The new wave of field service management technology is here writes Charlie Jackson, CEO, FieldAware...
We’re all customers and have increasing expectations around the service we expect, both in our personal and work lives. For service organisations these expectations bring increased pressure to get it right.
Field service management software is part of the answer and has been around since the late 1970s.
Highly complex, it was originally designed as on premise, server-based scheduling solutions and was very much focused on enabling the work of the back office. Work orders were dispatched, but technicians had only limited access to job and customer information due to the cost and performance limitations of the devices and networks.
"With the advancements in field service management software going hand-in-hand with the mobile evolution, the focus in service operations is now firmly on the field worker themselves..."
And this is quite right - the technician has long been the company face and often the only direct contact a customer will have. The customer experience they are able to deliver counts for a great deal. Complete knowledge of the job is often fundamental in the delivery of this service excellence and turning up to site with this information at hand or having access to it, delivers an improved customer experience.
The technician needs a mobile solution which helps them to do their job in the best possible way.
The workflow to and from the back office has to be seamless as this quick and easy access to information enables better decision-making and ultimately improved resolution.
So how can an organisation manage this shift to focus on the field without losing sight of the importance of back office operations?
Taking the back office into the field
While back office processes remain essential components of any service operation, we’re seeing far more return from putting the focus on the field where greater value can be derived. The right mobility solution gives the whole organisation the ability to manage the workflow seamlessly and keeps all operational elements connected.
The right mobility solution gives the whole organisation the ability to manage the workflow seamlessly and keeps all operational elements connected.
For the back office, a mobile solution which easily integrates into existing systems is critical, as often a mix of best of breed solutions are used due to the niche nature of the work.
This can mean that systems are used in isolation and data from one system doesn’t always assimilate with another. Integrated mobility means that the two-way flow of data is captured, just once, and in a consistent and efficient way. It means that no data is left unused or delayed while waiting on paperwork or downloads and an audit trail is in place reducing the chance of any missing information.
The result of the right mobility solution is extending the work of the back office out into the field in a robust and reliable way, connecting the operational workflow and ultimately ensuring service objectives are met.
Focus on the right mobility solution
So, whether you are looking at developing your mobility strategy or introducing mobility for the first time, how do you choose the right software for your business with the many solutions on offer today?
From working with a range of companies, we’ve found that there are some common principals.
Ease of integration is key. You don’t need to have to think about changing your whole field service solution. Extending the life of your current systems is important, so look at mobile solutions which will leverage and expand their use.
"Implementation needs to be as quick and straightforward as possible. A lengthy implementation process will defeat its objective..."
Any mobility solution should be easy to use. Overly-complicated systems will be bypassed and worked around or ignored all together.The easier to use, the quicker the adoption and the better the ROI.
All mobility software needs to be agile and able to move with the next generation of mobility.
Developments are moving fast so it is important that your provider is keeping up to speed.
It is crucial for any mobility solution to work across mixed digital devices, especially with the growth of BYOD and the rise in the use of contractor workforces. The apps will need to work across different operating systems too.
Essentially, mobility is about the anytime, anywhere access to and sharing of information that makes it the vital, valuable next step a service organisation can take.
To download our white paper – ‘Making the Move to Mobility: The Digitalisation of Field Service’ – please visit http://www.fieldaware.co.uk/movetomobility