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November 15, 2018

 

The Growing World of the Mobile Field Service App

An app is worth a thousand words, especially a field service app. Here’s why the mobile field service software industry is growing.

When you think of your business’ future, you likely imagine a paperless environment, constant contact with technicians, digital inventory tracking, and business getting done right out in the field on tablets and phones. Well, guess what? All of this is already in reach.

In recent years the field service industry has seen a big bump in the availability of innovative mobile field service software and field service apps. A study in the Digital Journal on the market for mobile field service software has North America as the dominant regional market, with other regions catching up and jumping on the bandwagon. Business owners everywhere want in on the action, and for good reason.

Mobile field service apps feel like a no-brainer. These systems have the ability to ease communication and reporting across various industries and business sizes, changing the way we think about daily operations and job functions. But can they really do everything they promise? Let’s break down where this new technology currently stands, where it excels, where it comes up short, and what the future holds for all the related technology.

Phase Two

Field service management software arose because creators saw there was a need to cut down on filing and organize billing. It was meant for individual computers and users in an office setting and sought to optimize the way an office ran to increase profits and efficiency.

But the same way Apple hands down updates like they’re going out of style, mobile field service software creators are tweaking and improving their existing software to better suit the needs of their customers.

Part of the reason that mobile field service apps have seen a recent surge is software companies’ departure from the basics. Some people and organizations, like TechTarget, argue that mobile service apps have launched into “phase two of their evolution,” shifting to focus on improving the features important to field workers. Companies that formerly created computer software to streamline office operations are now working towards bringing similar efficiency gains to technicians and field workers.

This “phase two” allows for specialized add-ons for industry specific work, or innovations that are specifically for workers in the field. These include features like billing integration for a paperless office or GPS routing and tracking to keep track of mileage.

Because field service apps help workers that work on the go, they open up a whole new way forward for businesses, from filing daily reports to route optimization to mobile updates. Even for basic capabilities, such as internal communication, mobile apps have made field service work more efficient.

The global research and advisory firm Gartner thinks that just about every industry will ultimately adopt these apps for several reasons, the biggest ones involving real-time communication and digitizing other elements that had traditionally been done on paper.

A good mobile field service app will focus on communication, customer management, and giving technicians the ability to do more. Sharing customer files with things like job history and contact information helps technicians to operate smoothly. An app that lets them create new estimates on the spot, or collect signatures in the field, or even update the customer file with new information and pictures has the potential to turn your business into a well-oiled machine.

What are the concerns?

As technology grows and changes, some new concerns will arise. While a Terminator-style robot uprising might be a ways away, information security is still a serious issue for many companies thinking about using a mobile field service app. A really relevant, really real concern.

Nowadays Google tracks your location, Facebook tracks everything else, and the current climate is just saturated with information security scandals. So, you might understandably have trust issues tied up in putting your business on a mobile device. These days, we tend to think twice when an app we download asks for more information.

The app you choose matters here, as does your comfort level with technology. A lot of field service management solutions utilize a SaaS (Software As A Service) model, which by definition means the software provider houses your precious company data. Other options, like Smart Service, allow you to store your customer data on your machines. With software like Smart Service, all the information is yours to use, save, back up, and share as you see fit. The software provider can’t access it even if they want to.

What does the future hold?

In the future, the apps that solve specific problems will triumph over the apps that simply shift office work onto a mobile device. By 2020, 75% of field service organizations will deploy mobile apps with capabilities beyond simple data collection, according to a Gartner field service study. This also means that apps that already offer services like GPS routing, inventory management, and individualized scheduling functions will just keep getting better.

A mobile field service app isn’t like a computer program. There are a hundred little things that you might need to do on a computer that are useless to apply to your mobile device. The evolution of apps for the field service industry is a balancing act of efficiency and progression. What works best? How can that be better? What do customers need most? These are questions that developers ask all the time.

Still aren’t totally sold that a mobile field service software can do all it promises? Try a free demo from Smart Service and find out for yourself how powerful tool software can be.

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