Mobile technology is well-established in the field service market. Many field service organizations have already invested in mobile solutions that are aging or obsolete. These systems lack features available in modern mobile solutions, and in many cases may no longer be supported by their hardware and software vendors (or soon won’t be).
That’s why these service companies are investigating the next generation of mobile solutions and need guidance to understand how to modernize their legacy solutions.
According to VDC, the shifting nature of field service has put more pressure on companies to update their technology. Service is now seen as a valuable source of revenue, customer goodwill, and new sales opportunities. Legacy mobile solutions were not designed to support this new paradigm. Without a modernization effort, service organizations could be putting themselves at a competitive disadvantage.
According to VDC Research, the changes in field service are reflected in the pressures that are driving new mobile investments in field service. Among them: the need for better worker communication and collaboration in the field, the need for real-time views into issue resolution, the need for faster responses to exceptional service events, and a desire to increase customer service and build loyalty.
There are other reasons to modernize your mobile solution. In some cases, satisfaction with the solution may be waning. Solutions built around older hardware may be increasingly “buggy” as the equipment ages. New features and functions may be difficult and expensive to engineer for older software platforms.
In fact, in VDC’s 2015 Enterprise Mobility Decision Maker Survey, more than 55 percent of respondents were either dissatisfied or only somewhat satisfied with their existing mobile solutions.
Cost is another concern. As mobile hardware ages, the cost of support and maintenance increases. For particularly old hardware, just finding replacement units can be a challenge. For companies that deployed custom or proprietary solutions, support from the original vendor or ISV may no longer be available, and younger internal IT staffers may not have as much familiarity with the solution as their predecessors.
Older solutions also don’t take advantage of the advances in modern mobile devices, including more intuitive user interfaces, complementary apps, and more robust wireless connectivity and built-in GPS support. Work order management solutions can now be more tightly integrated with dispatch, scheduling, workforce management, and inventory solutions than was previously possible.
For organizations with solutions in place for five years or more, there is a considerable opportunity to advance their field service operations via a technology upgrade.
Modern mobile solutions can provide better data integration between the field and back office, improved visibility of technicians and vehicles, cross-functional collaboration, improved diagnostics, and more informed technicians.
It will be critical for service organizations to plan for change and design their new mobile solutions to meet future requirements, not just current ones. The mobile solution should not just encompass the field technicians, but also take customers and business partners into account. Mobility should be enabled across the entire service ecosystem.
Savvy service companies recognize that they need to refine and improve their mobile strategies to meet growing demands of increasingly mobile-savvy customers and workers. Modernizing your mobile infrastructure could be the first step to a new level of customer service and profitability.
To access the VDC research whitepaper, click here. You will also gain access to a recent webinar we hosted in partnership with VDC Research and Field Technologies.