In our most recent blog, Brant Carter spoke about leveraging technology to effectively connect field service operations, from the back office to technicians out in the field. Technology certainly plays a key role in transforming service delivery and mobile technology in particular has been one of the most important technology investments across field service organizations in the past few years.
The benefits that new mobility options can provide have proven to have a significant impact on service delivery. Our findings have shown that organizations that have successfully deployed mobile solutions have seen a 40% increase in revenue per technician. These are not small incremental improvements but truly transformational impacts.
For businesses looking to deploy technology for the first time the question is not why, but rather what should be deployed? The answer can be daunting as there are clearly a lot of choices in the market place. To make the decision as easy as possible, when reviewing options, consider not only what the vendor is offering today, but what they can also offer in the future as your business grows and adapts. Organizations that have already implemented mobility might be asking what's next. Are there further benefits that can be achieved?
Advancements in technology hit the marketplace every day but organizations will quickly realize that adopting and deploying technology is not an easy feat, it can take time and is filled with challenges. Our survey found that nearly 50% of deployments listed workforce resistance as a major issue. It is therefore not practical to be upgrading devices or switching platforms every year just because a new technology has been introduced.
When looking at the mobile landscape it can be useful to think about things in phases of an adoption curve. In many cases the first deployment of mobile technology involved cell phones that service technicians carried around with a paper clipboard filled with their daily work orders. The second big wave occurred in the 2010 to 2014 period with the introduction of the iPad and in the following years many organizations rolled out tablet based devices which eliminated the need for the paper clipboard. For once service technicians were mobilized completely.
Most organizations have a technology lifecycle that will run in 3 to 5 year cycles. This ensures that they are able to get a solid Return on Investment and that they are able to adapt their business operations accordingly.
What we see in the market now is a much deeper interest in automating job workflows which provide the technician with step by step job workflows that flow through all the tasks needed to complete the job. This is aligned with the request for much more customizable mobile solutions. Organizations are now taking the time to really understand their business and are looking for technology that can adapt accordingly. Mobile is moving from just an app to now a platform that allows for all kinds of applications - all aligned with the needs of the business.
Augmented Reality has the chance to be just as disruptive to the field service market as the cell phone, smart phone and tablet has had. Some customers are in the early stages of piloting different technology options. The options are still limited but there is tremendous innovation taking place both on the device and application side which is very interesting to follow. Trimble has been investing heavily in mobile mixed reality and we think that the impact on not only field service but other industries is going to be profound and offer another step function in productivity gains.
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You can download the full version of the Field Service Insight Report 2016 here.
For more information on mobile and how it is connecting the workforce, download our Field Service Insight Report.