June 22, 2018
There is so much happening in the mobility space and the intervention of mobile access and mobile apps is increasingly reshaping the business and operation models of the enterprises around the world, and field service management (FSM) is one of the quicker and more enthusiastic adopters of mobility. This trend is set to continue and grow further considering field service management mobile apps are not only beneficial but crucial in establishing an efficient field service model.
But before reach there, let us take a cursory look at what field service management or FSM is. In fundamental terms, it is about managing the resources of the company which or who are employed at the client location and not at the company location. In a competitive business world such as today’s, providing seamless services to the clients is not optional and that is where field services play an indispensable role.
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Below are a few examples to quote for field services:
◙ Engineers sent to the client site to fix installation and functional issues
◙ Housekeeping or security staff at the client office premises
◙ Consultants working at a client location
◙ Client inventory management
◙ Staff or nurses appointed for a home-based care
That is why to ensure the sustainability of client operations and maintain the highest standard of service, FSM is of paramount importance. Salesforce highlights that the global FSM market is estimated to be $3.5 billion by next year.
Mobile apps are turning out to be phenomenal process shift as they cut down on the huge paperwork involved significantly and streamline the process in a better manner. Quite fascinatingly, this all can be carried out at any time and from anywhere using only a small mobile device through the cloud while the field service human staff can perform their tasks at client location more conveniently and effectively. It certainly is a boon in the process where the employees are mostly traveling or working from a client location.
The number of mobile workers and mobile devices is increasing. In its 11th annual update of Visual Networking Index in 2016, Cisco estimated that mobile would contribute 20 percent of total IP traffic by 2021. A Mobile application is increasingly finding ways across the functions, departments, and industries and field services enjoy no exception. Whether it is a field service app for Android or iPhone/iPad, there are several beneficial options available for the companies today. So let us resume now from where we left earlier in this blog—Why is it that the FSM needs mobile apps? What benefits can a field service app bring to it?
Here are the top five reasons:
While staying away from the company location for most of the time, connectivity is what the field officers depend heavily on since they need continuous coordination and knowledge on the job. Mobile apps are a great help in this areas. Field officers can attain a greater level of connectivity using mobile devices especially when some of them are traveling to the same client location. Thus, their coordination among them improves and hence the productivity. Besides, mobile apps save them a lot of time and energy involved in preparing enormous paperwork involved in field services. By being connected to the workplace, they do not need to visit the company office to take care of that. Additionally, field services time apps task scheduling becomes more accurate and based on the available technical help, a suitable field officer can be assigned to a task in real-time.
To ensure the seamless services, the field workers regularly require critical information needed to perform their job instantly such as several pieces of data, facts, statistics pertaining to the client, work order, product and solutions, inventory etc.. For them, time often proves to be a luxury they cannot afford. Field management app pulls the data from the cloud and makes all the required information available to the field officers on-the-go. This app empowers them to take key decisions based on valuable insights which they can access only using their smartphones. It becomes even greater help in cases where the field officers have to be on the move from one client location to the next and they need the data related to the next job readily available.
It is evident that FSM is a complex system comprising many processes, sub-processes, tasks, and activities. Traditional ways of handling it majorly with human intervention often leave a spacious room for glitches and human errors. That is another area in FSM where field service apps arrive as a great advantage. They take away several redundant, time-consuming and error-prone tasks from the human staff and automate those tasks. Not only do they save a considerable amount of time for the staff but also minimize errors and set up an organized work process. Can you imagine what all it would take to store and keep in place all that hefty paperwork before mobile apps came into existence and play?
Field services require coordination with various teams and departments and there often remain a few knowledge-gaps which affect this coordination negatively. With field service mobile apps, systems across the departments communicate with each other and improve coordination and knowledge-sharing among them. Any update in a data piece is updated everywhere at the same time automatically and thus the knowledge-gaps are much fewer in number. This enables all the teams to work more efficiently in a more connected way which improved the overall productivity of the business. Cumulatively, this results in a higher performance and hence productivity of the field operations.
Customer service is treated as the highest level of priority for any business and enterprises make a lot of investment in enhancing the customer experience. Mobile apps perform in the alignment of this business objective and deliver optimally. Using field management apps, your field officers can instantly provide the information to customers which they need. The apps facilitate a smooth process so that the field officers can perform their job smoothly and deliver on the promises made to the customers. Furthermore, an automated and streamlined workflow means there is a minimal number of delays and the job is done as per the customer expectations. This, in total, results in minimum instances of customer impatient and dissatisfaction and adds to the positive experience of the customer.
Although the FSM mobile apps cover a range of aspects of daily business operations, there may be a few hiccups involved in its implementation. For example, one size may not fit all and the firms, especially bigger ones, may have to build an app fit for their business needs. Also, the app may not have all the features to provide a comprehensive solution and employees may face challenge pertaining to mobile/app usage.
These hiccups, however, are few in number and negligible in mass when compared to the number of benefits a field service management mobile app can provide. What remains evident is that these apps make the lives of field officers easier than ever before and proclaim their efficacy in increasing productivity, effectiveness and customer satisfaction in field services. It should soon be a widespread observation that mobile apps are inseparable from FSM. Jason Wong, research director at Gartner, rightly says, “When it comes to mobile and field service, it’s been a match made in heaven for a long time.“