3 ways mobility technologies can transform field service management

Smartphones and tablets have already begun to have a major impact on a variety of enterprise segments, and this disruption is apparent in the field service sector.

Embracing enterprise mobility can drive efficiency gains for workers in the field.

Smartphones and tablets have already begun to have a major impact on a variety of enterprise segments, and this disruption is apparent in the field service sector. For example, a Field Service Matters report analyzing Gartner's Magic Quadrant study for field service software pointed to wearable connected devices, mobile scheduling apps and app functionality extended out to end-users in the field as critical trends in the industry.

This move to implement mobile devices across the field service sector is contributing to widespread growth. A MarketsandMarkets study found that the global market for field service software will rise at a compound annual growth rate of approximately 21 percent for the period of 2015 to 2020. By 2020, the market will be valued at $5.11 billion.

According to the study, the need to centralize information and processes from diverse sources is driving the sector's rapid growth.

Mobility solutions play a critical role in this process, as field service management platforms that include mobile functionality empower organizations to gather data from a variety of sources and centralize that information in a single interface. From there, users can easily hop between devices and locations while still getting the vital information they need.

The ability to coordinate and consolidate information from mobile users enables organizations to adjust operations around remote work tasks – something that is particularly fitting for field service teams. Three ways mobile field service software is transforming operations are:

"Building a business around digital workplace models can drive positive work experiences."

1. Engage, empower employees
The rise of the digital workplace has created an operational climate in which organizations can use strategic technology investments to make workers feel more engaged. A Deloitte study pointed out that intentionally building a business around digital workplace models can drive positive experiences in the workplace, improve communication and foster cultural change.

All of these benefits are particularly valuable in field service settings, where workers who spend most of their time disconnected from the main office can more easily access the information and collaboration tools they need on a day-to-day basis. When users can file invoices, manage work orders and complete other key processes using a mobile device, those employees can avoid tedious clerical work and stay connected at all times. Mobile workforce management doesn't have to be a burden when employees have the tools they need to work anywhere.

2. Improve customer experiences
Field service firms are facing greater pressure to improve responsiveness as customer expectations shift in light of digital business capabilities, Customer Think reported. Besides accelerating time to response, there is also a need to improve first-time fix rates.

Mobile field service software enables companies to provide end-to-end visibility into inventory management, work order management and customer relationship management systems. This creates a situation in which drivers can ensure they are prepared for every customer visit, even while in the field, guaranteeing the best possible experience.

3. Inform the entire business
The data visibility and coordination offered through mobile field service management tools trickles into the rest of the office. When a technician in the field files a work order detailing parts used, the inventory management system is updated to reflect that change. If that asset falls below its reorder threshold, the inventory management platform will send a notification to the purchasing module. In action, the better data management keeps the entire business connected to what is going on in the field.

Creating a more connected field service team can have a widespread impact on businesses. Bringing apps, data and communication capabilities to mobile devices enables users to handle everything from warranty management to customer engagement on a smartphone, giving companies an opportunity to reach customers in new ways and get more creative as they work to solve everyday problems.

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