention as well as improved financial performance. During his keynote presentation at the conference, BenBassat showed a graph whereby utilities companies using ClickSoftware have, on average, a higher return on equity (ROE) than their non-ClickSoftware–using peers.

ClickSoftware’s products and solutions continue to incorporate best business practices, key business functions of service operations, and sophisticated decision-making algorithms—to enable the vendor’s customers to manage their service operations more efficiently. The vendor’s products for daily management are still the mission-critical applications that manage incoming jobs from the moment a job is opened until it is successfully closed, including generating the appointment time for the customer, assigning the job to the appropriate technician, designing the optimal route for the technician to minimize travel, and monitoring progress. Mobility solutions on smartphones, tablets, and laptops are nowadays also part of the offering aimed at ongoing real-time optimization of customer response and at increasing the productivity of technicians, supervisors, managers, and executives. ClickSoftware’s solutions have become the backbone of service operations management in about 250 leading large-scale organizations worldwide by addressing the fundamental question of job fulfillment: Who does What, for Whom, with What, Where, and When (the so-called “W-6” concept).

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