Field Service Automation: What Is It & Why You Need It?
What is Field Service Automation
Simply put, field service automation is how organizations schedule the right technician for the right job, period. Through field service automation software, organizations now have the ability to coordinate as many technicians as possible in multiple regions performing multiple jobs all without the fear of overlap or having the wrong person show up, or even miss an appointment. Automation removes cumbersome paperwork and allows companies to seamlessly assign and track workers to appointments as well as keep track of invoicing and payments.
From minor repairs to major jobs, you can now offer a seamless and modern customer experience which is guaranteed to increase customer satisfaction and grow your business.
Evaluating Field Service Automation Software
Cloud-based Field Service Automation Solutions provide a number of cost benefits and can also be implemented more quickly and easily. Ensure that the solution is not just cloud-based however, check to see that it was designed for a cloud-based environment.
Some solutions, although marketed as cloud-based, are really systems that were designed for on-site implementations. This limits their scalability and also may result in performance issues. We recommend solutions that include:
- More rapid implementation of new technologies and capabilities.
- Elimination of hardware and software maintenance costs.
- Predictable costs for technology and services.
- Ability to choose and use the capabilities and services needed as they are required.
- Automatically backs up data.
Built for Mobile
Smartphones and tablets are everywhere and owned by nearly everyone – and there are a number of apps on the market targeted at field service organizations. Many of them, however, have limitations that can affect application performance or send large amounts of data over the wireless network, resulting in inordinate data usage charges. We recommend solutions that:
- Are designed for the mobile environment, not a PC- or Apple solution ported to mobile devices.
- Include native iOS and Android apps for smartphones and tablets.
- Have the ability for mobile workers to use the app offline.
Because field service is ever-changing and evolving, it’s important that the Field Service Automation Solution that you choose has the flexibility to meet the demands of your business now – and later. That’s why we recommend solutions that are designed to be flexible and can be used in multiple ways in a variety of environments.
Many solutions, however, are built on top of existing CRM or ERP platforms. And although this allows them to take advantage of the capabilities inherent in those systems, it also can limit their ability to meet operational demands or incorporate processes for which they were not designed. We recommend solutions that include:
- The ability to be used in a variety of ways or within a number of processes.
- Methods to enable or disable functionality on remote devices.
A number of Field Service Automation Solutions tout their ability to integrate with existing Accounting and other back-office systems.
The reality, however, is that many of them only offer “simple connectors” or “mappers” – not a true Application Programming Interface (API). As a result, importing and exporting data from the Field Service Automation System often entails hours of manual labor and in some cases, missing or error-laden data.
We recommend solutions that include:
- A true API built on accepted standards for web APIs, such as the so-called ReST-full architecture.
- APIs that expose application entities through URL endpoints and enable generic operations across all exposed entities.
- APIs that enable companies to use “best of breed” applications that leverage the “API economy.”
Field Service Automation Solutions must be perceived as a tool that makes doing the job easier, faster, and better. Poorly designed or overly complex solutions can make the adoption process long, arduous, and expensive.
And instead of making the job easier, complex systems can serve as a point of frustration and discontent. We recommend solutions that:
- Are intuitive. It shouldn’t take hours to learn how to operate the system.
- Enable users to get the information they need with just one or two “clicks” from anywhere.
Every field service operation is unique. That’s why it’s so important that you choose a Field Service Automation Solution that can be customized to meet the unique needs of your service business. We recommend solutions that include:
- Custom fields. The ability to add custom fields to customer data, work orders, inventory, etc. enables companies to seamlessly shift their business identity from paper to a mobile platform more quickly and easily.
- Information searches, sorts, and views that can be saved and retained for later use. Users want the information they need, fast. Saved searches, sorts, and views enable them to get the information they need on an hourly, daily, weekly, or monthly basis quickly and easily.
- Customized information displays on mobile devices and company dashboards that enable companies to give users only the information they need to successfully perform their tasks.
- Schedule filters. Filters built into the scheduler allow schedulers and dispatchers to focus on the information they need, rather than manually sorting through the entire company's field resources.
Managers and executives need to know what is happening in their business. It’s important that the Field Service Automation Solution you choose provides the information managers and executives need, simply, accurately, and instantly. We recommend solutions that include:
- Company Dashboard. Customizable company dashboard that displays the latest activities, scheduled work orders, job status with associated revenue, and projected job revenue for the month.
