Oracle's Siebel field service management functionality is deemed the space's leader, but may struggle to maintain that status as part of a larger conglomerate.
Posted May 2, 2006
Oracle-owned Siebel Systems has maintained its position as the lone vendor in the leaders quadrant in Gartner's "Magic Quadrant for Field Service Management, 2006." Siebel's field service functionality, usually tapped for customers that are committed to or have already deployed its call center capabilities, according to the report, is best suited for manufacturing and communications sectors. Although Michael Maoz, vice president and research fellow at Gartner, notes Siebel's strengths, he says "it will be difficult for them no longer being sold an independent product line, as part of the Oracle family, to maintain their leader position over time."
For now, though, with no vendors capturing a spot in the challengers quadrant, Siebel's closest vendor competition comes from the niche players' quadrant. Vendors in this quadrant include @Road, Astea International, ClickSoftware, Corrigo, Indus International, MDSI, Oracle, ServicePower, and Syclo. "There are really no two alike," Maoz says.
In February 2005 @Road completed its acquisition of U.K.-based field service automation solutions provider Vidus Limited, gaining functionality that targets midsize and large organizations in the utilities, telecommunications, and cable industries. Astea International, which acquired mobile field force automation company FieldCentrix in 2005, must improve integrator and consulting partnerships and its own professional services to grow and thrive, according to the report.
ClickSoftware secured a spot on the Quadrant thanks to the "business-critical niche functionality it offers high-tech manufacturers, utilities, and telecommunications businesses," the report states, but the company has had limited success selling its ClickSchedule product. Corrigo, a newcomer to the Quadrant, has a strong presence in facilities management, infrastructure management, and real estate, but prospects should run a pilot to determine whether the Corrigo mobile interface in a wireless environment meets requirements, the report maintains.
Indus International acquired Wishbone Systems in 2004, complementing its core strategy of service delivery management. But Indus's Service Suite isn't a best-of-breed offering for customer service, service analytics, marketing, or sales functionality, according to Gartner. MDSI, acquired by Vista Equity Partners in September 2005, provides the Advantex product, which is usually deployed as a front-end wireless app to tools like ERP systems. Version 7.7. is, however, recommended cautiously for utilities and telecommunications companies that have asset maintenance and wireless enablement as top requirements, according to Gartner.
"The Oracle Field Service v.11.i.10 product is targeted toward Oracle customers in the manufacturing industry vertical committed to (and with deep experience in) the Oracle E-Business Suite (ERP/supply chain/financials)," the report states. "References who have taken more-recent versions of the product and have close relations with Oracle consulting are happy with the resulting product." However, the impact of the acquisition of the Siebel Field Service product line on the future of the Oracle FSM product is yet to be understood, the report adds.
ServicePower, another Quadrant first-timer, delivers two offerings that cater to the FSM space, an on-demand product and a premise-based tool, but must strengthen its marketing and sales efforts. Syclo, whose functionality includes its flagship development platform Agentry and its enterprise asset management solution SMART Suite, plays in areas including government, life sciences, and utilities.
The Visionaries Quadrant contains newcomer Mobile Computing Corporation (MCC) and SAP. "What's interesting about MCC is it understands that some customers would like end-to-end support and this is something that really helps IT work with the line of business," Maoz says. SAP, a niche player in the 2005 installment, "is there by dint of its focus on the manufacturing verticals and its investment in a wide array of modules that over time will support end-to-end service management," he adds.
Overall, business leaders are beginning to look at the field service function as a way not only to extract service revenue, but also to cross- and upsell new products. "Who knows better than a field tech what is happening [with] the customer," Maoz says. "Instead of going in and finding something that's broken or maintaining something and moving on...we're finding that field service management is attracting the attention of more senior management within organizations and they're beginning to fund it appropriately."
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