Data is the new oil, or gold, or even water, depending on who’s making the comparison. Just like oil and gold, data needs to be mined from the deepest, darkest corners to ensure nothing is left unknown, while like water, it needs to be processed and cleaned before becoming truly useful. One thing that everyone can agree on, data is now the lifeblood of any organisation. 

But reaching true data nirvana and maximising value means getting critical insights from all available resources. And one crucial area has been overlooked for decades – asset and service data. 

When it comes to asset and service data, the information that already exists is more valuable and readily available than ever before. This unique data set lets organisations to understand the location, current condition, usage, performance, and service history of their customers’ assets, as well as the service contracts, warranties, and entitlements attached to the asset.

By making this data visible to a service organisation, these insights can help reduce operational costs and drive new revenue through upselling and cross-sell opportunities. Businesses can shift to proactive maintenance and outcome-based models and make product design improvements and customer experience enhancements.

However, asset data remains under-monetised in most companies. Aggregating and analysing this type of data remains a huge source of opportunity, but most companies struggle with getting access to accurate information they can fully trust.

The problem is, many firms are still relying on disparate systems and siloed data, making it a challenge for business leaders to rely on the information they’re being presented with – and asked to make critical decisions based on it. According to the Asset and Service Data Gravity Report carried out by Vanson Bourne & ServiceMax, only fifty percent of respondents said that they or other service leaders in their organisation completely trust the asset service data that they have access to. 

What about the remaining fifty percent – why is their trust in the data flowing through their systems so low? Many companies struggle with trusting their data because they don’t have a way to ensure consistent data capture processes are followed throughout the entire service organisation. This lack of data governance results in missing data, inconsistent data formats, and outdated information. It also results in significant lost revenue opportunities.

Gaps and inconsistencies in data mean wasted opportunities to make services more efficient and cost-effective. When data is not up to date, companies lack insight into so many aspects that could lead to additional income: whether a customer is up for renewal, if the asset is being used in harsh conditions that justify additional service, if an asset is nearing the end of life, or if a customer is entitled to a certain service. 

These are all ideal opportunities for the business to make service more profitable, but too often these possibilities to upsell and cross-sell are being missed. By doing the initial work of getting asset and service data into shape, opportunities like these can be properly monetised as the information is automatically served up and acted on. 

Getting to a point where organisations have trustworthy, revenue-generating asset and service data isn’t necessarily going to be quick and easy. Collecting, aggregating, and analysing asset and service data in a way that ultimately leads to additional profit requires internal skills, collaboration between departments, and the use of tools that can automate the process. 

To improve the quality of their data, service organisations need to standardise their processes and provide prescriptive steps for teams to follow that ensure the right data in the right format is captured consistently on every asset. 

There’s an even bigger obstacle facing manufacturers that distribute through dealers, as these companies don’t have visibility into asset data, to begin with. To understand how their equipment is being used, they need to leverage IoT and coordinate a common service language with dealers that allow for standardised data capture. 

The rewards for organisations that invest in their data and take a standardised approach could see them outdoing their competitors. By leveraging service data across the organisation, companies globally are already taking advantage of new levels of growth and service profitability.

The Vanson Bourne & ServiceMax report revealed that for every $1 company invest in automating the collection and analysis of asset service data, companies expect a return of $4.44 – more than four times the initial investment cost. Furthermore, IT and field service leaders estimate a fourteen percent revenue boost in just 12 months from this more automatic approach to service data; while respondents believe their operational costs will decrease by twelve percent over the same period. 

Case in point: Kodak Alaris is using ServiceMax to gain full visibility into its asset and service data. The technology has provided real-time access to global data for all service workstreams. They were able to standardise on global processes and gain efficiencies in contract admin functions, service case assignment, and overall reporting capabilities

The value of data in business is undisputed. But the value that asset and service data deliver to both the top and bottom-line performance is just starting to be harnessed.

By Joe Kenny

Joseph Kenny is Vice President of Global Customer Transformation for ServiceMax.

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