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Virtuous Cycle for Field Service Firms: Mobile + Data

Mobile & Apps

Create a virtuous cycle for your field service organization using the powerful teamwork of mobile, cloud, and big data.

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When I exercise I feel better, and when I feel better, I’m more motivated to exercise. This simple virtuous cycle, which loops around and reinforces itself, demonstrates the momentum-building forces that can catapult a person or organization to success. Similarly, when businesses implement strategies that build upon the success and support of other strategies and establish positive returns, they create virtuous cycles, driving the organization in a positive direction until that positive momentum becomes automatic.

Factors that contribute to virtuous cycles for field service

Field service businesses are perfect candidates to set up virtuous cycles since there are so many factors that need to work together to make the operation tick. Communication, quoting, inventory, scheduling, and inspections are just some of the processes that need to be managed and work together to establish a functional field service organization.

With so many elements to manage and connect, it’s easy for service organizations to fall victim to vicious cycles, which are combinatorial forces working against a company’s success. As a business owner or manager of a field service organization, it’s your job to analyze the trends and strategies in the industry that could contribute to the creation of a virtuous cycle and avoid falling into a vicious cycle of harmful habits.

But when you’re trying to stay afloat and caught up in the day-to-day functionality of your company, it can be difficult to look far enough ahead to see the big picture and pick out the features that could create a virtuous cycle. So, we’ve done some of the work for you by outlining three major factors that, when implemented together, loop around to create a virtuous cycle of success:

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Each of these factors is useful when adopted individually, but organizations that are able to consciously integrate all three into a service operation come out with a well-oiled service machine and more than enough positive reinforcement to loop around and create a long-term virtuous cycle. Here’s how…

Mobile turns field technicians into knowledge/information hubs

You can’t go anywhere anymore without hearing about how fast mobile technology is growing. From personal consumers to giant tech companies, everyone seems to be jumping on the mobile band-wagon. And what industry could be better suited for mobile technology than one that’s inherently mobile? Field service is in the perfect position to adopt mobile into their everyday solutions since its workers are continually on the move. Equipped with an app like MSI’s Service Pro Mobile, technicians can:

  • Automatically receive work orders and set statuses throughout course of work
  • Receive call notes, contacts and alerts on mobile device
  • Access customer equipment asset service history
  • View customer equipment asset contract and warranty coverage
  • Record work order labor time, parts/inventory, and tasks
  • Perform electronic inspections
  • Capture photos and signatures
  • Record work with or without wireless connectivity

Not only can techs perform these tasks in the field, but the information they collect is instantly accessible to other departments and roles within the organization. So while they’re collecting necessary information and performing tasks faster and more efficiently than ever, data is also immediately accessible and actionable so every role and process within the company works with more ease and accuracy.

Cloud makes information accessible anywhere

Let’s say you’re a service manager for a medium HVAC service organization. You wake up sick one morning and aren’t able to go into work, but you still want to be able to see what’s going on in the company, maybe interact with a few customers and evaluate some of the data you’ve been collecting over the past few months. Unfortunately, you left your mobile device at the office and since your mobile app isn’t cloud-based there’s really nothing you can do unless you want to suck it up, go into work, and risk infecting everyone in your office.

With a cloud-based mobile app, you’d be able to access your entire field service application from your home computer, or any device with internet for that matter. Since you don’t need to download the application onto a specific device, information from the app is accessible from anywhere, regardless of device or operating platform. Cloud-based applications can still be run offline so technicians working in disconnected zones can still use the app’s full functionality to perform the task at hand. Techs just need a connection when they’re ready to sync information gathered during the disconnected time.

Mobile’s the first step to success and is useful even when it’s not run through the cloud, but the two together create an unstoppable team of nearly limitless possibilities for information collection and accessibility.

Big Data helps decision makers determine what’s working

Companies can now collect more data than ever before and with tools to analyze and interpret that data through new and evolving technology, “big data” has become quite the buzz word. Our definition of big data for field service is: large amounts of data collected in the field, which can be organized and displayed in easy to interpret charts and graphs with the help of field service software. For example, Service Pro web portals provide a sort of customizable home page for every role in the organization. In the portals, employees can log on and see relevant data to help them do their jobs and guide important business decisions.

With access to relevant data, you can analyze your operations with greater depth and a new level of business intelligence so managers can analyze and understand what’s working and what’s not. Due to new information, ranging from individual technician’s performance statistics to work order type success rates, managers utilizing big data are able to maneuver their organization to success by following the positive trends the data reveals.

Mobile + Cloud + Big Data: The Three Musketeers of Field Service

We’ve seen how powerful mobile, cloud, and big data can be on their own. Their high-level functionalities help field service organizations reach peak performance levels. But what happens when the three solutions are able to feed off each other and work together? We like to refer to the trio and the virtuous cycle they create as: “Three Musketeers of Field Service.”

Revealing and collecting data from anywhere, syncing and displaying it to any device, then gathering it into easily readable, interpretable, and sharable formats, this unstoppable trio can keep your entire organization informed with up-to-the minute, actionable information so you can take on any foe. Each feature works together to support the others and creates the perfect virtuous cycle for organizations looking to increase business intelligence, improve productivity, and make more informed business decisions for the future success of the organization.

In fact, according to Xconomy’s predictive report, “Here’s what Mobile Industry Insiders See Ahead for 2014,” Big Data Analytics and Mobile Cloud Services rank 3 and 4 respectively on their list of breakthrough mobile categories of 2014. These technologies are only going to become more prominent in the industry as more companies realize the value of the information they produce and the virtuous cycle they create.

All for one and one for all!

Just like the original Three Musketeers, mobile, cloud, and big data support each other and reinforce each others’ strengths. Each is strong individually, but together they are unstoppable. Help your organization establish the virtuous cycle of continuous, clear, and actionable data and business intelligence to finally grasp the happy ending you’ve been reaching for.

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