It’s nearing the end of another year that promised and delivered inundated new technologies to aid in the creation of a more efficient future. The field service industry truly picked up the pace in 2013 with advanced improvements that are changing the way the industry operates – and for the better!
Here’s a retrospective breakdown of the top 7 trends in mobile workforce management. If you haven’t adopted these awe-inspiring improvements yet, it’s time to consider joining the leading competitors as they drive more efficiently into the future.
1. Mobile Apps
In 2013, the field service industry bid the question – what good is mobility if it’s not used to it’s fullest potential? – And so began the first major step toward incorporating mobile applications into daily field service responsibilities. With mobile apps like Square, for onsite payment retrieval, Google Waze, which provides fleet teams with foresight into weather and traffic conditions and technician location, or apps that communicate with mobile workforce management software to deliver real time data updating, technician responsibilities in 2013 where completed with less time and effort.
2. BYOD Policy
There were no strings attached in 2013 as more and more companies chose to empower remote productivity by instituting a ‘bring your own device’ strategy, which allowed employees to use their personal smartphones or tablets as tools to assist in completing tasks faster. With mobile devices, employees are granted a whole new avenue to communicate with the office, one another and the world.
3. Cloud Computing
This year was all about bridging gaps and enterprise solutions like cloud-based platforms truly accomplished just that. While the cloud has been around for a few years now, it became more widely accepted in 2013 – and for good reason. Not only is it becoming a safer alternative to in-house servers but also, it puts information in a place that is accessible to the people who need it most, field technicians. Cloud information placement breaks time and geographic barriers by allocating access from any place at any time, enhancing the fluidity of workflow and providing a better customer service experience by allowing technicians a better view into customer histories.
4. Automation & Optimization
In 2013, it was all about automating and optimizing! With the use of enterprise solutions like mobile workforce management and field service scheduling software, many administrative responsibilities were taken over by smart computing that analyzes data and provides detailed reports to aid in better decision making. Mobile workforce management software acts as a centralized hub through which, all work order and client information passes. And with field service scheduling software, technician dispatch and routing and customer request monitoring is now a much more logical and simplistic process.
5. Information Sharing
What the cloud and enterprise solutions for field service optimization really aimed to accomplish was an increased flow of information that would seamlessly pass between customers, the office and the field technician. Mobile workforce management, paired with field service scheduling software and enterprise mobility exceeded this goal, providing technicians with more information than ever before. Furthermore, the real time exchange of information between technicians and office staff has greatly added to overall increases in efficiency and productivity while offering an added layer of protection. With mobile workforce management software and enterprise mobility, information is almost instantaneously put into the hands of company software and management instead of floating around in the back seat of a fleet vehicle in the form of incomplete paperwork that might not make its way in to the company reports right away.
6. Social Collaboration
Social media networking really grew legs this year and was adopted by the field service industry as a valuable tool for expertise collaboration. Now, if a technician runs into an unforeseen challenge on the job, they can look to their network of professionals for advice. Technicians can post pictures and videos to create a clearer idea of what the problem is and in conjunction with their colleagues, can tackle problems together.
As mobile workforce management tools developed in 2013, so did security. The use of enterprise solutions in union with mobile devices created a demand for better policy making to best protect important company data that could easy slip into the wrong hands via mobile device theft or loss. In addition, the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) put out their annual security guidelines with new categories that cover:
Supply Chain Management & Transparency and Accountability
Interoperability and Portability
Encryption and Key Management
In retrospect, it was a good year for the field service industry as technology truly became widely accepted. While learning to manage this new set of advanced tools can be somewhat challenging, these field-tested utilities have certainly proved their worth by working to accomplish improvements in key areas like:
Creating more efficiency
Simplifying the job lifecycle
Providing opportunities for improved customer service
It’s an exciting time for mobile workforce management and the field service industry as a whole. With such grand advances in 2013, we can’t wait to see what next year brings!
Image Credit: LiveLook