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What is SAP Field Service Management and what can it do?

Organizations need to get more from their technicians and field workers, and SAP Field Service Management is meant to help. Learn what it can do.

SAP Field Service Management software is meant to help your company boost the effectiveness of service and maintenance, an endeavor that has become even more critical since the pandemic began.

In the broadest sense, field service management (FSM) is a system for scheduling and dispatching workers, tracking vehicles and executing other activities needed to maintain equipment or provide services, typically at a customer's location. A common field service example is a cable television company dispatching a technician to a customer's home for repairs. SAP Field Service Management software manages necessary activities and can include a range of functions, for example, managing parts inventory, processing remote payments and organizing when and how field workers will complete tasks.

Some organizations -- for example, cable TV and printer and copier companies -- have depended on field service management as part of the business model. For others, FSM is a relatively new business process and has been brought on by the "servitization" trend. Many companies are making a shift away from single-transaction sales, preferring instead to foster ongoing customer relationships. These relationships are built around experiences and outcomes rather than ownership.

SAP is a relatively new entrant into the FSM market. Its Field Service Management cloud-based software was acquired in 2018 from Swiss software firm Coresystems. SAP FSM can integrate with SAP ERP.

SAP FSM's self-service portal provides access to self-help guides, videos and FAQs. If an organization's team prefers a more interactive experience, they can choose an automated chatbot to guide them through the self-service process. They can also place orders for parts or schedule work orders online through the portal.

In addition, SAP's FSM provides powerful planning and dispatching capabilities to the back office. These include a visual scheduling board and intelligent recommendations that help users find the best technician for each job. The product also supports some sophisticated scheduling needs, such as splitting a job between two technicians and scheduling multiple technicians for a single job.

With SAP FSM, field service employees can use a mobile app that works both on- and offline. A dispatcher can send out a service request and a technician then accepts the job and proceeds to the job location. While there, the technician can use the app to access information about the customer, such as procedural checklists, instructions for the repair process and spare parts information. The technician can also record time and materials on the mobile app for payroll and billing purposes.

SAP's Field Service Management is cloud-based and integrates with SAP Customer Service Cloud as well as SAP Crowd Service products.

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