Industry articles

What to look for in a field service solution

Field Service Management software is gaining traction in industry. In the past, field service technology has been the domain of large enterprises with thousands of field staff. This legacy approach has been rigid and little more than a scheduling extension to corporate enterprise solutions and CMMS systems. True user empowered 'mobility' was never at the heart of this methodology.

What is new is that the technology landscape is evolving rapidly. Cloud service, mobility (devices and applications), integration and data analytics has made possible a seamless end-to-end process for service organisations. Further, these changes have driven down costs of implementation to the point where smaller service organisations can reap the benefits of field service management. As in many other walks of life – technology has a democratisation effect. You no longer need big budgets to drive efficiency.

So whether you are a large service organisation with thousands of field staff or trying to do more with a handful of people what should you consider when looking at a modern approach to field service and mobility applications?

Start with USERS

The fastest route to adoption of any mobile solution is to put Users at the heart of your selection. If the solution is intuitive and easy-to-use then people will feel comfortable, especially if it repairs a broken process they have been living with for years. Anything that makes people’s lives easier will be adopted. This is as much true for service managers as it is for field teams. Scheduling, Reporting and Analytics is as critical in the efficiency process as is the source of data capture in the field. A seamless, end-to-end process is required.

Ensure Collaboration

Being an effective service organisation requires collaboration. That is the challenge in managing out-of-sight remote workers. Collaboration simply does not work when you have manual processes such as Paper, Excel or Email for scheduling and executing tasks. An approach that provides real-time connectivity between Operators at the Site office will facilitate better, more effective collaboration. By connecting people and processes you will have greater visibility and control of operational tasks (scheduling, job completion, real-time data access). Similarly, Operators are not isolated. They can have access to critical information (route planning, guides, historical information) to perform their tasks effectively and safely. Integration into business processes and systems will create a holistic approach rather than a ‘point’ solution.

Enterprise-wide Automation

When looking at field data management solutions look at how they may be adopted across teams. Companies are working with multiple ‘point’ solutions so that teams working on Asset Management tasks may be using something incompatible with their Compliance, Drilling or Safety Audit Teams. This solution ‘bloat’ is costly. Lack of standardisation creates different types of inefficiencies. Ask yourself whether the solution can operate for multiple disciplines, geographies and parties (contractors, 3rd parties, clients). A holistic solution should be able to support a multitude of processes and rules for different teams and different tasks. This drives value across the organisation

Summary

Field service technology has the potential to streamline business process for organisations of all sizes that have field workers. If intuitive, it can seamlessly work with existing processes and make them work more accurately and faster. Through integration, data can be made more useful and in a timely fashion. The right platform should also be able to provide visibility and efficiency across multiple teams such as Asset Management, Compliance or Safety.

Thanks to evolving technology in cloud-services, mobility and data analytics there has never been a better time to look at digitising your field work.

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