Mobile Field Service Apps Guide

The Ultimate Guide to Mobile Field Service Apps

 

Knowledge You Need to Empower Your Field Techs and Drive More Revenue

Your field service engineers and technicians are on the front lines of your business, driving revenue, fixing problems, interacting with customers and generally being rockstars. Fully enabling them with mobile field service apps improves their productivity, reduces their administrative burden, and makes them happier. Mobile field service apps can also bring many improvements to the organization, including higher service profitability, accurate and timely billing, and improved customer satisfaction and retention. Field service apps also help the organization follow best practices to ensure compliance and eliminate risk.
 
Developing and supporting field service apps, however, can be costly and time-consuming. Research shows that organizations are spending between $100K and $500K per enterprise mobile app. There are valid points on both sides of the buy versus build argument, so which path is right for your field service organization? Should you hire a team of developers or buy a mobile field service software to build and support your own enterprise mobile apps?
 
No matter which route you choose, there are pitfalls to avoid along the way. We’ve created this guide to mobile field service apps to help field service leaders enable their field techs with apps that drive strategic improvements and competitive advantage.
 

Table of Contents

Planning & Research | Best Practices | Tools & Tech

 

Planning & Research

Mobile Field Service App
When getting started with mobile apps for field service management, it pays to spend time doing initial planning and, if going the buy route, researching vendors. From a business perspective, knowing which KPIs your field organization needs to track and improve is crucial. Our blog post, The Five Most Important KPIs for Field Service Organizations, is a good place to start. Using mobile apps to drive business value is a great strategy.
 
It is often surprising to field service leaders just how easy it is to drive business value in field service management with mobile apps.
 
In the initial stages of a development process, it is imperative that you find out what field technicians want. Spend a few days on job sites shadowing them. Pay close attention to the tasks that require information to be captured, processed and exchanged.
 
Be sure to take into consideration environmental factors like available light, temperature, and other conditions. Is the climate usually foggy or wet, as it is out on an ocean drilling rig, or very dry, as it is upon a cell tower in the desert? Factor in how the environment can change over the course of the day and the year. For example, are conditions drastically different in summer months than in winter?
 
Field service organizations can leverage valuable use cases for mobile apps, including work order management, time and expense management, and equipment and asset management.
 
Choosing mobile devices for your field techs should be a part of this initial stage of mobile app development. For highly specialized jobs, ruggedized tablets might be most appropriate. For more routine tasks, a field tech’s personal smartphone will suffice. Only after understanding what your field techs face on a daily basis should you choose the devices on which you will standardize. Check out this infographic on field workforce mobile device usage for more insight.
 
It will also pay big dividends to understand the subtle nuances between field technicians and field engineers and their unique needs early in the process. Our blog post, The Field Technician vs. The Field Engineer, is one of our most popular and provides insights into core skills and industry-specific context. When searching for field service management software, it is critical to understand the mobile capabilities that each tool offers. Check this infographic that illustrates the mobile field service management capabilities of the popular field service software on the enterprise market today. For high-level business justification, it’s easy to calculate the potential ROI of enterprise mobile apps.
 
Field service apps can improve customer service in a bevy of ways. Here are 10 ways they allow field techs to deliver better customer service.
 

Best Practices

work order apps
Mobile first thinking is a great way for field service organizations to increase competitive advantage. However, it can also help field service organizations to move from mobile first to process first. Field service apps should be process driven and improve field service management with real-time data.
 
There are common failure points for field service organizations. Using field service apps to prevent these from occurring in your organization is a good start to gaining a competitive advantage over your competition. Operational intelligence in field service management is important and easy to strengthen with by deploying process-driven mobile apps.
 
The keys to developing highly usable mobile field service apps are often practical and straightforward considerations. These may include making buttons bigger, using bright colors, and using readable typefaces and point sizes. For example, don’t try to fit too many fields on one screen, as it makes it hard for field techs to capture data quickly and accurately. Be sure your mobile field service apps meet these three critical usability criteria. With the proper planning, it’s easy to ensure field service apps work everywhere and for everyone.
 
If your field technicians need to perform complex inspections, testing and analysis, and preventative maintenance, be sure to follow our five keys to user-friendly mobile inspection apps. If you weren’t already aware, mobile data is the field service technician’s sidekick.
 
For field service technicians, the ability to do their work anywhere is a necessity. The business value that offline mobile apps bring to a field service organization is undeniable. Therefore, the mobile apps you to deploy have to be able to work both online AND offline. This article will help you decide whether your mobile app work online, offline, or both. To ensure that your field techs adopt the mobile apps that you deploy, be sure to follow these four key steps.
 
If your organization delivers field services in highly regulated industries like oil and gas, you can view this webinar (or read the transcript) to learn more about using mobile apps to improve field service delivery and compliance. Also, in regard to data security, the importance of secure mobile apps for field service operations cannot be over-stressed.
 
When implemented using best practices, mobile apps can make work order management easier and more efficient. Work order apps must be scalable, efficient and work appropriately for field personnel to provide the best usability and performance. Task-specific work order apps ensure streamlined business processes, happier customers and happier field techs.
 
If your field service organization also must track inventory, assets and equipment, usable inventory apps will help. Not all inventory apps are created equal, however. There are key differentiators in field service inventory apps for for the enterprise.
Asset tracking apps can also be useful for field service technicians. In this post, we show you how to evaluate mobile apps for enterprise asset tracking.
 

Tools & Tech

android smartphonesThere are many different types of technologies designed to make field service management and delivery more efficient. In order to clear up the confusion, we created the field service technology glossary to help field service leaders understand key field service technology terms.
 
If you are in the market for field service software, here’s an article published at Field Technologies Online that delves into which enterprise systems are best for field service management: ERP, CRM or service platform.
 
Cutting-edge technologies are coming to the forefront in field service management including artificial intelligence. machine learning, and the Internet of Things (IoT). However, as field service is ultimately a human endeavor, the human element remains critical to IoT.
 
Here are four field service software and applications vendors with different technologies that were named innovators in a recent IDC report.
 
To make deploying field service apps easier and more cost-effective, you may want to evaluate a mobile field service solution. They are not all created equally, however. Check out our Mobile Field Service Solution Buyer’s Guide to rank vendors on key capabilities and features to find the solution that best suits your organization.
 
If you use ServiceNow for field service management or asset management, be sure to check out our mobile ServiceNow apps. Or, you can learn how barcode scanning with mobile apps enhances ServiceNow. You can even learn how our mobile field service apps complement ServiceNow’s own mobile app. If you use BMC Remedy as your field service platform, read this post to learn how to automate BMC Remedy field operations with mobile apps.
 
We have recently released some new mobile features to make field techs’ jobs easier.
 
If your field organization needs help developing and deploying field service apps, good news. Mobile Reach has just launched a new mobility consulting practice.
 
You can learn more about mobile field service apps and the benefits they can bring to your field service organization here.