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Mobilize Your Field Service with a Strategic Cloud Approach

Sandy Gorman, Product Manager, Oracle Field Service Cloud

A mobile device is the primary screen that connects billions of people in modern countries around the world.  In developing countries, it’s the only screen.

Thus, it’s not a surprise that the majority of field service organizations want their field personnel using a mobile device. With this in mind, you must leverage that awareness when designing a modern digital transformation. If you presume mobility as part of your solution, the cloud becomes the only true path.

And if you’ve been considering a field service solution, then you’ve heard all the cloud benefits: agility, increased speed of innovation, lower IT costs, and greater security and compliance options. And with those outcomes and their promises of technological nirvana, the tendency is to want to move fast to make everything happen all at once. But, I recommend you build your strategy by investing as much time as you can into planning and design.

I’m a big advocate for digital transformations. Today’s world requires moving some if not all of your systems to the cloud. Having worked in some capacity with cloud-based solutions for the last 10 years, I see how transformative the cloud can be and how quickly you can achieve ROI when you take on a Field Service Management solution.

Mobile First

There are many ways to tackle a significant transformation.  This one puts your end user in hyper-focus.  While other methods may be equally effective, this helps you visualize the end first and define requirements by walking the path in reverse.

Where do we start? Start at the end. Yes, a bit cliché and vague. So let’s be a little more specific when you embrace the concept of ‘Mobile First.’

You’re leading your company’s digital transformation. You want to make this a great experience for both your field service employees and your customers. You and other executives in your organization identify these three key goals:

  1. Modernize the internal and external systems.
  2. Provide a superior customer experience.
  3. Equip field service employees with all the tools they need to do their jobs.

When you envision this transformative journey, what occupies most of your thoughts? Budget?  Resources? Timeframes? Metrics? Where to start? Most importantly, what about user adoption? How much time will you allocate to encourage and maintain user adoption?  

One very powerful way to encourage user adoption is to build it from your employees’ point of view, making them a key part of the new system’s plan and design.  Keep them engaged throughout the process by having them review and test prototypes, providing feedback. Remember, they are the ultimate user, so their opinion matters!

Communicate outcomes throughout the transformation. If you come to a crossroad where you have to sacrifice the employee experience in favor of the customer experience, rethink your direction. A happy, productive employee will provide exceptional customer experiences. The best design may deliver an unforgettable experience for them both!  

All mobile apps point upstream to specific sources. By focusing on them first, you are identifying requirements and essentially backing into your final solution.

If you tackle this effort, here are a few things to consider:

  1. Maintain a stakeholder matrix that documents in great detail everyone’s role, processes, reports, inputs, and outputs. This will help identify what will change by virtue of automation, or be replaced or eliminated.
  2. Don’t assume you’ll just convert your current processes to digital versions. Be open to the new ideas and capabilities digital transformations can provide. Recreating the past is rarely a good thing. 
  3. Whiteboard as much as you can during the planning process. Transformation is incredibly powerful when fueled by visuals!
  4. Encourage your stakeholders to whiteboard their ideas as well. This way you can start to connect things easily.

In addition, consider starting with these critical business capabilities to empower your field service employees:

  • Visibility of customer information, services and service history
  • Access to workflows for any step of the customer experience – from initial booking to financial closure
  • Easy access to warranties and contracts
  • Complete field service functionality that includes scheduling, work estimates, checklists, troubleshooting and work order debriefs
  • Storage capabilities for pictures, manuals, and reference materials relevant to field work
  • Collaboration that lets your field effortlessly reach out to each other and the back office
  • Offline functionality that doesn’t limit or interfere with the job progress
  • Ability to close the job and initiate invoicing, customer communications or surveys

Ultimately, it comes down to how you can best articulate your vision to your vendor.

Take that first step!

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