Steve Wellen, CEO of FieldAware outlines the evolution of analytics and how field service organisations are reaping the benefits…
Research into field service management consistently shows that when respondents are asked what they are planning to invest in or are looking to implement, analytic tools, more and more, are being highlighted above other functionality.
No great surprise given that today’s field service operations can rely on many different systems and solutions, all of which generate huge amounts of data. However, being able to organise and analyse data in an effective, simple and reliable way is a major challenge and without the means of turning it into something actionable, many businesses just don’t benefit. So, where are we in the evolution of field service analytics and how are field service organisations making their data work smarter, not harder?
Data, data everywhere
Over the past decade, field service organisations have become overwhelmed by the increasing information coming in from multiple sources and in various formats. As field service has become more and more integrated with other business solutions, (including accounting, ERP and CRM), organising this data becomes such a complex task that it may simply end up being unused. Managers and team members may then revert to relying on what they used to do, or make decisions based on hunches to run the business, rather than use the business intelligence they need.
Business leaders understand the data they have cannot be ignored. The major challenge they face, however, is how to sift through the data and link it together in a meaningful way. Data is often from disparate systems, but needs to be collated and reported in an easily understood way, to reveal the valuable insights that are needed for day-to-day performance and longer-term business strategy.
A brief history of field service analytics
The early adopters of field service analytics have seen a transformation of the solutions available, and we have witnessed this evolution first-hand.
We have seen our customers move from their initial requirements of basic business reporting, through to needing a comprehensive business intelligence solution.
Early on, it was often a snapshot of what had happened that was required, for example, how many jobs had been completed. It soon became apparent that organisations had different performance indicators to manage, and individuals needed metrics specific to roles. A layer of sophistication was needed, with custom reports where customers could then dive deeper to retrieve further information.
They could explore the types of jobs that were being completed, monitor individual performance or compare geographies.
Using data to make business decisions then drove the need for further information and queries could be set up to examine any problems or if any differences were apparent, for example, time taken on jobs, cost variations or first-time fix rates.
In addition, alerts could be set to enable better management of SLAs by flagging potential issues such as at-risk jobs.
A continual journey
All useful perspective, but for those using analytics for the first time, there is now no reason to stop at what could simply be seen to be mimicking what paper-based processes capture on the ‘what’ and the ‘where’.
Leap forward and it is the ‘why’ within analytics capabilities that truly enhances the value. After generating basic reports, managers did not always have time, the knowledge or experience to translate the results into meaningful action.
Advances in analytics provide businesses with the ability to view data after it has been configured and cross-referenced using statistical modelling.
Better decisions can be made more easily as they are based on accurate, analysed information, and better decision-making means a more effective, efficient operation.
The future’s bright, the future is optimised
Today, field service leaders realise they need analytics that enables them to make more informed decisions to continue to grow their business. Just having data is not enough – they need the ability to use the data to align service teams to work together towards meeting company goals and managing customer expectations. Organisations now demand analytics solutions that migrate from reactive to predictive operations.
They need to move from insight to action faster than ever before with business insights from finance, CRM, ERP, FSM solutions that they depend upon for everyday operations.
They need better teamwork and collaboration so that they can quickly arrive at consensus, act and capitalise on opportunities.
These include discovering hidden opportunities and finding the next big opportunity in the business intelligence.
The business is optimised not only through these day-to-day enhancements, but the operational insights are consistently fed back to business and management, enabling a real-time feedback loop ensuring that key metrics improve continuously – creating a cycle of continual improvement for the field service organisation and improved operations.
For more information on using analytics for your field service optimisation and how you can reap the benefits, visit www.fieldaware.com
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