Microsoft Dynamics 365 Blog

At its heart, the Internet of Things (IoT) is really about people, not the gadgets themselves. These connected devices can improve human experience and interaction, particularly in the service industry.

IoT places value on human time—both the time of the customer and of the service agent. IoT leads to delivering exemplary service every time, often before customers even realize they’re in need of assistance. Connected devices are part of what's becoming known as the service economy. With IoT technology, enterprise companies can offer the personalized service their customers demand and move into the future of customer service

What happens when service leaders talk about IoT, field service, and customer experience?

Connecting the dots

This year, there will be 6.4 billion connected “things” in use – up 30 percent from last year. And Gartner’s research suggests 5.5 million new things will get connected every day this year; by 2020 there will be nearly 21 billion connected devices in use.

These devices are everywhere and they go way, way beyond the thermostat in your home or a few Internet-connected light bulbs. Try the freezer aisle. Municipal trash cans. Jet enginesFarming equipment. The opportunities at the enterprise level expand every day as the technology becomes less expensive and customer interest increases

Moving from reactive to predictive field service

Although consumer applications, such as fitness monitors and self-driving cars, attract the most attention and can create significant value, B2B applications will capture an estimated 70 percent of the value of the IoT. At the enterprise level, connected technology can improve the bottom line, particularly when paired with a system that can make sense of the input. With a network of Internet-connected devices and an intelligent CRM system, service organizations can:

• Continuously monitor and collect device data for more accurate analytics

• Detect anomalies through remote monitoring and provide proactive support

• Perform predictive (instead of scheduled) maintenance

• Proactively identify next best actions for maintenance and repairs

• Leverage machine-to-machine diagnosis and self-healing

Connected devices collect petabytes of data. An intelligent CRM system, such as Microsoft Dynamics CRM, can transform this data into actionable insights and predictive opportunities, and then intelligently balance workloads with skills-based assignments and resource optimization. 

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Impacting the bottom line (in a great way)
A savvy organization will make efforts to link up machines that can monitor themselves, talk to each other, and make performance predictions. And with analytics software, such as Microsoft Power BI, companies can even test those performance predictions and share results so that other networked machines can do their jobs better.

The effect on the bottom line is significant. In field service alone, the benefits of IoT technology  paired with intelligent business software are compelling:

• More efficient use of field agents (reduction of travel and service times, improved productivity)

• Reduced unplanned downtime and premature maintenance
• More reliable, more analyzable information and documentation about the profitability of a particular job or customer
• Better insight into parts usage and inventory, defects, and common problems

Learning from the best
Of course, each one of those perks leads to satisfied customers, which is arguably the greatest benefit of all. To incorporate IoT, digitization, automation, and business intelligence into their service strategies, companies must devise an adoption plan that will get the most benefit from investments. Navigating the new service economy and making sense of the technological landscape as it applies to your business can be tricky.

The good news: a few trailblazers and thought leaders can show you the way into the future. At Customer Driven they’ll share their experiences and tips on building and running an intelligent service organization in the 21st century.

Hear what the experts have to say about disrupting the competition

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