- Scheduler. Gantt Chart and map based-display that includes drag-and-drop job scheduling and real-time visibility into the location, status, and history of every job. It should also allow companies to assign jobs to employees and contractors and filter views by location, technician, customer, or job status.
Identifying business trends is critical to growing revenue, retaining customers, and increasing the productivity of field personnel. It’s also important as a means of discovering problems before they can significantly affect profitability.
Reports are an essential component of any Field Service Automation Solution. We recommend solutions that include:
- A wide variety of built-in reports that cover every facet of your field service operation.
- A large range of filters that can be applied to built-in reports.
- Data export to Excel and other standard file formats.
Implementation and Training
Migrating existing data and processes to the new Field Service Automation Solution is a critical implementation process. It’s essential that no customer data is lost and that processes that are fundamental to the business are retained. Additionally, to ensure the adoption of the system by end-users, access to training, in a variety of forms, is required. We recommend solutions that include:
- A three-stage on-boarding process: account setup, data import, and training.
- Technical staff that is experienced in helping companies migrate not only their data but essential business processes as well.
- A variety of training resources that enable companies to allow individuals to access online resources, webinars, or organize on-site training using “train the trainer” techniques.
If a problem should arise, customer support must respond quickly. Additionally, an online knowledgebase should be available for answers to non-critical issues or to determine if a mobile device is compatible with the chosen solution. We recommend solutions that include:
- Highly trained, experienced technical support resources.
- Extensive, online knowledge base.
- A comprehensive catalog of technical and user information including information on new releases, helpful videos, and product documentation.
The FieldAware Difference
Innovative Modern Platform
Our made-for-mobile solutions are built on the newest technologies. We built our innovative field service management solution from the ground up to solve the most challenging issues in managing field service operations.
Built in the cloud and customizable to your workflows, we put reliability and flexibility at the heart of our field service solutions. Our vision is to create a modern field service hub that makes life easier for your dispatchers and field teams, so they get more done every day.
Our mobile app has a refined user interface that provides mobile workers with consistent access to targeted service workflows regardless of internet connectivity. Our flexible and configurable work order process accommodates a variety of use cases and comes complete with scheduling, crew assignments, checklists, and work order debrief so you can focus on running your business, not running your systems.
Configurable and Flexible
It’s important that your Field Service solution has the flexibility to meet the demands of your business now and later. Many solutions, however, are built on top of existing CRM or ERP platforms and this can limit their ability to meet operational demands or incorporate processes for which they were not designed.
That’s why we built FieldAware to be a flexible, purpose-built field service automation hub. We designed FieldAware to be highly configurable and extensible to accommodate unique business and workflow requirements in a variety of industries and types of fieldwork.
Easy to Use and Adopt
The face of field service has changed, and technology has changed. Technicians are the priority and they need easy-to-use, easy-to-adopt tools, and automation. That’s why we built our apps to be simple to use yet feature-packed.
To deliver this user experience, we developed discrete mobile and tablet applications that were designed alongside our web app. This approach ensures optimal use of screen resolutions, intuitive menus, legible data fields, and seamless workflows that are easy to align to back-office processes, making them easy to navigate and use.
With any new solution, how fast you can go live is key. Cloud-based solutions allow you to be up and running quickly and simply. At FieldAware, we take advantage of a SaaS platform's nimble virtues and combine our vast field service expertise to provide fast implementation and easy adoption.
Our platform is scalable, and we’ve developed unique toolkits for implementation, training, customer success, support, and product enhancements to power our quick path to value process while leveraging:
- A highly configurable solution to quickly adapt to workflows
- Pre-built connects to provide seamless integration
- Deep integration to extend the technology you already use
- Simple, intuitive apps that lead to quicker adoption
Enterprise Strength Features
FieldAware has experience successfully delivering solutions to field service organizations ranging in size from 10 to several 1,000 field technicians. In order to meet the diverse needs of this customer base, FieldAware has developed enterprise-level features and capabilities that efficiently scale.
Whether it is our dynamic digital forms solutions, our world-class reporting, and analytics solution, or our robust schedule optimization engine, all customers get access to the best FieldAware has to offer, all at an affordable price.