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The Top 4 Advantages of Field Service Management Software

Field service software is a valuable software tool that allows a company to keep track of job scheduling and employees in real time either en route to a site or on the site itself. Many companies take advantage of the ease, convenience, and real time-efficiency of such systems, including but not limited to: telecommunications, cable installation and repair, the mobile health care industry, engineering, and mobile technicians who perform repairs, maintenance, and installation of equipment for residential and commercial customers.

1. Schedule Jobs More Easily and Efficiently

When technicians and other employees are out at job sites, it is crucial that they are aware of their job schedules for the day. A good FSM tool allows for easy communication between those workers on site and those back in the office so that a more accurate map of the day’s jobs can be scheduled in real time.

For example, this type of system allows for on-site workers to report back with any delays or other concerns and for the managers back at head office to adjust the day’s job schedule accordingly. This real-time communication from site back to head office is at the heart of FSM tools and makes all daily operations easier and more efficient.

2. Keep Track of Stock Levels Accurately

Companies of all sizes need to know at any given time what their stock levels are. When technicians are on site for repairs and maintenance to equipment, be it residential or commercial, they will use parts that they are carrying with them.

It is important for head office to know how many parts are being used, what they are, and the rate at which they are being used by their technicians. This allows them to accurately keep track of stock levels and order them accordingly from their suppliers. This also allows them to manage their cash flow more easily and stay on top of their finances.

3. Locate Workers and Vehicles in Real Time

Companies that use FSM software tools also need to keep track of where their technicians and vehicles are at any given time during working hours. This provides an accurate and real-time map of worker movements in the context of job scheduling but also allows them to manage vehicles, manage driver safety, and locate workers in the case of accident or injury en route to a site or on site.

4. Take Care of Customers

Good communication with customers is crucial to the ongoing success of any business, large or small. Built into the heart of every FSM software tool is real-time communication at all levels. This means that technicians can accurately record their interactions with customers. While this system certainly allows for head office to ensure that each job is not overstepping the line in terms of service, it also means that work details can be shared with other technicians.

For example, a technician records the progress of a job and his or her interaction with the customer, including any complaints made by that customer. This shared record provides other technicians with enough information so that they can provide ongoing service to that customer with accurate and up-to-date information at any time in the future with full knowledge of the history of that customer and the nature of the service.

Five Reasons Why Field Service Management Software Can Help Your Business

Field service software can help a business stay organised. It can be used to schedule work, dispatch technicians, track employee vehicles, and support driver safety, among other functions. Finding the right software can be crucial for your business’s success and can help your business to grow.

1. Solves Scheduling Issues

Software can help you manage where your technicians are and plan your day. As your company grows, it is crucial to get your scheduling straight so that jobs and taking on new customers don’t get overwhelming. Additionally, the more technicians you have out in the field and the more time spent out there due to an increase in jobs means that more customers could fall by the wayside or get forgotten. Field service software can actually track where your technicians are located and some can even give you a visual map. Many platforms will also allow you to speak with your technicians in real time so if the schedule changes, you will easily be able to get in touch with them and make any necessary switches.

Software can also be used to help your technicians get to a job in the fastest route possible. This helps to maximise the time spent out in the field and be sure that the most jobs are being completed in one day. If your technician is running early or late, there are even platforms that will help to notify customers of expected arrival times.

2. Keeps Accounting up to Date

Spreadsheets to keep track of payments are outdated. Not only are they time-consuming but they can also be inaccurate. Spreadsheets are updated by employees and are therefore prone to human error. The larger your business grows, the more chances there are for errors. To avoid this, field service software often keeps track of your accounting for you. Billing, invoice creation and mailing, and payment reminders can all be sent automatically, saving your company time and money.

3. Makes Timekeeping Simpler

Timekeeping on timesheets can also be inaccurate and a waste of time. Software can help to automate this process, making it simpler for businesses. It can also help you to see how much time is devoted to what parts of the job. Are technicians spending plenty of time with customers or are they spending a lot of their time driving or fixing broken equipment? This will help you get a good read of where your business practices can improve and maximise working time. Field service management software even has space where technicians can take notes on the job. This prevents time being spent on this task later, which saves money for payroll.

4. Easy Access to Reports

Reporting is particularly useful for certain chemical or pest industries. Field service management software can help automate reports, simplifying the task. Reports can be easily tracked and this can be a major time saver for companies.

5. Improve Customer Relations

Finally, field service management software can improve relations with customers. The software tracks scheduling, timekeeping, and accounting, which can increase customer satisfaction in these areas. If your customers are complaining about rushed jobs, late invoices, late technicians, or other problems, software can help minimise these issues. Customers typically have access to their own portals related to these areas where they can leave feedback or make immediate payments. It also allows for ease of communication between your business and your customers.

