Major Workforce Changes Over The Next Five Years

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A new global Forrester Consulting study predicts major changes in their service workforce over the next five years, including replacing call centre and customer service centre staff with automated dispatch notification.

The Study

The “From Grease To Code: What Drives Digital Service Transformation” study, commissioned by cloud-based software for service execution management company ServiceMax, highlights the opinions of 675 digital transformation decision-makers across North America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia Pacific, that are undergoing or have completed much of their digital transformation.

The Findings

The report predicts disruptive and major changes to service workforces globally in the next five years as companies make their digital transformation and where actionable intelligence becomes an important factor for competition and growth.


Predictions of the kinds of key changes that will take place with digital service transformation according to those surveyed for the study include:

  • Within just five years, asset equipment will outlive the working life of the engineers who service them (72 percent of respondents).
  • Technology will completely automate service technician dispatch, thereby replacing call centre and customer service centre staff (62 percent of respondents). This means that as soon as customer service systems identify a fault, the nearest appropriate field technician can be sent the job details directly, thereby cutting out the need for call centre staff.
  • Self-healing equipment and remote monitoring will mean that field service technicians can focus on more complex specialist tasks (85 percent of respondents). This is why just over half of firms are already investing or planning to invest in condition-based maintenance within the next two to three years.

Digital Transformation A Challenge To Many Companies

However, as noted by John Meacock, Global Chief Strategy Officer, Deloitte on the Global Economic forum website, many companies have found reaping the true benefits of digital transformation a real challenge, not least because becoming a digital enterprise requires comprehensive, systemic change and not just a new website or mobile strategy.

What Does This Mean For Your Business?

The rapidly evolving business environment has put a lot of pressure on businesses to innovate and to prioritise digital transformation in order to compete.  The results of this survey predict big changes in a relatively short period of time, and should alert businesses to the need to look at how they need to change, and ensure that they can incorporate digital solutions to help them deliver the best levels of service to customers i.e. making sure that organisational workforce strategy maps to the service data strategy.

If companies can make a good job of their digital transformation, this may bring them the benefits of being able to use their service data to make better operational decisions around predictive maintenance and customer service, and to extend the working life of capital equipment.  Also, getting to grips with the kind of systemic changes that can lead to a shift to as-a-service delivery models can help businesses to dramatically improve how they schedule, dispatch and maximize the value from their technical service talent.

Predictions of automation at the expense of jobs, and the introduction of AI into more aspects of business do appear to be becoming reality, and organisations need to consider how automation and AI could bring them new strengths and opportunities.

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