As the market for field service software has matured, the landscape of technology has greatly expanded. On the surface, your options seemingly include a handful of large companies claiming to “do it all” and a constellation of smaller, feature specific platforms all promising to help service contractors operate more efficiently and profitably.
Unfortunately, this seemingly endless (and growing) supply of “solutions” doesn’t solve the industry’s needs. Contractors often face the choice between clumsy all‑in‑one software or narrowly specialized platforms that don’t address real situations that service professionals see on the job.
Bulky all‑in‑one options might do everything, but they rarely excel at anything. Specialized software, on the other hand, sounds great, but too many contractors end up with an expensive, expansive selection of best‑in‑class platforms that don’t work together. Many field technicians use as many as nine different apps in a single day just to complete straightforward jobs.
In an increasingly competitive industry facing a chronic labor shortage and the radical disruption of supply chains, it’s important to search for solutions that truly empower technicians, the people who are the heartbeat of field service. Let’s walk through 3 considerations to streamline your software stack.
1. Watch the minutes and the hours will take care of themselves
Field service technicians spend up to two and a half hours every day searching their tablets or smartphones for solutions to situations they encounter in the field. Whether it’s manufacturer’s specs, a product manual, a video tutorial, or regulatory data, the information they’re looking for is out there. Unfortunately, it’s widely dispersed and comes in a bewildering variety of formats, many of which aren’t compatible with each other or with technicians’ primary FSMs. Accessing and engaging with this critical information requires time, patience, and multiple applications.
Software touting a comprehensive knowledge base creates lasting value. If there is a process and procedure to finding useful data, the solution becomes a part of the company’s shared store of knowledge. This creates consistency and predictability in the input and output of information being shared, learned, and applied on a jobsite.
A knowledge base repository can take a technician’s search for answers from hours to seconds. Saved time=saved money.
2. Step into your technician’s workboots
Despite the flood of technology solutions available for them, technicians in field service industries are too often left out of the technology equation. Most technology products are targeted at owners and their leadership teams, not the techs in the field who use those products every day.
A tech’s job is hard. They need simple, intuitive technology to solve the real‑world problems they encounter on the job, regardless of their skill set or level of experience. Tech‑focused solutions mean a better job experience and translate into higher productivity. They also support making techs job‑ready faster, so contractors can gain competitive advantage in the cycle of recruiting, training and retaining talent.
Tech‑first solutions allow professionals in the field to:
- Capture photos and videos before, during and after every job. This provides transparency for customers and managers and helps build a shareable, permanent institutional knowledge base.
- Apply customized automated workflows to every jobsite.
- Access contextual microlearning such as easily digestible tips, videos and documents.
- Avoid tedious manual data entry and typos by utilizing Optical Character Recognition (OCR) and AI to pull equipment information, including make, manufacturer, model number and serial number, directly from a dataplate photo and transform into comprehensive work summaries.
- Automatically save all completed work, allowing techs and managers to search for a specific job by work order number, customer name, address, and any additional custom tags.
With tech‑first solutions, contractors can connect and integrate best‑in‑class technology and build a rich ecosystem of premier functionality that goes beyond all‑in‑one solutions. When technology focuses on the technician first, it acts as a hub in which every part of the jobsite—from the field to the office—connects.
3. Don’t dam your data
Contractors need solutions that connect technicians with the equipment they service and allow teams to collaborate across the field service ecosystem. They seek innovative technology that sparks an entire system of intelligence.
Advanced artificial intelligence, machine learning and data collection transform the possibilities of the industry. Unprecedented data and analytics improve workflows and productivity and deliver actionable insights that contractors can apply for future growth and success.
If that data can’t flow from app to app, it’s worthless. Simply using a tool to collect key information won’t do your business any good if there is no way to analyze and actionize that information. Look for a solution that centralizes key data points into simple insights and reports. Your goal is to connect data points from your customer’s entire job history into a singular platform.
The true modern technology solution does more than just connect techs with an order form for parts and equipment – much more. It’s an ecosystem of industry intelligence.
Q: What challenges are contractors facing when it comes to choosing field service software? A: Contractors often struggle with choosing between all-in-one software that lacks specialization or specialized platforms that don’t work well together. This dilemma leads to inefficiencies and doesn’t address real-world situations faced by service professionals.
Q: Why are bulky all-in-one software options not ideal for contractors? A: All-in-one options may offer a wide range of features, but they often lack excellence in specific areas. This compromises their effectiveness. They can be clumsy and not tailored to the specific needs of service professionals.
Q: Why is using too many specialized platforms a problem for contractors? A: Using multiple specialized platforms can lead to fragmentation and lack of integration. This results in contractors having a disjointed collection of tools that don’t work seamlessly together.
Q: How many apps do field technicians commonly use in a day? A: Many field technicians use as many as nine different apps in a single day just to complete straightforward jobs.
Q: How can contractors empower their technicians in the competitive field service industry? A: Contractors should focus on solutions that empower technicians by streamlining their software stack. This is crucial in an industry facing labor shortages and supply chain disruptions.
Q: What is the significance of having a comprehensive knowledge base in field service software? A: A comprehensive knowledge base is valuable as it reduces the time technicians spend searching for information. It fosters consistency and predictability in information sharing, learning, and application on the job.
Q: How can a knowledge base repository save time and money? A: By centralizing critical information, a knowledge base can reduce technicians’ search time from hours to seconds. This saved time translates to saved money for the business.
Q: Why is it important to consider technicians when implementing technology solutions? A: Technicians are the end-users of technology in the field. Providing them with simple and intuitive solutions improves their job experience, increases productivity, and aids in faster onboarding and skill development.
Q: What benefits do tech-first solutions bring to the field service industry? A: Tech-first solutions allow field professionals to capture visual data, apply customized workflows, access microlearning resources, automate data entry, and build a searchable repository of completed work. This leads to improved transparency, productivity, and knowledge sharing.
Q: How can technology integration be achieved without relying on all-in-one solutions? A: Tech-first solutions focus on the technician’s needs and connect best-in-class technology. This creates an ecosystem where different tools seamlessly integrate and improve communication between the field and the office.
Q: How do advanced AI, machine learning, and data collection impact the field service industry? A: These advanced technologies enhance workflows, productivity, and actionable insights in the field service industry. They contribute to data-driven decision-making for future growth and success.
Q: What is the key challenge related to data flow in field service software solutions? A: The challenge is ensuring that data collected from different sources can flow smoothly between applications. If data can’t be easily analyzed and acted upon, it loses its value.
Q: What is the ultimate goal when centralizing data points in a field service platform? A: The goal is to create a singular platform that centralizes data points from a customer’s entire job history. This enables comprehensive insights and reports for informed decision-making.
Q: How does a modern technology solution differ from just an order form for parts and equipment? A: A modern technology solution goes beyond simple transactions. It functions as an ecosystem of industry intelligence, connecting technicians, data, and insights for a holistic approach to field service operations.