Mobility, mobile workforce, and mobile workforce management software are all top of mind for today’s field service executives. After all, in a smartphone-saturated world, most companies rely on workforce mobility to some degree. But like many, you may wonder what exactly this all means. Are the terms interchangeable? Do they describe different aspects of the same framework? How do new technologies change mobile apps and services?
At ClickSoftware, mobility is at the heart of everything we do. We believe in mobility as the great differentiator in field service. Crack the mobility nut, and everything else falls into place.
In the following paragraphs, we share real-world insights on modern mobile workforce management in the hopes that it helps you harness the power of mobility.
The Basics of Mobile Workforce Management
In an increasingly connected, mobile, and customer-centric world, modern mobile workforce management requires every field service organization to compete on the basis of satisfying customer expectations with frictionless, remarkable experiences. And organizations are now held to the highest standards set by the likes of consumer companies like Amazon and Uber. Simply put, answer the call for seamless, transparent, responsive service and real-time assistance—or go by the wayside.
Delivering on this mandate means every field service manager, dispatcher, and technician needs real-time access to the right information in the right context, at the right time. And they get that through mobility.
Mobility puts valuable information about parts availability, expert assistance, documentation about the problem or asset, and more in the hands of field technicians. But it also enables dispatchers and managers to receive real-time status updates from the field. With access to information everywhere and anywhere, mobility empowers field supervisors in many ways. They can confidently make real-time updates to schedules, locate a replacement tech to handle an appointment for a delayed technician, assign an emergency service call to a nearby tech, and even manage and train technicians in the field. And they can do this from a mobile device while in the field.
So what software and technology is needed to enable mobility in the field? First is easy-to-learn software—built on industry best practices—that delivers accurate, up-to-the-second data to a well designed, user-friendly, continually updated mobile app.
However, savvy field service executives are connecting mobile device management, the Internet of Things (IoT), automated scheduling, and big data to further advantage. Smartphones connected to IoT sensors in homes, factories, and more provide technicians and scheduling software with real-time data and diagnostics. These sensors can even inform technicians about faulty equipment before a customer complains. With IoT and big-data-crunching capabilities, organizations now accurately predict service volumes and automatically schedule accordingly.
Barriers to Adoption
With a clear imperative to deliver higher levels of customer service faster and better than ever, you would think mobile workforce management would be seeing rapid uptake. While field service organizations grasp the benefits of adopting this software, they must address a few issues on their path to modernization.
First are the typical difficulties that come with deploying new technology:
- Getting buy-in to make a change
- Ensuring proper deployment and integrations
- Training employees to make mobility part of their daily routine
This brings us to the second biggest barrier: aging technicians who push back on new ways of working. Change isn’t usually welcomed by anyone, but older generations in particular can be obstinate about embracing new technologies. Getting these experienced, skilled workers on board is essential to success.
Finally, organizations cannot overlook the costs associated with a mobile workforce management initiative. The expense to introduce any new technology can spiral out of control if the project isn’t managed well and adoption issues aren’t overcome.
Make Mobility a Priority
Despite the challenges, mobility is a worthwhile and strategic initiative. Organizations that take a strategic approach to mobile workforce management can reap tremendous benefits. By adopting a workforce mobility solution that meets the most challenging needs of today and supports the field service organization’s future direction, companies can position themselves for ongoing success. Such a solution empowers technicians and managers to satisfy customer expectations for personalized experiences and rapid resolutions that set the company apart.