Digital Transformation in Field Service Management

Written by ServicePower on November 2022

It’s 2022, and the word “digital transformation” is one many industries have heard over and over again for the past few years. What is digital transformation? Digital transformation is the integration of digital technology into all areas of a business, fundamentally changing how businesses operate and deliver value to customers.

With the coronavirus pandemic affecting the entire globe, it has become obvious that companies, including businesses in the field service industry, need to step up to the plate when it comes to digital transformation. Remote working and social distancing in 2020 have illuminated glaring problems in field service companies that have not yet immersed themselves in the world of IoT.

Digital Transformation in Field Service

Field service is a vital function of many businesses and it has long been a part of our industrial ecosystem. With field service management being around for so long, that can also mean that field service systems and practices have been around for even longer. For instance, manual paperwork, manual reporting, and manual labor are practices that have been used historically in the field service industry for years. Tasks that are done manually are subject to human error, and in 2020, mistakes that come from manual labor can no longer be ignored. However, with automation in place, these errors can become a problem of the past. Automation  is here, and undergoing that digital transformation is necessary to avoid making those same human mistakes.

Gartner revealed in its most recent Magic Quadrant that one third of respondents are using digital twin data, which is up from only 19%.  Moreover, 34% intend to offer that sort of model within the next 12 to 24 months. Digital transformation does take time, but many field service businesses have started the process. Have you?

If you have been hesitant to invest in the world of IoT, it is time to take the leap of faith. There are many benefits of digital transformation, especially for field service workers. And you may find that the new normal of the field service industry is even better than before.

Benefits of Digital Transformation

There are many benefits to digital transformation in field service. There are also plenty of resources out there to help you choose the right workforce management system for your business and how to identify needs in the company with the needs of your customers. 

  • Digital Transformation Saves Time and Money

Implementing a workforce management solution may seem like you are blowing your budget for the year, but it is the opposite. Some companies uncover as much as  $20 million in annual cost savings by adopting new digital approaches. With an FSM solution, you save time by ensuring that the highest quality of service is done by the most qualified technicians. FSM systems allow for technicians to have real time access to information and schedule adjustments. This reduces the chance of an unqualified worker showing up to a difficult project. It also reduces scheduling conflicts, as schedules can be adapted right then and there. This alone can help improve your first time fix rate. Getting the job done right the first time saves you from paying the worker for the same job twice, saves time spent on the road and most importantly, keeps the customer happy. Customers are six times likely to buy with a positive emotional experience , 12 times likely to recommend the company and 5 times likely to forgive a mistake. When you think of the big picture, digital transformation is an excellent way to increase revenue for your business.

  • Digital Transformation Creates a Better Customer Experience

Like we mentioned, customer’s invest in companies when they feel a positive emotional connection. As the field service industry has gotten more innovative, so have our customers. Investing in a workforce management system with a customer portal is imperative in meeting customer expectations in this digital era. In 2020, 88% of customers expect brands to have an online self-service portal. If a customer is deciding between your field service management companies and a competitor, and the competitor has a customer portal, they are most likely going to go with your competitor. Customer portals have a plethora of benefits and can provide your customer base with two-way communication between customers and field personnel to ensure that you provide the highest quality service possible. Customer portals can also expedite cash flow through online payments. Delighting customers and getting money in your business’s pocket quicker is a win-win for both parties.

  • Digital Transformation Helps Retain Workers

Field Service workers are going through this era of digital transformation with the entire industry. As the gig economy  has only continued to grow, third party workers have become a necessity in getting field service work done. Third party contractors have the ability to work for several different field service businesses, and if they are contracted in a place that constantly leaves them with a jumbled schedule, unclear instructions and poor communication, it is going to be impossible to retain them. Before robust workforce management suites were available, having a blended workforce could seem daunting. But now, an intelligent workforce management system can help you achieve control and accountability for both factory service and a 3rd party workforce. Having a blended workforce allows you to have a more diverse workforce with a wider range of skills and localization. You can expand your company’s footprint, while getting more work done and keeping your workforce energized by not overloading them with jobs.

Problems to Look Out For

Digital transformation does not come without its risks. Cyber security was already a risk before the coronavirus pandemic, but there has been a 63% increase in cyber-attacks identified in a new report by the Information Systems Association,  Organizations who make a point to prioritize cyber security during the pandemic will emerge as a leaders in the industry as we move forward. Cybersecurity is not a trend that is going away, and as a field service company working as an essential service, security  is not only a prerequisite for staying open but for building trust with customers. Investing in a field service management suite that protects customers personal information such as address, numbers and credit cards is important to keep your customer safe and your business reputable. 

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About TimeLinx
TimeLinx delivers innovative project & service management software as a complete solution that perfects the sell-track-manage-support-bill cycle that services organizations must have to delight their customers; TimeLinx brings the cycle together in a single application that offers less frustration, better project management, complete reporting, and improved profitability – all specially designed for Infor and Sage.