The field service industry, as we all know, is at the peak of its transformative stage now. The technological advancements in the industry have been coming on, one after the other for the past few years, and now the rate of the revolution has reached an all time high.
As new tools and technologies continue to take over the field service market, let’s take a look at some of the major trends for the year 2016 and beyond.
- Predictive Maintenance – Last year, we saw the expansion of the Internet of Things as well as a more widespread use of analytics tools to handle all the big data. From this year on, it is time to put those tools to real use, and enhance the predictive capabilities of all connected devices. That way, a more predictive or proactive approach to service can be taken up, along with automation. For example, sensors could be fixed on equipments, and devices, that can notify its users when it needs a repair or when it is due for its regular maintenance. Thus, the whole process becomes automated, as it provides enough insight to the service providers to serve customers, without having them make a service request or call.
- The Internet of Everything – The Internet of Things isn’t exactly a new trend to look out for in 2016, but we will definitely see an increase in its adoption by businesses in various industries, making it sort of an established industry best practice. According to Gartner, there are going to be about 26 billion devices, apart from smartphones, tablets, and computer systems, that are connected through the Internet of Things by 2020. Hence, the range of devices through which people are connected is getting bigger, which is exactly what the field service industry needs. The field service technicians need to be connected with the main office, with their colleagues, with the equipments used in the fields, as well as with their customers in real time. Information captured in the fields, with the help of such intelligent connected devices can then be used further, in predictive maintenance practices too.
- Better Integration – As an implication of the “Internet of Everything” phenomenon, there is going to be an exponential increase in productivity and efficiency over the next few years. As mobile devices, equipments, telematics, and the offices are connected and integrated with field service solutions, there can be more chances or opportunities to work closely and communicate more effectively. A custom field service software will be the right way to go about it.
With the help of vehicle tracking, scheduling and routing facilities on mobile devices, field service technicians can take decisions in real-time remotely. It also helps them avoid issues related to reckless driving, control maintenance costs etc., all from a handheld device. All this besides the regular utilities like access to customer history and billing information, location information of colleagues and the like.
- Mobility all the way – We will see most field service companies embracing mobility in the years to come. Field service solutions will take different mobile forms like tablets and smartphones, customized to suit the different business models of companies. Here are some of Gartner’s predictions for 2016 and beyond:
– About 40% of the field service workforce will be mobile
– More than 65% of the mobile workforce will have a smartphone
– Field service organizations will buy up to 53 million tablets in 2016
- A Single Provider – Along with modernization and further technological developments in the industry comes an increasing trend of relying on a single provider for all the functionalities required for work. Most companies entrust a single company to deliver the software and skills to manage their work, employees, and assets. This calls for comprehensive, robust as well as flexible platforms supported by strong providers.
What other trends do you think can be added to this list? Share with us in the comments below. Let’s discuss.
The adoption of web and mobile based field service software is on the rise now, mainly because of organizations’ need to keep their field services streamlined and organized, and also to provide better services to customers with a proactive approach. Clubbed with the need to provide customers with necessary insights and information, in an effective manner, it becomes almost inevitable for companies to use field service automation software, more specifically mobile-based.
Success comes with the ‘right’ field service automation software
With the number of field service solutions available in the market, it is often difficult to choose the right one for your business. Here are some pointers for you to make a more informed decision:
- Understand your business model, know what your needs are – It is very important that you clearly understand your business model, your needs and the improvements you expect from the new system, before you approach the vendor. You need to be able to document your case as well, as a good field service vendor will ask you about your model and work towards understanding it better, in order to provide the best solution. By effectively communicating your objectives to the vendors, they will be able to explain how best their solution can help you. This lets you measure different vendor systems better and make a better-informed decision before finalizing.
- Understand the differences – As you get into the search for the right field service solution, it is very likely that you might get confused by the number of choices available through their marketing brochures and websites. The trick is to find the one that is closest to meeting your business requirements. How?
You will have to get up and close with all those solutions you have narrowed down on, after initial evaluation through the websites. As you spend some more time with them, ask questions and study them, the little weaknesses or issues with each system that may not be as apparent will be uncovered. For this purpose you may set out as a project team with several people, as other members of your team could come up with questions and findings that don’t occur to you. You also get to try out the systems, free of cost as well as paid. This way you will be able to learn more and see the different functionalities, helping you make a well-informed decision.
- Learn the latest trends in field service technology – As you speak with your vendors for their solutions, you will most definitely come across a lot of new buzzwords and technical jargon that you may not be familiar with. When you do, do not ignore them or assume them to be things that are not important or things that might already be included in the system. The latest technology is what you want, and you don’t want to be using a system which is very likely to get obsolete soon. You need to be well aware of all the latest trends in field service software and make sure that the system you are looking to adopt, has them. You need to do sufficient research for this, and acquaint yourself with all the new trends. Software-as-a-Service models, web and mobile-based interfaces and the like, are some trends for you to start with.
“The latest technology is what you want, and you don’t want to be using a system which is very likely to get obsolete soon.”
- Involve your field agents – Your field agents are the ones who are going to be spending the most time with the software you choose, so involving them in the buying process is not only fair, but also necessary. Ask them about their needs and difficulties, and also their expectations from the new system. Such engagement, will not only reduce the resistance to the new system, but it will also make them more excited about using it. Get their feedback on the system, provide them with the time and training required for them to get used to the new system. Their opinions and ideas are very likely to be right and good, as they are the ones who are going to be using it.
“Ask your field agents about their needs and difficulties, and also their expectations from the new system.”
- Make sure there is prompt customer support – You are very likely to face issues with your solution or get stuck with it, a few years into using it. While there may be field agents who may know how to work around minor glitches, there also may be some who need extra help. Either way, you want to make sure that when they do need help, the field service management customer support, is easily available and affordable as well. Whatever mode it may be in, tech support is a must. You need to ask questions and analyze support details like is it a call centre? Do you get to talk to experts? Do you pay extra for support or is it included in the initial price?
The right field service automation solution will last a long time and will be totally worth the initial investment, if is properly implemented and maintained. Hence, a thorough and effective software selection and implementation process is required, if you want to realize all these business benefits and improve the efficiency of your field service. Talk to our field service automation software experts to know more about them and help you choose the perfect one for your business.