As we head full steam into 2015 predictions of industry trends that will shape the field service industries come thick and fast. Here we look at what our regular columnist's John Cameron of Trimble Field Service Management's will be important in the following twelve months...
With so many advanced tools now available to fine-tune operations, field service organisations have reached an unprecedented transformative stage. By leveraging technology trends such as the Internet of Things, advanced analytics and smartphone and tablet integration, leading field service businesses are reinventing themselves as predictive, rather than reactive, operations. This may mean better-equipping technicians with intelligent apps that deliver real-time data and deploy analytics capabilities to make strategic decisions, or enhancing security and IT infrastructure.
Here are eight trends that may impact how you make those changes:
1. Robust and Flexible Platforms
Companies are looking to solution providers to deliver platforms globally as the foundation for innovation. Providers have to be ready to add, extend and integrate technologies as needed, giving them the agility to adapt and innovate. These platforms need to be cloud-based and flexible, allowing them to configure and manipulate modules and functionality as they see fit. Customers want a single provider to deliver all the functionality and modularity they require. They want to focus on empowering field workers and driving service excellence. To achieve that, they need robust, flexible platforms backed by a reliable provider.
2. Increased Focus on Security
The increase in cybercrime, such as the recent breach against Sony Pictures, is a critical reminder of how important it is to secure company data. As more organisations add everything from switches to entire power grids to the Internet of Things, we’ll see a greater demand for
As more organisations add everything from switches to entire power grids to the Internet of Things, we’ll see a greater demand for advanced security applications and a corresponding increase in financial commitment to protect against future attacks
3. Embedded Analytics
The ability to analyse and act on the vast amount of data collected from the field continues to trend in the evolution of field services technology. Deploying workforce management solutions with sophisticated analytics tools will enable managers to improve operations with real-time visibility into their operations. Data gathered from smarter mobile apps and equipment sensors will provide insights on performance, tasks, service quality, and new products that will enable field service managers to not only keep up with the competition but to step ahead.
4. Greater Integration
As telematics and workforce management solutions become more integrated with mobile devices, the opportunities to increase efficiency and productivity are growing exponentially. Field service managers can make real-time decisions remotely by accessing vehicle tracking, scheduling and routing on their mobile devices, allowing them to mitigate reckless driving incidents, control vehicle wear and tear and
Mobile apps will continue to provide critical information such as daily tasks, customer histories, billing, and the locations of nearby teammates on demand for field service technicians.
5. The Internet of Everything
By 2020, Gartner, Inc. predicts 26-billion devices other than smartphones, tablets and computers to be connected via the Internet of Things. For field service organisations, connecting equipment with technicians’ mobile devices and the back office in real time is a necessity. Information captured in the field provides diagnostics and performance metrics that mitigate certain issues as well as tracks patterns and trends for long-range planning. The goal is to ensure an intelligent and preventive—not reactive—approach.
6. Enhanced Network Reliability
The daily accumulation of data from internal files, mobile solutions, cloud-based apps and email can strain networks and storage systems. As organisations invest in mobile and management solutions to optimise operations, they no longer can ignore the underlying infrastructure. Hybrid clouds, virtualised servers and scalable, high-capacity storage give e networks the agility they need to stay flexible, efficient and productive. Neglecting these areas can impact performance, impede productivity and escalate IT costs.
7. An Evolving Workforce
As the field service industry evolves a major trend has been the emergence of young, tech-savvy and collaborative workers. According to Aberdeen Group, approximately one-fifth of the current workforce is under 30. This new pool of workers has grown up fully connected and will enable service
According to Aberdeen Group, approximately one-fifth of the current workforce is under 30
8) Mobility as a Game-changer
Mobility will continue as a key enabler in addressing the competitive issues faced by field service organisations today. The right mobile architecture can solve many of the tactical challenges of these organisations: latent customer needs, increased competition, unmitigated churn and worker productivity. However, simply investing in mobile technology does not ensure improvement in key performance. To be successful with any deployment, organisations must choose the best field service solution and adopt the implementation best suited for their operation.