How Field Service Technology Investment Today Shapes Tomorrow’s Service

7/25/2019 / Digital Transformation / Katia Loboda

Male engineer wearing safety helmet in narrow electrical room uses stylus with a data management platform on his tablet computer.

In the past, many service-centric organizations followed the path of least resistance when adopting field service technology. They settled for a series of unconnected quick fixes—one solution for a specific business function, another for the next, and so on.

But today, service models are growing more complex and emerging technologies are transforming the industry. Organizations that continue to use IT infrastructures that consist of disparate applications that don’t integrate with each other will find themselves at a major disadvantage.

At Astea, we want to see your field service organization (FSO) keep and set the pace, not fall behind. For the last 40 years, we’ve been helping more than 600 companies worldwide achieve higher levels of success through stronger, smarter use of technology.

So please read on for our insights about how field service tech is evolving, and how your business can use the trends to establish and expand your competitive advantage.

Know Why Better Data Management through Unified Technology Matters

Best-in-class FSOs know they need a unified IT platform. In fact, 85% of top performers are maintaining or increasing their investment in field service technologies so they can facilitate better data management.

What makes that goal so important?

As a case in point, consider CRM (Customer Relationship Management) solutions. These systems were built to collect and organize mostly transactional, quantitative data. But as value-added customer experience grows increasingly important, organizations need qualitative data about customer engagement, too.

Independently, these two kinds of data have limited value. But when combined, they can help companies:

  • Recognize patterns in consumer behavior and purchasing cycles to optimize product offerings and pricing strategy.
  • Determine the success of promotions to design marketing campaigns that move business metrics.
  • To inform customer service procedures and training so your team is equipped to exceed customer expectations.
  • And more!

Realize the Time-Saving Potential of IoT in Field Service

The internet of things (IoT) is set to transform field service delivery. By next year, some 50 billion smart devices will be connected, McKinsey Quarterly estimates.

All that connected equipment makes real-time monitoring and remote diagnostics possible. Instead of dispatching a technician for on-site diagnostics, then scheduling a return trip for repairs, field staff can make repairs on the first visit based on what they’ve learned through remote troubleshooting. This capability not only boosts first-time fix rates but also reduces expenditures on additional truck rolls and man hours.

IoT also promises predictive service and increased equipment uptime. By monitoring equipment temperatures, fan speeds, humidity, and other factors, IoT-connected software can flag problem areas and automatically create service tickets so staff can perform maintenance before any downtime occurs.

Get Game-Changing Insights with Big Data and Analytics

To make better use of data collected from IoT devices and business apps, FSOs will likely need to adopt new data management practices. GE did, and is now using big data in a big way.

Over a one-year period, the firm invested $1 billion to analyze data from its connected field equipment. Using customer data, field data, and its own information flows, GE’s analytics software can increase system uptime and lower the cost of operation.

The right field service technology can help your company, too, effectively catalog and organize data. Then you can use analytics to mine valuable insights from it into almost any area of your business.

Thanks to its data sharing capabilities, FieldCentrix, Astea’s field service management software, can auto-generate highly detailed reports on logistics management, contracts, workforce planning, equipment and parts, work orders, and more. Managers can use these insights to correct inefficiencies and streamline best practices across your company.

An Integrated Platform to Deliver the Value of Data

To make data work for you, your FSO needs a unified IT environment with a field service solution that can integrate with your other enterprise applications—finance, CRM logistics, ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning), and so on.

Female engineer wearing safety helmet and goggles uses unified field service app via tablet computer to service robotic arm.Astea Alliance™ Enterprise enables you to pull all your proprietary data together onto one platform through its out-of-the-box connectors for such popular business systems as:

  • Salesforce
  • SAP
  • Oracle
  • Microsoft Dynamics
  • FedEx/UPS
  • Cisco
  • And many more!

With your field service solution and other business applications connected, your staff will no longer need to log into separate platforms and toggle between different windows. From one unified interface, they can access all the information and insights they need to perform at a higher level.

In addition to giving you more efficient workflows now, this type of integrated platform will evolve with your business going forward.

For example, if you begin working with a new shipping partner, you can connect the new shipping app to the same platform and database using standard or custom connects, instead of building a separate tracking solution. You can then reference, compare, and analyze this new data stream side-by-side with information from other vendors.

It’s About More than Savings

By using internet of things technologies and big data solutions, FSOs can reduce operating costs, improve access to information, and eliminate operational inefficiencies. For all these reasons, 26% of best-in-class companies are increasing investment in these areas.

But investing in field service technology also generates staying power in an increasingly competitive industry. When you leverage technology and adopt best practices, you bring more value to your most important asset—your customers. You provide more personal service, prevent system failures, and decrease time-to-resolution.

By maximizing asset lifetime value for your clients, you increase your odds of earning their long-term business and establishing yourself as an industry leader.

Want to learn more about making field service technology work for your organization? Download our report on how today’s IT investments impact tomorrow’s service.

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