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October 05, 2015
Process modernization & consolidation: field service management
By: Jason Wojahn

Field Service ManagementOver the past year, service management has proved its versatility as more than just an IT-related principle by forging a path throughout the entire enterprise. Today, organizations are extending service management to new departments like facilities and HR and even to entire industries such as retail, legal and higher education. Given the success that service management has found in these areas, one can only ask: What’s the next frontier?

Service management works well for any request-driven space, which is why field services is ripe for the picking. Whether you need to service remote locations, remote equipment or even remote personnel, field services by its very nature has a lot of request-driven moving parts. As a result, field services requires a lot of coordination to get the right person to the right place at the right time as efficiently as possible, making it a prime candidate for the automation that comes with service management.

HOW CAN FIELD SERVICES BENEFIT FROM AUTOMATION?

The deeper you dig, the more benefits you’ll uncover, but two of the most promising benefits of adding automation to field services are productivity gains and improved mobility. 


Productivity Gains
You can significantly increase productivity and allow field service technicians to complete more work each day by automating the dispatch and routing processes based on technician
and task location.

This combination of process automation and location-based tracking can increase productivity for technicians by helping you send the right person to the right place more efficiently. Specifically, by tracking each technician’s location, you can gain the visibility you need to see who is closest to any specific task. After all, why send someone to a site 10 miles away when there’s another technician who can complete the work who’s only one mile away? Additionally, automation can increase this efficiency even further by simplifying the dispatch process and sending the most appropriate route guidance based on current traffic conditions. 


Improved Mobility
Automation can also help introduce mobility to improve the user experience for both field service technicians and their customers. 

Improving mobility not only makes it easier to track technician location and send route updates as described above, but it also allows you to track technicians to monitor for any safety precautions.
Finally, automating field service tasks by equipping technicians with mobile devices can improve the user experience by simplifying how technicians record information. Rather than fumbling through a bunch of steps to resolve issues or lugging around carts of paperwork, technicians can streamline communication and reporting by using mobile devices. This mobility simplifies the process for technicians and speeds the resolution for end customers, thus creating a better experience for both.

TAKING SERVICE MANAGEMENT OUT TO THE FIELD

I recently saw one telecommunications company who applied this model extremely well. The company has field agents who install and maintain wireless equipment and cell sites, and it recognized the opportunity to improve its field services model by introducing automation with service management. 

Since then, the company has set up its field workers for success by equipping them with mobile devices. These devices have helped create a better, more streamlined experience for technicians, who no longer have to carry around unwieldy devices or paperwork or even wait for a webpage to load. In turn, this update has created huge efficiency gains. 

The company has also enabled features like data caching to provide managers with insight into how technicians spend their days, and this added intelligence has gone a long way toward helping the company send the right person to the right place at the right time.

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