5 Frequently Asked Questions about Field Service Management Software

It is time to switch to field service management software. Field service management is crucial for every business that wants to improve its field operations. It enables team members to easily communicate and update records even when they are in the field without having to get into the office first. Also, field technicians can access the information they require through the software, which makes their work effective.

1. How much does the software cost? Is there a contract?

Usually, the pricing of field service software is determined on monthly basis and per user basis. You need to purchase the software that offers pricing where you can scale down or up to meet seasonal changes in your organization or as it grows. Also, avoid a contract because it locks you, especially long-term contracts. Make sure you inquire about hardware requirements for the field service software and evaluate its quality by reading through reviews and testimonials.

2. What features are included?

Some features are standard across all field service applications while others are unique based on the needs of an organization. Some standard features include route mapping, job scheduling and dispatching, work order organization, and customer management. You can talk to your provider if you want a field service application to fix specific issues such as streamlining scheduling or eliminating paperwork.

3. What application integrations are supported?

You need to be sure that the field service application will match with the current hardware in your business. Also, consider the mobile devices to ensure that they integrate well with the field service software to ensure that your field technicians can comfortably it. Ask how the software will match with your current business applications such as your payroll system, accounting software, and Google calendar. Also, ask if updates made by field technicians from mobile software to office are automatic.

4. Can the software be customized?

The field management software should be customized to meet needs in the business. Sometimes you have to incur extra costs when making significant changes in documentation, your workflow, or hardware. Therefore, you have to ask your provider how the application can be personalized to suit your operations. Additionally, inquire if the workflows can be customized, the labels and languages, and if customers can view your brand identity on emails and invoices.

5. What training and support will you receive?

You will require some training no matter how easy the software seems to be. You need to inquire from your provider the kind of support they offer their clients. Some providers provide online training, webinar where you can ask questions or live demonstrations. You need to know where their customer support is located as well as their customer care contacts. The support should be available throughout to answer questions and help whenever you need help.

6 Reasons Field Service Management Software Improves the Customer Experience

Any company that provides service to fix or maintain, install, remove, update or otherwise offer expert guidance to the public has to devote a portion of time to customer service skill. Below are six reasons that utilizing field service software will fill in informational gaps needed to create better customer service experiences for all customers.

1. Complete Daily Oversight

Management software for field service provides vital tools to assess every aspect of the workday. You will know where each technician is and how many service calls remain, which allows you the leverage to update customers when the appointment time is not met. Being able to have advanced notice of late arrival and giving them a choice to wait or reschedule help keep the customer in the loop.

2. Improved Service Documentation

You can better deal with customer complaints and questions by accessing the documentation of all work done on each service call. It helps clear up any miscommunications easily. It is a tool that is not available in a standard service call scenario. You would have to depend on the memory of your technicians and often skewed by the length of the day and numerous calls.

3. Matching the Right Employee and Job Assignment

All employees bring a different skill level to the table. It is true in any industry. Through the use of specific software designed to gather needed information to manage the field service industry, you will detect the skill levels and send the right technicians to particular jobs that require a specified level of skill. The work will get done quicker, and the customer will be pleased.

4. Increased First-Visit Fixes

Taking care of the customer needs on the first visit is what every field service sets as a daily goal. Knowing what the regular jobs will help the technician better prepare and have the needed parts and equipment in the vehicle. It does not eliminate the possibilities of a second visit, but it helps minimize the potential.

5. Send Same Service Technician for Needed Second Visits

Most customers appreciate the same technician showing up for any needed second visit. This person becomes a familiar, trusted face to the person required a service call. Field service software allows you to manage which technician goes to each job.

6. Building Customer Confidence

The combination of speedy, knowledgeable service, excellent communication, and quality service provide the best customer service possible. It creates an increase in repeat business, which grows the company exponentially.

The consistent use of field service software will make the tasks of managing this area of business less complicated. You can let the information be the guide to creating excellent customer service.

Five Examples of Enterprise Mobility’s Growing Importance

Enterprise software is essential for businesses, including small businesses. Without software programs tracking workflows, collecting data for analysis or keeping communications secure, businesses quickly lose their competitive edge. Field service industries are no exception. Here are a few examples of enterprise mobility’s growing importance and the need for integrated field service software.

1. Industrial Internet of Things

While consumer-facing internet of things technologies haven’t received a great deal of popularity, industrial internet of things, or IIOT, has been making steady gains. Industrial manufacturers and industrial service personnel have been collecting field data for decades. Handheld devices are nothing new. But integrated tech possibilities are new.
Field service software solutions bridge the gap between data collection and data analysis by channeling field data into the cloud where it is stored and shared with multiple end-users in real-time. This means that goods are tracked, inventory data is up-to-date and equipment maintenance is more efficient and timely.

