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Field Service Apps Are at the Tip of Digital BPM Spear

Mike Vizard

One of the areas where business process management (BPM) software is being most aggressively applied to transform a business process is field service. Huge armies of field service technicians are being armed with mobile applications and devices that often transform how an entire business operates.

A new survey of 300 IT decision makers that work at organizations supporting field workforces conducted by the market research firm Vanson Bourne on behalf of Red Hat identifies the top three drivers of these investments to be field worker productivity (46 percent), streamlining or optimizing field operations and processes (40 percent), and improving customer service (37 percent). On average, the respondents report their organizations will be increasing investments in these areas by 25 percent through 2018.

The survey also finds many of these organizations are making related investments in artificial intelligence (AI). Just under a quarter (24 percent) say they have already made AI investments, and another 30 percent plan to do so in 2018.

When it comes to BPM specifically, the number of respondents that will have made investments in BPM grows to 81 percent in 2018, up from 61 percent.

Leonie McGloin, program marketing manager for mobile at Red Hat, says it’s apparent that employing mobile applications to get closer to customers is driving many of these projects. In fact, in many cases, it’s hard to distinguish between where investments in mobile computing leave off and where BPM begins, especially when mobile applications are accessing backend cloud services.

“A lot of organizations are trying to accelerate these projects by moving them to the cloud,” says McGloin.

The degree to which organizations will opt to deploy BPM and associated technologies in the cloud or on-premise varies as much as the number that prefer to buy applications versus build them. The one thing that is clear is that just about every mobile field service application is just the tip of the digital transformation spear. The challenge facing IT organizations now is understanding precisely what impact that spear will have across the entire IT environment once it lands.


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