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Unpacking the uberization of field services

Back in March 2009, two entrepreneurs launched an innovative cab service that allowed smartphone users to connect with independent drivers via mobile application. This startup eventually evolved into Uber and catalyzed the emergence of the peer-to-peer operational model, transforming not only the transportation space but also other sectors intent on improving customer experiences and overcoming significant hiring and recruitment roadblocks. The field service space is among the industries that has changed following the ride-sharing company's emergence. Field service organizations of all sizes have embraced uberization to some extent and consumers want to request maintenance and track technician progress just as they would call a cab and monitor driver movements when using Uber.

That said, the uberization of field services encompasses more than mobile app usage. It also entails changing the technician deployment paradigm and embracing mixed workforces.

Mixing internal and external talent
The peer-to-peer approach that vaulted Uber into the enterprise and cultural zeitgeists is more complicated than advertised, consultants for Aberdeen noted. The ride-sharing company did not become an industry powerhouse by simply tricking car owners into becoming cab drivers - it empowered a pool of existing contractors by offering them the scheduling and payment tools they needed to operate more efficiently, while lending customers an operational transparency that was immensely appealing and virtually unheard of in the transportation space. The Uber drivers of today eventually joined the service, but not before the original on-road contractors had erected the required infrastructure and established communal norms.

This is the approach many service businesses are taking. With access to full-time technicians, many of these organizations are developing the tools and techniques needed to bolster field performance while slowly integrating third-party specialists to cultivate scalable mixed workforces. Field service companies are not simply farming out work to unknown technicians with tools and trucks - they are leveraging in-house talent and bringing on qualified third-parties, all of whom can access cutting-edge field service management technology.

Understanding the technical requirements
Field service management solutions are an essential ingredient here, lending both technicians and customers the communication channels they need to flourish, while also giving managers access to key operational insights. This is why field service companies worldwide invested more than $2.7 billion in the technology in 2018 and are expected to spend over $3 billion on such solutions in 2019, according to data from ResearchandMarkets. In the end, field service businesses that want to embrace uberization, develop the requisite mixed workforces and gain ground in the marketplace need this technology.

Here at ServicePower, we specialize in developing and deploying field service management tools designed for the post-Uber operating environment. Our platform contains powerful components that allow service business field managers to meet the needs of full-time and third-party technicians, facilitate operational optimization and lay the groundwork for rich customer experiences.

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