by Amrit Sra
Cloud computing and mobility offer a significant opportunity for companies to improve their field service operations. Employees in the field can use their mobile devices to access information anywhere, leading to increased productivity, faster and better customer service, increased collaboration and ease of data sharing, and better access to accurate, up-to-date data.
For example, service technicians with cloud-based, real-time tools in the field can complete work orders, adjust routes, request parts, schedule and be scheduled, look up manuals, take payments, renew maintenance agreements, and use social channels to communicate problems swiftly and effectively. The decisions they make in the field can be more informed through collaboration and data-sharing. They can also easily up-sell and cross-sell products where appropriate.
Running field service operations in the cloud offers industry-specific capabilities that can take this critical area of your business to the next level.
Running field service operations in the cloud offers industry-specific capabilities that can take this critical area of the business to the next level.”
1. Oil and Gas: These companies have their properties spread around the globe, and pipelines in remote areas that require constant monitoring and maintenance. With access to the internet, field workers can optimize routes, monitor, log, share, and report from their handheld devices in an integrated field-service application. They can upload large amounts of data, including videos, for archiving, analysis, and collaboration. This allows subject matter experts to apply their expertise in multiple and very remote locations without leaving their office, leading to significant cost savings.
2. Communications: Wireless carriers have cell towers and other equipment that must be up 24/7. Their technicians can get access to work order details, location maps, and service history, along with problem descriptions and relevant notes. Cable companies can have better collaboration between their service technicians and back-office staff. Supervisors can approve requests on their mobile devices. Without the cloud, VPN-based processes and delayed work flow can elongate the service cycle and increase repeat site visits, raising costs and lowering customer satisfaction.
3. Construction and Engineering: Most of the revenue of these companies comes from project-based operations in the field. Cloud-based field service solutions can be customized according to project and customer requirements. These customized workflows are integrated into project management and accounting solutions. This ensures tools and materials are in stock, enables customer approvals on mobile devices, and allows workers to start their workday with detailed schedules. The back office is able to run accurate payroll, invoicing, and site-specific replenishments. Without such customization and integration, construction costs and delays can add up quickly to wipe out profits.
4. Life Sciences: Companies in this industry have to deal with mission-critical situations. Their field service operations have to meet strict and frequently changing compliance requirements, along with 24/7 uptime to support complex processes. Besides patients, they must also monitor and support critical equipment in the field. The flexibility and high availability of cloud-based field-service enables them to deliver configurable, compliant processes in the field. Increased collaboration allows insurance companies and partners to have visibility into cases and work orders. As security technologies continue to advance, we can expect to see more cloud offerings in this industry soon.
5. Energy and Utilities: These companies must continuously comply with evolving environmental regulations and stringent labor laws as they try to achieve operational excellence and protect profits from their labor-intensive service business. Besides helping them lower their total cost of operations, cloud enables their customers to create their own service requests and look up manuals or knowledge bases. With cloud-based solutions, these companies can collaborate to share drawings and work orders with installation partners and local government agencies. Installation and repair engineers can effectively leverage back-office experts and view videos anywhere, anytime, increasing productivity, closure rates, and customer satisfaction.
The built-in flexibility, ease of customization, rapid integration, and collaboration features of the cloud unlock significant value for field service organizations in many industries. When companies using a cloud-based field service solution were surveyed by fieldservicenews.com about whether they would recommend a cloud field service solution over an on-premises solution, the answer was unanimous: 100% of respondents answered that they would.
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