It’s that time of year again when Gartner finally publishes its annual insight into the Field Service Management industry with their coveted Magic Quadrant For Field Service Management. This industry lacks regular coverage from most of the leading analyst firms yet Gartner has been the longstanding exception. Their report is respected by potential buyers and by the various vendors who jockey for position to be lauded as one of the respected market leaders.
But for the 2013 study, there is one striking observation: it is extremely similar to the previous year’s study. In fact, nothing has really shaken up this Magic Quadrant since TOA Technologies exploded onto the scene just a few years ago, and they really have disrupted the market and turned parts of it on its head. In some respects, it’s the “same old, same old” and a bit “ho-hum” but maybe that’s being a tad disrespectful because there are some key takeaways to appreciate.
- Two Clear Leaders. Once upon a time, this crown belonged to ClickSoftware who expertly built this market and wrestled this leadership accolade away from Oracle (formerly Siebel) in recent years. But not now. Today they are rightly joined by TOA Technologies and their positions in this year’s quadrant makes them almost inseparable. They have different solutions and different messages but there’s much convergence in what they deliver. But with TOA’s relentless focus on the cloud and powerful messaging, maybe in 2014, they will stretch ahead on both axes, leaving ClickSoftware in their wake.
- White Fluffiness. In Gartner’s mind, it’s all about the cloud. As has been the case for several years now, just two vendors – TOA Technologies and ServiceMax – have architected their solutions from the ground up as a cloud product. Everyone else has been playing catch-up and converting their on-premise solution so that it works in the cloud. Gartner loves the cloud; it’s apparently the way of the future and it’s not showing any signs of letting up any time soon. But what’s missing is simple: what’s next? What’s the next great innovation? One day, cloud will be as ho-hum as this year’s report. But there are other vendors out there to watch, like FieldOne, who don’t currently make the cut for the Magic Quadrant but they could do soon if they continue to succees.
- Mobile, Mobile, Mobile. If you’re a Field Service Management vendor and you don’t have a mobile solution then you can forget it. Mobile is the key enabler in communicating with engineers and customers, helping service businesses reap their financial returns from investing in this technology. Mobile is a commodity and vendors lacking a footprint here know this, which is why ServicePower, SAP, and others made acquisitions in this space in recent years. But now the mobile world is an App-world. Gartner likes HTML5 but forget HTML5. Forget Native too. The focus is on what makes life easier in the field, and Apps integrated with social will be the way to go for a long time.
- Staggering Market Growth. Very few software markets are growing like Field Service Management. It really is the place to be. Yet Gartner’s CAGR growth estimate of 12.7% is double that which is estimated by other leading analysts. So maybe delivering great service to customers is finally becoming a mainstream part of business strategy.
- Lack of Breadth. This year’s two leaders are experts in schedule optimization. But Gartner’s own definition of Field Service Management encompasses far more stuff. And the leading vendors struggle here by not actually delivering the full breadth of Gartner’s definition so why exactly are they the leaders? There are far more comprehensive solutions out there. If a buyer wants a full Field Service Management solution then they need to look past the Leaders’ quadrant. Clearly the leaders are only that in Gartner’s mind.
But those are just our initial observations. What do you think?