Sitting within the existing SAP Service Cloud portfolio, the new SAP Field Service Management (FSM) solution, formerly known as Coresystems, brings best-of-breed field service capabilities to its ‘next-gen’ CRM suite. It strong features and functionality, some unique in the market, have earned the company a place in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Field Service Management for the third time.
A ground-breaking acquisition
When SAP acquired Coresystems in June 2018, it marked a significant step in the recent evolution of their Customer Service product roadmap, which has, admitedly, been confusing at times. Although the announcement was perhaps overshadowed by the acquisition earlier in the year of CallidusCloud and the subsequent purchase of Qualtrics early in 2019, the addition of the Coresystems solution to the SAP portfolio is hugely welcome as it marks SAP’s real return to this exciting sector.
In the 20+ years that cover our SAP careers, SAP’s solution for Service has included R/3 Customer Service, CRM Service, C/4 Service Cloud (under multiple different names), S/4 Service Core and now Coresystems – as well as a raft of mobile solutions accompanying the different applications.
Today you can find plenty of live examples of all of these different solutions. Whilst a strong installed base of ‘legacy’ solutions remains (CS and CRM On Premise), uptake of the ‘next gen’ products (C/4 Service Cloud and S/4 Service Core) has been slow. Existing customers have struggled to plot their roadmap away from the older solutions ahead of the impending 2025 maintenance deadline.
So, 18 months on from the acquisition of Coresystems, has it improved the overall SAP Service and Field Service proposition?
A clearer roadmap
Our answer is yes. From a solution perspective, SAP Field Service Management fills a number of gaps in the previous product offerings – delivering the capabilities needed to support a modern field service operation. Amongst its features are the following:
- Native mobility: the dedicated field service origins of the tool mean that the UX has been designed with the needs of this user group front and centre from day one – and it shows. The native iOS and Android apps mean that the technician experience is simple and efficient.
- Automated scheduling:the fully integrated scheduling tool uses AI to match qualified internal and external technicians to open service calls, taking into account skills, location, SLAs and availability.
- Customer self-service: a self-service portal is built-in to the application, giving customers the ability to automatically create service calls using a QR code scan and providing real-time visibility of their open service calls and installed equipment.
- Crowdsourcing: this is where the gig economy meets field service – allowing organisations to seamlessly manage and despatch calls to third party technicians, providing simple and easy scalability and cost effectiveness to operations in challenging markets.
From the roadmap angle, at first glance, the introduction of another component into the (already crowded) SAP mix may seem to blur the roadmap picture even further. However, because SAP FSM has pre-built integration with C/4 Service Cloud and Customer Service (in its ECC and S/4 flavours) and can operate as a ‘discrete’ solution for Field Service, it provides a logical, manageable and ‘future proof’ first step for organisations to take, regardless of their current solution landscape. Furthermore, the open API architecture supports additional SAP and non-SAP integration scenarios.
Overall, we think the solution complements the existing SAP products to provide a full ‘end to end’ solution – but crucially de-couples the field service element from other front- and back-end functions. This allows organisations to take a meaningful step towards modernising without the need to change their entire IT landscape in one go.
So, for example, an organisation with an existing legacy ECC Customer Service solution could take advantage of the features and functionality of FSM to deliver improved capabilities and experience without unduly disrupting their ‘backend’ solution or creating a dependency on any broader enterprise wide S/4 plans.
Alternatively, an organisation with existing non-SAP solutions (either front- or back- office) could still take advantage of FSM. This could be either as a ‘best of breed’ application in its own right – leveraging its unique ‘crowd-sourcing’ capabilities - or as a first step in a platform change journey.
There is still work to do, but with SAP’s continued focus on delivering more and improved integration scenarios ‘out of the box’, each new release takes a step closer to a comprehensive and seamless solution.
A platform for further digitalisation
Field service is not only a critical factor to influence the overall customer experience, it is, increasingly, a key competitive differentiator in many industries. In the new ‘digital’ world of business, service interaction is one of the rare ‘face to face’ moments organisations get with their clients. A high performing service organisation is about more than getting technicians to site quickly and cost effectively.
This is where the acquisitions of Qualtrics provides a fantastic and extremely relevant opportunity for Service operations. The ability to understand real-time customer and employee feedback is actionable intelligence companies can use to close ‘the experience gap’ - the difference between their perception and that of their customers and employees. Leveraging Qualtrics can basically create a platform to enable a cycle of ongoing improvement.
The product and brand lens of experience management (XM) can also add value in the future service operating model. It’s still early days, and some questions remain around the longer term SAP roadmap, especially around the S/4 Service Core solution. However, after a year and a half, the overall SAP vision and proposition for Customer Service is more credible and more complete. It offers a clear path forwards for new and existing SAP customers for whom Field Service is – or will become – a central part of their business.