Data is everywhere in field service. Every time someone creates a work order, a technician logs in time or completes a task on a checklist, or an invoice gets generated, layers of data are being created. It can be extremely high-end, such as simply how many calls you are taking each month, or it can be very in-depth, such as the response time of a single technician to a particular type of service call. But no matter what, field service management businesses need some form of work order software that can do a lot with that data.
Think about all that data and how you can leverage it to improve your business. It’s not a simple concept when you consider you have to:
It’s the Big Data Game with a multiple-step process to turn that data into something useful. And with work order software, that game is made easier, is automated, and you get more leverage out of the data in the end.
Bring in data to work order software
Data collection can be tricky if you’re using manual processing. Think about the work you have to do just to turn a paper-based work order into an invoice. Now add on analysis time to turn that data into something useful. It’s just not an efficient way to utilize data. So, it’s important that you have the proper tools to collect the data you need from the field. That starts with work order software to handle mass data collection. Remember, there is macro- and micro-data on every service call. While one person might only want the data to turn those work orders into invoices, someone else wants to know how efficient the technician is.
Using field service apps, technicians can input information on their mobile devices that will feed data to the work order software. Already, we can start to see how this software solution will affect the Big Data Game in a large way. That’s because it’s going to remove a lot of the manual work someone has to perform to eventually have data the business can leverage.
Where to put it all
Data isn’t useful if it’s sitting in a filing cabinet and left untouched. As work orders pile up and are moved to boxes, it’s possible they get lost in the shuffle. All that data is gone, and it was never used for more than, perhaps, creating an invoice. That’s great, as your business got paid, but you’re missing out on plenty of opportunities because of that unprocessed data. Storing everything in a work order software ensures the information is readily available to anyone. And best of all, it’s one system that houses everything. So, that data can be transformed into useful information because it’s available at all times. Which leads to the next point.
Working through all the data
Storing your data in a work order software doesn’t just eliminate filing cabinets. It does the work for you. That data has to be turned into something useful and, if you haven’t stored in properly, it’s going to sit for weeks, months, or even years. When you store it in a work order software, however, field service automation takes over. With analytics built into the software, every piece of data coming in is being analyzed into the reports you need and require. When a technician closes a work order, the parts they used, the time they spent working, and each task they completed are turned into useful information. That’s how you get first-time fix rates, compliance rates for preventative maintenance contracts, and break down each technician’s habits while working.
Without some form of this Business Intelligence, data becomes old. And old data isn’t useful data to make changes today. Key Performance Indicators can be used to ensure everyone is working to peak efficiency. It can show when someone is working outside the normal or needs to step up their work. But we’re talking the same minute, as soon as results come in straight from the field, rather than weeks later when someone finally processes the work orders and does the calculations themselves.
Get eyes on that data
Once the data has been turned into useful analytics, it needs to be shared with those who need it. Dashboards and reports are one example of how work order software is making data sharable. As each person in an organization needs different data, work order software makes it easy for them to get the information that is important to them. Your dispatchers need different information than warehouse managers. Your financial people need a new set of data. Without work order software, everyone has to figure out what is important to them and do the calculations themselves. Whereas, with a software solution, anyone can request what they think is important to their role.
Analytics are only useful if they are meaningful to the person reading them. By giving people in your business the data they want, they are more likely to leverage it in ways that will be beneficial to your business as a whole.
Learn to leverage that data
We have learned through the Big Data Game that there are a lot of moving parts. A lot of data that can be used by a lot of people. The end result, however, is the same. You want whoever is using that data to win. That’s because winning means your business succeeds. Data can easily be leveraged to turn a struggling business around. Find out where you are leaking revenue, who your top and worst technicians are, and what trends your business has. You may find yourself looking at your business in an entirely different way with data at your fingertips. Many field service management businesses are taking data and altering their actions because of it. They are optimizing performance using the data they are collecting straight from the field. If you’re wanting to do the same, work order software is what you need to play the Big Data Game properly from start to finish.