• May 30, 2008
  • By Marshall Lager, founder and managing principal, Third Idea Consulting; contributor, CRM magazine

Oracle Scores Twice in Gartner's Field Service Magic Quadrant

Customer Svc/Call Ctr: 3

Industry News: 3

Integration: 2

Companies mentioned:

Oracle: 3

ClickSoftware: 2

TOA Technologies: 2

Microsoft: 2

SAP: 1

Corrigo: 1


Growing demand is driving change in the field service management (FSM) industry--vendors whose products enable mobile workforce optimization, fleet routing and management, technician portals, and asset monitoring--even as the number of players within it shrinks. An estimated 40 percent of technicians in large enterprises will have wireless access to FSM by that time, up from 12 percent today, according to a report by research firm Gartner. The addition of CRM functionality to field service solutions will be used as a way to enable field service technicians to capture sales leads, configure orders and market while on site. But more than half of all FSM suppliers will merge with, be acquired by or acquire another supplier by 2012, according to Gartner. It is against that backdrop that Gartner presented its 2008 Magic Quadrant for Field Service Management.

As in many other corners of CRM and related industries, the growth of software as a service (SaaS) is becoming a factor to consider. Gartner predicts that at least 30 percent of new FSM application components will be sold as SaaS by 2012, rather than as purchased software licenses. Despite that, two of the leading products in the FSM space have limited or no SaaS options.
Oracle's Siebel Systems, the sole resident of the leaders quadrant, is no stranger to acquisition; Oracle is the most notorious acquirer and Siebel its most notable acquisition in recent years. "Siebel design and configuration tools are best-of-breed," writes Michael Maoz, Gartner vice president and distinguished analyst, in the report. "References report that the scalability of the application can support thousands of technicians comfortably." While Maoz notes that the Siebel product shows "continued investment in functionality and technology, deeper integration with the Oracle technology stack and ... ongoing recruitment of development, sales and marketing resources," he cautions against the cost and complexity of implementation, and also lack of real-time capabilities and a Web-based option.

Oracle's other FSM-capable product, E-Business Suite, is almost precisely in the center of Gartner's chart. Its strengths include good reference designs for project management, a strong background in asset management, and notable mobility tools, according to Gartner. Weaknesses include difficulties in procurement, a reliance on other Oracle products, and the aforementioned lack of SaaS, as well as a relatively small customer base and little experience with complex operations.

Two companies occupied the visionaries quadrant (those with relatively complete market vision but less ability to execute): ClickSoftware and TOA Technologies. Gartner notes that ClickSoftware "is the largest independent software company offering field service optimization," and "is a growing company with the advantage of focus on a core service business problem." However, its solution is described as incomplete. TOA Technologies tripled its customer base from 4,000 last year to 12,000 this year, making it the fastest-growing vendor in this Magic Quadrant. Gartner hails its ETAdirect product as "the only multitenant, Internet-based, SaaS offering on the FSM Magic Quadrant. It attacks a high-value, high-cost activity: service technician travel and work." It is a small company, though, with a narrow focus within the telecommunications industry.
Three companies were added to the list of vendors this year: IFS, Vertical Solutions, and WennSoft. All appear in the niche players quadrant, alongside more established players like SAP and Corrigo. One company, @Road, was dropped from the 2008 chart; "We have not seen software modernization of the workforce optimization application, or partners and a sales force actively selling and deploying the product" is the reason quoted in the report.
Notable by its absence is Microsoft. "Microsoft has tremendous long-term potential in this area, but it is unlikely to muster the focus required to build a credible business during the next 12 months," Maoz writes. "It will remain consumed by other priorities, such as communications, CRM, ERP applications for small and midsize businesses, and mobility."

Related articles:

Former Sage CEO Goes to Corrigo
Industry heavyweight Ron Verni lands at a field service management company, with a mandate to create growth.

Indus, Set to Be Acquired, Will Become a Private Company
A private equity firm has entered into a merger agreement; the deal is the latest in a trend toward building a service life cycle management suite, according to one analyst.

Siebel Leads the FSM Quadrant Again
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.

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