Red Hat Inc., an American multinational software company providing open-source software and Business Process Management (BPM) solutions to the enterprise community, recently commissioned research firm Vanson Bourne to survey 300 IT decision makers from organizations in the U.S., Europe and Asia that employ a significant field workforce. The survey examined investment trends, current and future adoption patterns, use cases and implementation challenges.
For many industries, field workers are crucial to the success of business operations, customer satisfaction, and the growth of a company’s bottom line. Some could even say field workers are now at the forefront of digital transformation where Artificial Intelligence (AI), smart devices, the Internet of Things (IoT) and BPM technologies have created new opportunities to better streamline and transform traditional workforce management and workflow practices.
The point of Red Hat’s survey was to better understand how these technologies are being applied and the impact they’re having in the enterprise business world.
According to the results, technology investments are expected by respondents with an average increase of 25 percent through November 2018, reflecting the importance of technology in transforming field service operations.
Top business factors identified as influencing this investment include increasing field worker productivity (46 percent), streamlining or optimizing field operations and processes (40 percent), and improving customer service (37 percent).
AI is definitely one of the leading topics here.
“While still an emerging category—currently implemented by only 24 percent of respondents—we believe the technology has great potential across a variety of industries and use cases,” the company said. “It comes as little surprise that an additional 30 percent of respondents plan to implement AI in 2018, aligning with an average anticipated increase in investment of 26 percent for certain respondents over the same period.”
For those unaware, AI encompasses a number of specific technologies including: predictive analytics, machine learning, chatbots or virtual digital assistance and Robotic Process Automation (RPA).
Mobile, BPM and IoT, despite being more solid and established technologies, seem to defy their relative maturity in the market with respondents indicating double-digit growth across the board in both investment and implementations through November 2018.
According to survey results, 67 percent of respondents have already implemented mobile apps for field service operations, an additional 19 percent plan to implement new mobile apps, supported by a 20 percent average expected increase in investment by certain respondents.
The outlook for BPM and IoT is similar. Survey respondents expect implementations to grow from 61 to 81 percent for BPM and from 53 to 73 percent for IoT, fueled by 20 and 24 percent average expected increase in investment by certain respondents.
Those who participated in the survey are aware of the technical challenges their organizations face in developing and implementing applications for field workforce management. Access to timely and relevant data is important for field workers in remote locations, as the ability to protect that data. As a result, securing data access was the top challenge identified in the survey at 34 percent.
“Overall, we believe this survey highlights the breadth of opportunities facing organizations as they take advantage of AI, mobile, BPM and IoT to redefine and re-imagine their field operations, and we are excited to see how it unfolds in the future,” said Red Hat Inc.
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