When service organizations try to improve day-to-day operations, many turn to “Big Data” for answers.

Mobile field service firms can improve customer experience by using real-time data collection in long-term and short-term planning, according to an article on the Pipeline website. Data can be collected for work orders, customer communication and workflow status — from the initial customer call to documenting a completed work order.

Collecting data in real time is great, but in order to make an impact, a flexible workflow engine in your service management software is a must-have.

If service technicians report every job’s “start” and “end,” this provides the data source needed for most analysis. Many communications service providers gather this data, but do not sufficiently analyze it to plan appointments and preparation work in real time. Instead, they accommodate the work by adding extra days to the time frame for new installations. That’s less efficient and may lower customer satisfaction.

If call tracking and scheduling processes are “hard coded,” then making any changes could be too difficult, costly or time consuming. Collecting all of that data could turn out to be a fruitless effort if your service management software isn’t flexible enough to reflect the changes.

If a company’s goal is to increase resource utilization, gathering data on every field activity can help determine whether its staff is working as much as possible, the Pipeline article explains.

Good resource utilization should be in your service technician software. Resource utilization comes down to the fact that a technician is available for 40 hours a week. How much of that is billable? How much of it isn’t? Then calculate the percentages. A lot of field services firms will look at revenue by technician, but they don’t examine the percentages the way most professional services companies do.

A company’s most efficient technicians are limited by the schedules provided to them. Collecting and analyzing data can minimize operating costs and help get the right person to the right place at the right time with the right resources.

Source: Pipeline, December 2012