Powering Field Service Management with Custom Mobile Apps for ServiceNow
More than 2,100 commercial aircraft and 6,500 business aircraft have been equipped with Gogo Wi-Fi and entertainment services, including internet, text messaging, in-flight movies, and real-time flight information.
In order to provide uninterrupted and cost-effective in-flight services, Gogo must ensure that all of its cellular network towers are fully operational at all times. Proper maintenance and inspection tasks must be routinely and flawlessly performed as network outages are costly and can have deep reaching effects.
“We have standard cellular sites in both populated areas and very remote areas,” said Alex Uribes, Network Operations Manager for Gogo. “Essentially, there are little brick buildings at the site that house electronics, radio equipment, routers, microwave equipment, antennas on the tower, generators, batteries and power distribution equipment. Our guys operate and maintain all of the equipment including urgent repairs and preventative maintenance.”
Gogo relies on cloud-based ServiceNow to effectively manage IT service delivery. Recently Gogo’s field services team implemented and customized ServiceNow’s Field Service Management module to meet SLAs and contracted service commitments to the airlines.
Gogo has field engineers and numerous outside contractors who travel to the cellular tower sites. In the past, they needed to carry their laptops to job sites and then unpack them to log information into a spreadsheet. They often had to connect into a wireless router at the job site, but if both cellular and Wi-Fi network connections were unavailable they resorted to using pen and paper.
“We used a simple spreadsheet to track our maintenance and inspections,” Uribes said. “We were not able to track travel time or work time or anything like that, so our reporting was not detailed or actionable.”
Gogo’s back-end ServiceNow field service application, called Workforce Management, was highly customized to meet the company’s strict requirements. Due to the level of customization in ServiceNow, Gogo needed to deliver highly functional mobile apps for field techs to use.
Project leaders turned to Mobile Reach for help in creating a configurable mobile application that gives field techs everything they need at their fingertips. “When we looked at ServiceNow’s standard mobile application, we immediately saw that it wouldn’t work for everything we needed to do,” Uribes said. “We liked the idea of coming to Mobile Reach with requirements and getting a mobile app specifically designed for us.”
Using their iPhones or Android devices, field engineers can now interface with their work orders to track work time, travel time, log notes, and order parts required for different repairs and inspections. They can also document work order tasks and update incidents in real-time.
“All of the important information that the guys need to enter in ServiceNow to create a work order or deploy to a site and calculate travel and work time is all done on their mobile devices,” Uribes said. “They don’t even carry their laptops anymore. They can use their phones or their tablets and this has resulted in a tremendous improvement in time efficiency. What used to be a 30-minute plus process to log information has been mostly eliminated by them being able to do the work on their phones.”
Gogo also wanted the ability to track field engineers via GPS for safety reasons and for making sure the right technician was sent to the job. The mobile app automatically renders the field tech’s location on a map within ServiceNow. Also, the engineers are able to navigate to cell sites via the mobile app, saving them time and making their work more efficient.
“Capturing this information is really helping our reporting,” Uribes said. “We know how much time our guys are traveling and how much time they spend working on a particular job. There is also a template in the app so the guys can quickly run through a checklist for inspections and maintenance items that need be completed.”
With the deployment of the mobile app, there is now a closed-loop field service management system that ensures maximum service availability through real-time communications, accurate data capture, and an easy-to-use mobile interface. “The field engineers think it’s great because it makes their lives easier,” Uribes said.
“They are doing a better job of updating their notes, and the data is more accurate. It’s been a big improvement and the process is much more efficient.”
“The field engineers think it’s great because it makes their lives easier. They’re doing a better job of updating their notes and the data is a lot more accurate. It’s been a big improvement and the process is much more efficient.”
Gogo provides on-board Wi-Fi connectivity and entertainment options to hundreds of thousands of airline passengers worldwide. Gogo serves all major airline carriers.
Gogo’s field service team must keep cell towers fully operational 24/7/365 in order to provide airline passengers with high quality, uninterrupted Wi-Fi. Gogo’s cell towers are serviced and inspected by field engineers using work orders and incident tickets that are managed within ServiceNow.
With a suite of mobile apps from Mobile Reach, Gogo’s field techs are equipped to respond to and manage incident tickets and work orders more effectively. This functionality gives them the ability to better service cell towers and improve up-time and first-time fix rates.