Home Topics What is field service management? What is field service management (FSM)?
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What is FSM?

Field service management (FSM) is the coordination of a company’s resources, including employees and equipment, in work activities and operations off company property.

What are the components of field service management?

Field service management typically involves dispatching workers or contractors to a location outside company premises to install, maintain or repair equipment, systems or assets. Field service managers keep track of an organization’s field resources and coordinate the work of field service practitioners who deliver skilled, specialized or proprietary services to clients.

Field service management activities include:

  • Field service scheduling is the process of arranging employee schedules, service appointments and expected work order completion timelines.
  • Field service dispatch management is the process of coordinating dispatch, which is when a field service technician or specialist is sent out on a work assignment.
  • Work order management is the process of assigning and tracking service work orders from creation through completion to customer invoicing.
  • Inventory management is the process of keeping track of parts and supplies, including the transfer of products, consumption, adjustments and more.
  • Field service contract management is the process of managing contracts with your customers and ensuring service level agreements (SLAs) are met.
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Benefits of field service management

Effective field service management solutions integrate data from enterprise asset management systems with remote data from the field—including IoT and mobile devices—to help a company manage its resources.

Benefits of field service management include:

  • Increasing uptime: Identify necessary repairs earlier in the asset lifecycle for always-on operations, high levels of performance and reduced downtime.
  • Shortening mean time to repair and improving first-time fix rates: Ensure that the right technician is assigned to the job and provide them with the right data at the right time on a single platform.
  • Empowering field service technicians: Provide technicians with remote assistance and mobile capabilities that help them to stay safe, be compliant, troubleshoot and complete work tasks efficiently.
  • Reducing field service costs: Use data and insights to complete maintenance tasks at the right time and in the most effective and efficient manner.
  • Increasing customer satisfaction: Know whether technicians are meeting customer expectations and respond promptly to concerns or unexpected delays.
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Challenges of field service management

Maintenance technician leaders are facing many challenges, including attracting and retaining talent amid a shrinking talent pool, underskilled workforces, growing operational costs and a lack of technology to manage complex assets and expanding service needs.

The key to managing these challenges is employing software that can automate certain tasks to reduce the strain on your workforce, improve knowledge transfer and provide capabilities that support technicians in the field.

Mobile service technicians face challenges such as scheduling conflicts, the ability to obtain essential data, miscommunication about job tasks, and having to make return trips. To overcome these challenges, more main system CMMS capabilities must be available on phones and tablets:

  • Revision of asset maintenance histories
  • Access to detailed technical specifications and GIS-location data
  • Examination of work order information
  • Process billing
  • Real-time communication

Finally, many companies have implemented several separate solutions over time and now have multiple tools that don’t work together. For field service management to run smoothly, it’s critical to have cohesive, integrated, end-to-end solutions that are easy for field teams to use and provide dashboards that offer enterprise-wide visibility of a company’s resources.

What is field service management software?

Field service management software helps businesses manage all the resources involved in field service management activities. It can help managers and technicians process job orders, automate scheduling and dispatch, keep track of service and repair tasks, manage customer service contracts, collect payment and more.

Field service management capabilities are provided by various software and solutions.

Mobile field service management software
The cloud and mobile capabilities offered by some field service management software provide access to real-time communications and keep technicians connected to important information and support while in the field. With mobile capabilities, field service technicians can capture images on their devices and access data from remote assets and digital twins to evaluate the root causes of issues. They can also extend collaboration with AI and AR capabilities that are becoming more standard.

Enterprise asset management software
Enterprise asset management (EAM) software helps companies maintain and control their operational assets and equipment, both off and on premises. By centralizing asset information and implementing AI-powered remote monitoring and analytics, maintenance managers can maximize asset utilization, increase productive uptime and reduce operational costs.

Inventory management system
An inventory management system helps companies optimize their maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) inventory. It can provide an accurate, granular view of MRO inventory performance while delivering optimized recommendations for inventory and reorder levels for each stocked item.

Field service management industry applications

Technicians are typically dispatched for preventive or predictive maintenance and repair of equipment under warranty within various sectors such as automotive, aerospace, defense, electronics, industrial products, consumer products and more.


Service technicians must have access to details about assets and inventory, including fuel management, driver logs, spare parts, bay schedules and other data critical to maintaining rail, road and air traffic operations.

Energy and utilities

Technicians must consider geospatial information from remote assets while accommodating complex crew scheduling for high volume and time-sensitive work orders.

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Oil and gas

In these industries, the emphasis is on safety, reliability, compliance and performance. Companies can reduce costs by standardizing and streamlining field service maintenance practices.

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The future of field service management

As assets grow in complexity, the way businesses manage their field service operations must evolve. The future of field service management is about empowering the connected technician—any asset, anytime, anywhere, on any cloud.

Field service technicians use solutions that provide significant insights from IoT devices into how and when equipment should be serviced. They increase their productivity through automation, mobile capabilities and AI support. With access to digital services in the cloud, customers also have a better experience.

In the future, these technologies will continue to transform field service management.

Field service automation

AI-informed automated schedule optimization helps dispatchers perform better troubleshooting and improve field resource quality and productivity.

AI in field service management

As technology evolves, AI augments the skills and training requirements of technicians while leveraging the ability to analyze endless tomes of new and historical data.

IoT field service

Predictive maintenance based on data obtained from Internet of Things (IoT) devices and augmented reality (AR) powered troubleshooting will make it possible to limit maintenance on equipment and assets.

Cloud field service management

Hybrid cloud enables integrated and infinitely scalable operations platforms that connect data and knowledge across an organization, their partnerships and customers.

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FSM resources What is a CMMS?

Short for computerized maintenance management system, CMMS is software that helps manage assets, schedule maintenance and track work orders.

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What is EAM?

Short for enterprise asset management, EAM is the combination of software, systems and services used to maintain, control and optimize the quality of operational assets.

Take the next step

Unlock the full potential of your enterprise assets with IBM Maximo Application Suite by unifying maintenance, inspection and reliability systems into one platform. It’s an integrated cloud-based solution that harnesses the power of AI, IoT and advanced analytics to maximize asset performance, extend asset lifecycles, minimize operational costs and reduce downtime.

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