Market intelligence company, Aberdeen, recently published its Mobile Field Service Survey. With the increased affordability of such utilities, there’s some interesting findings to draw from – whatever size your business.
Stages of maturity
Aberdeen started by segmenting its sample of 141 field service organizations into three distinct groups:
- Immature – those companies able to track technician location only (fairly easy, as they will all have a mobile phone!)
- Moderately mature – those tracking location and performance.
- Mature – those focusing on several areas such as: data cleansing, breaking down business silos, incorporating mobile data into systems of engagement.
Where’s your business on this scale of maturity? 54% of Aberdeen’s sample was classed as mature.
It’s clear to see the growing trend of investing in mobile connectivity to improve performance and customer service.
Indeed, Aberdeen states that: “The pen-and-paper world of traditional field service is gradually dying.”
“The bottom line is simple: if organizations want to continue to grow, they’ll need to take their technicians’ mobile devices and tie them into a more robust family of applications.”
Key challenges for progression
The survey highlights that whether you’re a mature or immature organization, you’re facing challenges.
By far the biggest issue for the least mature field service organizations is cost. 79% of immature respondents cited this challenge. Not surprising.
To move your connectivity from one of location to performance takes investment. Investment that will drive your business forward.
And it’s all down to prioritization, says Aberdeen: “Investment in mobility is an acknowledgment that growth is a priority for an organization. By getting hung up on costs, less mature organizations are exposing an unwillingness to make tactical investments to drive the business forward.”
This begs a pertinent question: Does your business view technology investment as a necessary evil, or a tool for growth?
Resistance to change
Another key challenge for immature firms is the lack of enthusiasm for technology development, often from management. 36% of immature organizations mentioned this challenge.
Unsurprisingly, this was not a notable concern for mature businesses, though they can be hampered by resistance from the front-line (24% of mature firms mentioned this).
Mature businesses will continue to develop
The picture is far from static. Having connected their field service technicians in ways to help with real-time knowledge management and performance, these leading operators have fresh goals in their sites:
1. Speed of service
88% of mature firms mentioned their desire to streamline their service speed further. Not only does this offer cost-savings, it also allows them to grow their business from the same resource base.
2. Service consistency / standardization
Also leading the priorities at 88%, more developed field service operators can see the benefits of striving for a tightly managed system.
3. Billing accuracy
Highlighting how mobile systems can now connect to other parts of the business such as billing systems and CRM. This move will leverage further benefits in terms of efficiencies and service.
Where will the money be spent?
It’s quite clear from the Aberdeen survey, that all sizes of organizations have three areas targeted for future expenditure:
- Upgrade mobile infrastructure
The biggest priority for mature companies, who are mindful of investing in legacy systems.
- Provide service technicians with work-related information in real-time
A constant investment priority for all sizes of field service operation.
- Establish systems and metrics to track service performance in real-time
Not surprisingly, this was the top focus for immature firms, looking to make their first investment into mobile performance management.
What should you do now?
Mobile field service and the technology required to operate it, has been a key focus for some time. This is set to continue – reaching new heights. The goal posts will keep moving and even mature organizations will continue to invest and further connect their operations.
Aberdeen group summarizes three critical areas to address, should you wish to move your field service business into a state of maturity. At Infomill, we wholeheartedly endorse this advice:
- Rethink how your organization prioritizes cost. Upfront cost shouldn’t be an expense when it’s an investment in the first brick on a road to growth.
- Your online environment is only as useful as the system it connects to.
- Enrich your technicians by building beyond location. By doing so, you’re empowering them, whilst keeping them accountable.