ServiceMax is a leading provider of asset-centric field service management software – every second, a field service work order is generated using ServiceMax software. Neil Barua, CEO of ServiceMax, explains how he has focused on good business fundamentals, building a strong culture, organising the company structure for success and delivering innovation to customers.
Tell us a bit more about your business and how it started.
ServiceMax first came into existence as Maxplore Technologies in 2007. In 2008 Maxplore won the Force.com US$1 Million Challenge. Following this announcement, Emergence Capital invested US$2 million in Maxplore and the company took on the name of its award-winning software, ServiceMax. Since then, ServiceMax has been at the forefront of field service innovation, bringing a cloud-native platform to service operations and placing mobile applications in the hands of field technicians.
Today, ServiceMax is a leading provider of asset-centric field service management (FSM) software. We help service professionals add value to their company’s bottom line through reduced maintenance costs, predictive maintenance monitoring, more accurate service provision and upsell opportunities. Previously, many companies relied on manual, paper-based processes for service, which was inefficient, expensive and difficult to manage warranties, contracts, service insights and knowledge sharing.
Hundreds of customers with thousands of users rely on our software to support a wide range of equipment from MRI machines in hospitals and elevators in shopping malls to wind turbines and manufacturing equipment. ServiceMax software helps the world go round. Every second, a field service work order is generated using ServiceMax software.
How has the business grown since it started and how did you ensure growth?
ServiceMax has been through a few different growth stages over the past 15 years. After its initial round of funding in 2008, ServiceMax secured four more rounds of funding before GE Digital acquired the company for US$915 million in 2017. Following the restructuring of GE Digital, GE Digital sold its majority stake in ServiceMax to Silver Lake, a global leader in technology investing. On November 17, 2022, PTC announced a definitive agreement to acquire ServiceMax for US$1.46 billion from an entity majority owned by Silver Lake.
Through these changes, a commitment to innovation and customer obsession has enabled our consistent enterprise growth. What began as a cloud-based field service app, has grown into a comprehensive suite of solutions that help keep the world running.
As CEO, I have focused on good business fundamentals, building a strong culture, organising the company structure for success and delivering innovation to our customers, resulting in the company being operating income and cash flow positive for the first time in its history.
What’s the business’ approach to management?
At ServiceMax, we prioritise building relationships and trust and empowering employees and managers to do their best work. One of ServiceMax’s biggest strengths is the way our team works together. There is a strong camaraderie among employees, and we have great alignment around our #wintogether culture. Highlighting what our software does and the value it delivers to our customers is another key rallying point for employees.
What is your company’s vision and goal?
ServiceMax’s mission is to help customers keep the world running with our asset-centric field service management solutions that maximise the lifecycle of critical assets and machines. Our goal is to see the world’s machines and service businesses running on ServiceMax. In this pursuit, we have grown to over 400 customers worldwide with 300 million assets under management and a work order being processed every second.
What kind of clients and market do you serve?
Our software addresses customer challenges across a diverse set of industries, including medical devices and healthcare, industrials, high-tech manufacturing, construction and building maintenance, power and utilities and oil and gas. Using our software, customers not only keep complex, critical equipment running, but also optimise their service operations so they can better manage the complexities of service, support faster growth and run more profitable, outcome-centric businesses. Customers include 3D systems, Baker Hughes, Kodak Alaris, Marel, Millipore Sigma, Pitney Bowes, Schneider Electric, Tecpetrol and more.
What has your career looked like so far?
I started off my career in investment banking at Merrill Lynch. After a few years, I joined Global Crossing as Chief of Staff to John Legere which was an incredible learning experience and gave me a lifelong mentor. I worked my way up through various roles at Global Crossing, eventually becoming EVP of North America Enterprise Services and helping Global Crossing sell to Level 3 Communications. After Level 3, I moved into the private equity space at Francisco Partners and then Silver Lake. In 2014, I took my first CEO role at IPC Systems and led the successful sale of IPC Systems from Silver Lake in a transaction worth over US$1.2 billion. Following IPC, I served as an operating partner at Silver Lake, before joining ServiceMax as CEO in 2019.
How do you equip your staff with skills and knowledge?
In addition to our internal talent development programmes, every team has its own professional development stipend. This is widely communicated throughout the company, and we actively encourage all employees to take advantage of it. We’ve seen great engagement with this globally, and employees enjoy being empowered to have both a voice and a choice in the development of their own respective skill sets.
How do you collaborate effectively with other C-suite executives?
Our culture is very collaborative in practice, and we all leave our egos at the door. Our senior leadership meets every week and members of our C-suite also meet regularly with the extended leadership team. This is very much a two-way dialogue rather than simply a hierarchical ‘tell’ mentality. I make it a point of hiring good people and then listening to them.
How do you ensure different teams in your organisation work together?
We do this in several ways. First, I think getting different teams to work together starts with the company culture. We have a ‘win together’ company ethos, so staff are proactively encouraged to help each other solve issues and connect people with different teams who may have insight on an issue or be able to help address a query. I think this mentality of wanting to help your fellow colleague is fundamental and should be woven into the fabric of a company.
Second, we use Zinc as our company messaging platform. We have exceptional engagement on Zinc and our staff love it. We use internal Zinc groups to connect people that may not always work together but have a shared goal or objective. It’s a really easy way of reaching out to someone you may not have met and getting an instant answer.
Third, we use employee events to connect people and use our quarterly ‘All Hands’ meetings to give exposure to various teams for connection and visibility and to connect different leaders across teams, departments and geographies.Click below to share this article