How do most field service operators cope with the problems of the industry now? What technologies are emerging that could add incremental improvement? The field service industry has been organizing the Field Service Amelia Island (Florida) Conference since 2003. The current conference (August 27 to 29th, 2018) is an expression of the unity of the industry and includes a number of technology sessions. The focus on technology affirms where the industry is going technologically.
Thinking in terms of soft technology
Technological change in the field service industries includes growth in the organizational and social technologies as much as the hard-wire technologies.
- Field service is being transformed into "Digital Field Service."
- "Customer Success Departments" are being developed to permanently affect the way field services are conceived and delivered.
These large-scale transformations are made necessary because of intense public demand for much higher standards of on-time service and the public demand for higher levels of technical skills among operators. Digital field service will impact the employee selection operations, perhaps the entire business organizations of many operators.
Last Spring, a conference in Palm Springs was organized to "Prepare for the Future of Digital Field Service." The concept of good, effective and fast field service is, of course, not new but the embedding field service into the mix of digital electronics and the increased immersion of field service with the internet of things (IoT) obviously is.
- Special, real-time predictive analytics allow "customer success departments" to predict when a job will start and how long it will take to completion with
- Job assignments can be optimized and routing can be done more intelligently with digital field-service software development.
- Customers can be kept informed through more extensive using of predictive analytics.
Service data has always had importance in the field service industry. However, service data is having a greater impact on decision making. There is new acceptance of the reliability and validity of data collected. With new technological sophistication, all levels assume reliance on automated data collection methods and greater focus on real-time outcome displays.
Thinking in terms of maximum data usage
The sheer volume of data generated in field service operations has itself become of focus of technological change. It is more than the classic concern with keeping track of employees. The field services industries and remote operations have became deeply embedded in the entire economy. Technological change includes reorientation of field service identity. New technology arises from big data operation, monetizing, and applying insights gained from massive data collection to get better outcomes, improving products.
- Discovering and inventing better data visualization tools.
- Entering the burgeoning opportunities coming out of the data cleaning, data analysis, and data presentation technologies.
Digital Technology with Internet of Things (IoT) Links Replacing Radio-Based Technology
The situation appears vastly different from even a few years. What can be seen in the major industry conferences is that much of the work of building technological links between operators and administration, management and central offices and many techniques for monitoring attitudes of customers has already been done. The issues of management hardware and communications that used to be core to the problems of field service appear to have vanished off the table, to be replaced with organizational issues. The level of technology for operating a complex industry appears to have been more-or-less worked out using digital technology and sophisticated software.
The field-service industry appears to have reached a new plateau with strong, new capability. The industry is expressing a new level of confidence with digital technologies. The explosive information processing technologies, and cloud-based platforms, generally sold as a service (PaaS) are bringing field service into the high technology mainstream.
ServicePower is a leading field-service management software company focused on providing an exceptional customer experience, while delivering significant operational efficiencies. Visit www.servicepower.com for more about new technologies in field-service management.