Field Services - Four Key Drivers of Digital Transformation

Bob Feiner, Senior Vice President of Global Services, Dell EMC

Bob Feiner, Senior Vice President of Global Services, Dell EMC

Digital transformation is changing how field service organizations service their customers. The four transformations include: 

1. Digital Transformation – Businesses are evolving to an app-based world. 
2. IT Transformation – IT infrastructure is changing with the advent of public, private, and hybrid clouds. 
3. Security Transformation –Customer and field service data need comprehensive security management. 
4. Workforce Transformation – Team members are accessing their work everywhere. 
Digital transformation has major implications to field services teams. 

Digital Transformation 

Increasingly, field services organizations must follow emerging trends in how consumers select, order, track products and services, and resolve issues. 

• Think about the experience of ordering goods on Amazon or hailing a car through Uber. These transactions are fast and easy with underlying automation that manages customer expectations in real time. In the new paradigm, service event engagement occurs rapidly with extreme customer ease. 

Today’s customers expect the ability to schedule a service event at their own convenience - not at the convenience of the service company’s resources. They want to know information about the field technician before they arrive, such as their skill level, training, and customer satisfaction rating. Customers want to be able to track their service technician while they are in route and once the technician arrives, they want the repair service performed quickly, with minimal disruption to their work and environment. Once the service is completed, both customers and technicians desire instant feedback rather than waiting for the completion of an email or phone survey weeks after the service event has passed. Rapid, real-time feedback is critical so that the field service organization can identify potential issues and take corrective action quickly.

IT Transformation

Companies and consumers are moving towards a public, private, or hybrid cloud infrastructure to run their businesses. This includes managing their personal transactions through the use of apps and/or simple, easy to use interfaces. They expect field service organizations to follow suit. 

Smart field service organizations are building self-service applications so that any customer can self-enable the digital transactions mentioned above.

The power of the data that a field service workforce manages cannot be overstated. 

• Field service organizations must be able to accurately capture this data, integrate it into the rest of the company’s enterprises such as tech support, product development and sales, as well as cull it for potential field service improvements, including leverage for new products or services opportunities. 

When thinking about data management, don’t forget to consider that each field service technician needs simple, easy access to training data, schedule management, part ordering and tracking, and administrative tasks as well as support for upsell opportunities to the end user customer. These are all data functions that must be supported while the technician is onsite or in route to the customer site. 

Security Transformation 

In an environment where threats occur to the customer and personal data at a rapidly increasing rate, both at the endpoint and at the enterprise, retaining customer trust is crucial. Now and in the future, services organizations must provide assurances that their customers’ information is secured and must indicate if and how that information is being used. 

Field transaction data may need to be securely parsed from customer specific data. In fact, even the physical security requirements for an agent appearing on site are evolving. This includes the tools and/or tool access that the field service technician has while at the customer’s location. As a result, mobile apps that field service agents use to perform their work may need secure offline capability. 

Workforce Transformation

The expectation from consumers and increasingly, corporations, is to be able to do work anywhere from any place at any time. Field service organizations need to recognize and meet these expectations. 

• The future of field service is moving further towards enabling customers with a self-service option using their mobile devices - reducing the need to actually send a technician onsite. 

In a digital world where consumers and businesses are inundated with hundreds of transactions every day, eliminating the need for an onsite service event, particularly a repeat event for the same repair incident, is even more important. 

However, workforce transformation also means providing new options for customers to obtain service. For dense markets or countries dealing with complex traffic infrastructure, a more appealing customer option may be to provide mobile service centers where customers can bring their products to a designated location at a designated time that fits their schedule. This reduces the need for a customer to have to spend an inordinate amount of time traveling to a fixed location far away from their home or place of business. 

In short, digital, IT, security, and workforce transformations are changing the expectations of field service customers. The future success for field services is predicated on proactive processes that are easy to use, mobile, quick, secure and integrated across the business.

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