Trends for 2013: Actionable Analytics in Field Service

Author: Kristin Amico

Gartner recently identified the Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2013, with a focus on issues that impact the enterprise. In order to put the hype into context, our experts explain how hot topics such as mobility, cloud, big data and analytics will have a meaningful impact on your service organization.

This week, Israel Beniaminy, Sr. VP of Product Strategy, Discusses Actionable Analytics

AnalyticsHere’s what Gartner says: “Analytics is increasingly delivered to users at the point of action and in context. With the improvement of performance and costs, IT leaders can afford to perform analytics and simulation for every action taken in the business. The mobile client linked to cloud-based analytic engines and big data repositories potentially enables use of optimization and simulation everywhere and every time. This new step provides simulation, prediction, optimization and other analytics, to empower even more decision flexibility at the time and place of every business process action.”

How can analytics, especially real-time data delivered via mobile devices, help field service businesses make better decisions?

Delivering Field Service is a sequence of decisions, made by schedulers, team leaders and service engineers throughout the day. Schedulers need to decide what jobs should be assigned to which service engineers at which times. Service engineers need to decide, even before the first drive of the day, what spare parts and tools they need to take with them; and team leaders track the delivery throughout the day and resolve the myriads of minor issues that are bound to come up, as well as the occasional larger issues.

One thing that makes Field Service unique is that the costs of wrong decisions can be quite high. Miss the scheduled appointment and you have an angry customer and angry posts on social networks. If, as a result, the customer is not at home when the engineer arrives, you have also wasted an expensive trip which you’ll be forced to repeat. If you arrive on time but discover that you don’t have the parts you need, the results are likely to be the same. On the other hand, if you make good decisions and thus deliver an outstanding service experience, customers will remember it.

How can you increase the rate of good decisions? Think of who among your team is already good at it. Chances are that these are the more experienced team members. They have simply made more decisions and have discovered what works and what doesn’t. This is exactly where Actionable Analytics come in. It’s a tool to gather everybody’s experience and make it available to everyone: Just before you make a decision, such as what appointment slot to offer a customer, or what tools to bring in, you (or the software you use) will check to see which such decisions have worked in the past. Since Field Service is so severely punished by bad decisions, and so rewarded by good ones, even a moderate improvement in decision quality will lead to a major improvement in the service organization’s success.

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