3 Ways to Make Sense of Big Data in Field Service Management

Posted by David Alazraki

Tue, Jan 21, 2014

big data in field service managementMuch has been written about the value of Big Data. Big Data is basically a high-volume information asset that demand cost-effective and innovative forms of information processing for effective decision making.

Field service integration and management companies in particular are recipients of large volumes and types of data, especially from their mobile field service operations. They also have on hand personnel and client data and utilize Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in support of field activities, and government regulatory data to comply with industry-specific requirements.

With Big Data, there is a potential for enhanced field service integration and strategic planning that could be realized through a focused analysis of the wealth of available underutilized data. Here are three ways to make sense of big data for field service management purposes:

1. Inventorying Your Data

Before knowing what you can do with your data, you need to know what it is.  Often overlooked in cataloguing data is such unstructured information as notes, comments and visual and audio records. By carefully recording your data sources and the information they provide in whatever format, you’ll be readying for improvement.

  • What information are your service techs providing via mobile technology?
  • How is information stored and used by your workforce management software?  
  • What’s being gathered by the matrix of your remote devices that are part of the Internet of Things, such as the telematics from your fleet vehicles, and data from meters and sensors?  

2. Analyzing Your Data

There are a number of sophisticated, integrated software tools that can help you acquire, analyze, visualize and utilize your data, whatever its source and structure.  The heart of such tools is an intuitive, easily used workforce management software package that also offers deep support for workforce analytics. With a robust workforce analytics tool, the wealth of data you’ve collected can be called upon to help guide your planning through easily customized reports. 

With such a suite of software tools, you’re ready to leverage your data to evaluate trends, assess performance, and improve decision making. Key questions you might ask are:

  • Did service call performance meet the goals set through their related Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)?
  • What new goals and KPIs are needed to improve scheduling and dispatch?
  • What data needs to be made available to improve scheduling, backlog and dispatch decisions?
  • Are we collecting data that’s important but unused because of its format or restricted availability?
  • Who  could use it?
  • How to make such data available as consumable information to key users?
  • How can we best match resources to jobs, schedule appointments and respond to changes in realtime, 24/7? 

3. Using Your Data — Schedule Optimization

The heart of field service integration and management is scheduling. With your data known, analyzed and available, you can:

  • Schedule jobs with the best possible integration of job requirements and available resources.
  • Determine and utilize job-specific requirements such as worker availability, proficiency, job cost, tools and parts availability and drive time.
  • Ensure job requirements take account of time restrictions and task dependencies to include multiple day and multiple tier jobs, with worker and drive time requirements factored in.
  • Automate scheduling of work, from short-duration tasks to multi-day, multi-stage, multi-resource jobs.
  • Offer the client a choice of appointments based upon realtime worker and resources availability.
  • Provide workforce management software that will enable schedule optimization at your company. 
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Tags: Workforce Management Tips, Developments in Field Service Management