Field service mobility has been shown to have a dramatic impact on field service workers productivity and efficiency. It will also be one of the most critical technologies in the future of field service. In a recent market study conducted by Blumberg Advisory Group, Inc., nearly three quarters (74.1%) of respondents indicated that mobility is one of the most important trends facing the future of the industry. Respondents viewed mobility as more important than IoT, Big Data, and Wearable Technologies. Despite all the media attention surrounding disruptive technologies, it is mobility that garners the most interest among field service executives.
Quite frankly, it’s astonishing to learn about these findings. You would think that mobility would be less of a concern for field service executives. After all, mobile field service software solutions have been around for decades. In fact, IBM was one of the first companies to implement a field service mobility solution in the early 1980s through collaboration with Motorola. Approximately ten years later, IBM and Motorola created the Ardis Wireless Data Network, as a commercial venture, to market and sell mobility solutions to other companies. My firm and I played a key role in sizing the market and developing the value proposition and “go-to market” strategy for Ardis within the field service industry. We subsequently worked for all the major mobile communications carriers, device manufacturers, and software vendors targeting the field service market.
Go Mobile. Increase Business Performance
Mobility solutions have changed significantly since those days. No longer only two-way text messaging systems, field service mobility solutions now contain the latest and greatest smartphone features and functionality and operate on 4G networks. In addition, these solutions are often integrated with cloud-based field service software solutions and have the ability to stream video, capture photos, surf the internet as well as communicate with IoT networks and wearable technologies.
As a result, field service workers can access real-time data and information about customer issues, machine conditions, and operating environments. They can receive work orders, determine parts availability, order parts, check pricing, obtain technical information, and collaborate with each other on the best way to solve a technical problem. The net effect is that field workers are smarter, more efficient and more productive than ever. In turn, companies who implement these solutions report greater data accuracy and improved financial and operational performance. Furthermore, field service organizations who implement mobility solutions are likely to have first-time fix rates, SLA compliance levels, cash flow, and field engineer utilization levels that are double that of companies that do not implement these types of solutions.
Enterprise Mobility Is Constantly Evolving
Perhaps the reason so many field service executives still view mobility as a critical is because less than half (46%) of the respondents surveyed believe their existing field service management software solutions are extremely or very effective in managing mobile requirements. However, the majority (54%) indicate that their current solutions are either somewhat (33%), slightly (19%), or not at all (2%) effective.
This status quo has more to do with the continuous level of innovation and development that occur within the mobility space than with inherent shortcomings in field service software. The fact that over half (55%) of the respondents indicated that it is either extremely likely (32%) or very likely (23%) that they will roll-out a new mobility solution further substantiates this claim.
These findings suggest two truths about field service management. First, mobility is integral to field service management. Second, field service organizations must have the latest and greatest mobile technologies if they are going to remain competitive, profitable, and deliver a great customer experience.
This guest blog post was written by Michael R. Blumberg, CMC and President of Blumberg Advisory Group, Inc. Michael is an independent consultant with over twenty years of experience in the Field Service Industry. He is an author and frequent speaker at industry events on issues ranging from sales and marketing to technology to strategy & leadership to operational excellence.