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Critical capabilities for mobile field workforce enablement

Feb 21 • Features, Software and Apps • 1679 Views • No Comments on Critical capabilities for mobile field workforce enablement

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Dan Dillon, Vice President of Marketing, Mobile Reach explores the key criteria for industry benchmark Gartner when it comes to field service and mobile applications…

In the 2016 Magic Quadrant for Field Service Management, Gartner identifies four key drivers of mobile app adoption for field service organisations:

  • Improved technician utilisation
  • Improved customer satisfaction
  • Increased dispatcher efficiency
  • Increased service profitability

Mobile apps that enable these performance improvements are among the most important requirements a field service organisation can have when choosing a mobility solution. But not all mobile field workforce enablement tools are the same, so how does one know what to select?

A new white paper published by Mobile Reach includes a set of critical capabilities for enabling field technicians with mobile apps to help ensure your implementation drives exceptional results.

Best-in-class mobile solutions are designed for the unique tasks your field service technicians fulfill, and the apps function effectively under the constraints of your specific environment. There are several critical capabilities for strategic mobility in field service management. At a more granular level, strategic mobile apps:

  • Are flexible to mould to your organisation’s field processes. To accomplish this, a mobile platform with a rapid application development tool is a necessity. This gives the field service organisation the ability to easily configure the apps to match field workflows.
  • Connect directly into the enterprise service platform, ERP and/or CRM system. Many solutions use separate staging databases or plugins that require additional administration and support costs. Selecting a mobile platform that connects directly into your service platform or ERP system prevents the need for additional development resources and reduces potential points of failure.
  • Need to operate offline. Offline capability gives field techs the ability to do their jobs even in remote locations with spotty or no network connectivity. Techs can continue to work and capture data regarding work time, asset status, or any other condition. Once the tech receives an approved network connection, data is synched with the back-end service platform or ERP system.
  • Must support various modes of data capture and necessary peripheral devices — Bluetooth barcode scanners, RFID-enabled devices and signature capture pads to name a few.
  • Operate on all mobile operating systems that your organisation currently supports or is expected to support in the foreseeable future — iOS, Android, and Windows Mobile.
  • Support all peripheral devices that your organisation currently supports or is expected to support — smartphones, tablets, ruggedized barcode scanners, and Bluetooth-enabled devices like handheld barcodes scanners for inventory management.

There are a range of use cases that leading field service organisations solve for with strategic mobile apps that go well beyond standard work order management.

Just 22 percent of technicians have the ability to capture customer requests via mobile apps, while 77 percent of technicians say that solving customer problems is the aspect of their work they enjoy most.

Field service managers can use GPS coordinates to track field techs and view technicians on a map for dispatch efficiency. Mobile apps can also be used to route field techs to a job site with a map and turn-by-turn directions.

Once at the job site, field technicians and engineers can receive push notifications and alerts from the service team informing them of new needs, tasks or other relevant information. To help mitigate the complexity of work, field techs should be able to use apps to collaborate with other field techs and the service team in real time.

In terms of work orders, field techs need to be able to record time on a job, and track when individual tasks and jobs are completed. Perhaps most importantly, technicians need to have the ability to create and manage change requests out in the field. The “Field Service 2016: The Technician’s Perspective” report showed that just 22 percent of technicians have the ability to capture customer requests via mobile apps, while 77 percent of technicians say that solving customer problems is the aspect of their work they enjoy most.

Field service organisations aiming to improve upon technician utilisation, customer satisfaction, dispatcher efficiency and service profitability should consider these critical capabilities for mobile apps. Those that do not are likely to miss out on a significant opportunity to increase their competitive advantage in the marketplace.

A full analysis of how strategic mobility for field service management drives long-term business value is available in this free white paper, “Mobile Field Workforce Enablement Drives Business Value.”

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