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Nov 17, 2017 9:00:00 AM | Field Services The Most Common Challenges of IT Field Service Management in Europe & How to Solve Them

U.S.-based businesses expanding to Europe must clearly define all expectations and their associated expenses for optimal IT field service management.

For companies planning for a European expansion, designing and implementing a practical agenda for optimal IT field service management comes with many challenges. There may be potential language barriers, cultural differences, and political climates to navigate, making even the most fundamental tasks just a little more difficult to manage.

While these challenges can be easier to maneuver by partnering with an EU company located in an English-speaking nation like Ireland, for example, there will still be equipment procurement requirements, VAT issues, and difficulties surrounding the hiring of technical staff to consider.  

To achieve maximum profitability and efficiency throughout the expansion, a U.S.-based business must clearly define all expectations and their associated expenses well in advance before factoring them into its pricing strategies. Even something as seemingly simple as shipping and delivery fees can produce tremendous negative impacts on the corporate “bottom line.”

Procurement of Equipment

The right European partnership can make the deployment of an IT field service management agenda significantly easier. While selecting a company based in English-speaking Ireland will likely reduce the learning curve in the area of equipment procurement, you still need to evaluate, select and manage an entirely new group of EU vendors. Without an experienced and reliable EU partnership, most American-based companies will be starting their European expansion at a very substantial disadvantage.  

  • Who will install the equipment once you find it?
  • Will you send U.S.-based employees abroad, or will you hire European technicians?
  • If you plan to hire EU employees, how do you plan to attract and locate the best candidates?
  • And how do you plan to convince them to join your enterprise, which is essentially a foreign-owned start-up?
  • Will there be differences in bandwidth requirements, performance tolerances, or power restrictions in the EU nation?
  • If so, how will you deal with them?

A reputable European partner can offer valuable insight and guidance in each of these challenging areas. A European partner with already-established professional relationships with EU vendors can make the equipment procurement process run smoothly and cost-efficiently. An EU partner can help with acquiring 24/7/365 technical support, leveraging the best platforms for communication and dispatch, and reducing or eliminating scope creep possibly derived from language barriers and cultural differences, too.

VAT Issues

Issues of Value Added Tax, or VAT, are somewhat similar to the corporate sales tax requirements of the United States, but with some very distinct differences and variations depending on the EU nation of location. And if your company plans to sell your products and services to customers throughout the EU, the VAT issues will likely vary according to each region, as well.

Meanwhile, the opportunity exists in Europe to recover a substantial portion of the VAT funds via rebates. Collaborating with a reliable European partner can help U.S.-based businesses navigate these confusing challenges and assist in determining pricing strategies that include these VAT protocols.

Workforce Development

Just because your European expansion is taking place in an English-speaking nation does not necessarily mean that each of your applicants for employment will have English as their primary, native language. The EU is currently comprised of 28 countries, and sorting through the perhaps thousands of resumes will prove time-consuming.   

A top-notch IT field service management team consists of programmers, wireless engineers, cabling technicians, and a wide range of other highly specialized talent pools. A reputable European partner with a proven track record of success can assist the American-based company with the application and vetting process, the development and implementation of an effective hiring and training program, and an array of other workforce-related issues.

Your partner can even provide guidance on regulatory compliance issues, internal reporting procedures, and employee insurance programs. Just like in America, locating and hiring the best qualified technical staff is only half the battle. If you want to keep them, you need to support and motivate them in the long term, too. By collaborating with an EU expert in IT field service management, U.S.-based companies can gain a significant competitive advantage while saving time, money, and frustration.


Written By: Conor Killeen, Sales Director VEI/Kinettix Europe

Conor Killeen has more than 20 years in sales in IT/Telecoms and has significant experience dealing with large-scale multi-million euro deals working with carriers and large service providers. Conor has previously worked for Cisco, Avaya, Ericsson and Siemens. As one of the co-owners of VEI, Conor has helped establish a successful ICT professional services business and steered VEI as a company to service an area of the market where there was considerable need for services. Conor has secured significant global contracts with managed service providers including BT, Fujitsu and Three. In the last two years Conor has secured the contract for VEI to support European retailers with ICT field services requirements in the U.S. Conor has built a channel/partner network on the ground in the U.S. to support VEI in delivering services, so he has intimate knowledge of the players involved and what is required.