Mobile Field Service Management: More Predictive, More Proactive, More Preventive

Jul 10, 2014

Today's field service management apps are very emphatically moving away from simple worker tracking.  Location is great to know, but it's just the beginning of what needs to be accomplished out on the front line.  

To start with, field service organizations want more sophisticated workflow functions and richer customer engagement capabilities. However, even these more advanced features react more than anticipate.  To become more productive, save more money, and maybe even create new revenue streams, mobile field service management solutions need to become more proactive and preventive.

They can do so by harnessing the remote monitoring power of M2M machine-to-machine, with the end result being a smarter, more connected version of field service.

Consider two scenarios:

Scenario #1:  Today's field service organization is reactive and heavily dependent on the customer waving the red flag.  They wait for the equipment user to recognize there's a problem and call in with a complaint.  What happens next?  A field service tech is dispatched to the site to diagnose the problem.  The clock is ticking.  The customer may be losing both money and employee productivity because equipment is down or distressed.  A bad situation becomes worse if the service rep doesn't have the parts or expertise to immediately fix the problem.  Time to first fix can be needlessly extended.

Scenario #2:  A more proactive system would utilize sensor and remote monitoring instead of the customer's eyes and ears.  The customer would have to define preferred operational parameters upfront; then the devices or equipment would be securely monitored; and then an alert sequence would be initiated when any deviation from those parameters takes place.  Diagnostics and data are automatically collected, a service case is generated, and a work order appears on the appropriate tech's mobile device.  The rep can run diagnostics and solve the problem either onsite or via a remote program.  All of this takes place BEFORE an actual equipment problem occurs and escalates -- prompting proactive maintenance and preventing costly repairs or even premature replacement.

We participated in a webinar last month on just this topic.  "Enabling the 'Smart and Connected' Service Ecosystem" was sponsored by Astea International.  In a future market report, we'll explore this phenomenon in more detail, including benefits, issues to consider, and next steps for interested businesses.

Jeanine Sterling


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