2. End-to-End Security

Personal mobile devices are often used by field service personnel because downloadable, consumer-facing apps are easy to use and manage. This kind of lax use of personal devices for business can lead to data breaches and hacks. Mobile-ready software programs provide field agents with the digital tools they need. When loaded onto handheld devices, the software provides a secure platform for all users.

3. Digital Transformation

Complete digital transformation occurs when all core business processes are completed digitally. With mobile-ready software solutions, technicians in the field are able to keep track of their hours for invoices, order parts as needed and stay up-to-date with service requests that are often submitted via online customers. An updated digital record of all transactions, one that is accessible to every team member as needed, helps keep field service employees productive and competitive.

4. Compliance and Regulations

Aside from privacy concerns, compliance and regulations include response times to urgent field problems and documentation of procedures. Field service software tracks agent progress and steps followed. Data entered is automatically kept in tabulated form for rapid inspections and regular updates keep software in compliance with changing regulations. In addition, these tools are able to provide real-time alerts to agents and facilitate communication between team members. This results in faster response times.

5. Geolocation

GPS upgrades keep track of vehicles in a fleet and field service agent locations. Knowing your work force’s location helps managers co-ordinate service area coverage more efficiently and reduce customer wait times.

Field service software helps keep businesses competitive by providing low-maintenance solutions to common field service problems. After installation, customer information is kept secure, field service agents remain productive and regulations are easily maintained.

4 Ways Field Service Software Benefits Inventory and Invoicing

Automating route delivery and field service operations through use of software applications may be of benefit to far more than just the dispatch process. Systems that automate invoice generation or that may be used to track and manage inventory and sales figures more easily and with greater accuracy could prove to be of immense benefit. Investing in the right field service software may allow businesses to enjoy any of the following four benefits.

1. Fast and Easy Invoicing

Documenting each sale or service call through conventional methods may require time, attention and effort that might already be in short supply. Dispatch and route management applications that generate an invoice automatically in response to a scheduled delivery or upcoming service appointment may offer a superior alternative. More accurate invoice generation can eliminate many accounting and bookkeeping errors that may be caused due to oversight or simple operator error.

2. Inventory Management

Automatically tracking inventory levels with each delivery or following a service call or appointment can also help to improve operational efficiency. Maintaining enough inventory to handle future demand without placing unnecessary strain on storage space and warehouse processes may be all but impossible for organizations that lack the right resources. Digital applications that serve to automate the data entry and record generation efforts required help to ensure that an inventory management process is able to be more effective.

3. Route Planning and Dispatch

Outlining a more effective service area and ensuring that the dispatch process is being properly handled should be concerns of paramount importance for any fleet vehicle operator. Full-featured field service software can help to overhaul and modernize an outdated route planning method or a dispatch process that may be far from efficient. Automating multiple logistical processes and tying route and service-call information into invoicing and inventory management processes may provide business owners with a more complete understanding of their day to day operations.

4. Confusing and Adapting Software for Future Use

Businesses may expect to find themselves fave with numerous new challenges and opportunities as they grow and expand. Field service software and other digital resources that may be more quickly and easily adapted to meet new challenges can help to ensure that businesses are able to stay ahead of the curve. Allowing outdated management systems and resources to limit their options could wind up costing businesses a great deal.

Choosing the Right Software, Applications and Resources

Not all digital applications and management systems may be of equal value to each business or organization. Staying focused on the features that make the biggest difference can help businesses to find and select applications with more to offer. Cost-effective software that will allow businesses to upgrade their workflow process with greater ease may prove to be a key resource.

5 key considerations when choosing a field service software

The digital bandwagon is here, and the companies that get on board stand to gain a lot. A field service software is key to streamlined business processes. Here are key considerations to make when integrating the system.

1. Understand your business needs

A field management software is an investment in your business. However, you should not go in blind. It is best practice to first define your business needs and establish how this system will serve your business. You need to explain your business needs to the system provider so that you are on the same page. A good provider will provide a custom tailored system that best addresses your needs as a business. A system is only useful if it meets your specific business objectives.

2. Conduct a comparative analysis

There is so much to choose from when it comes to field service management software. One of the best ways to get what works for you is to conduct a comparative analysis. The comparison needs to be done based on what works for you. It is important to also look at the weaknesses and the limitations of each of these systems. Measure this against your core business so as to make an informed decision.

3. Engage your field technicians

You need to engage your field technicians and get them excited about the field service management software. Remember that these are the people who will be using this system. You need to involve them right from the selection stage. Get to hear their concerns and the challenges that they face out there in the field. The last thing you want is to introduce a system that will be resisted by the field operatives. Engaging with them throughout the process is also a way to harvest great ideas. Mobile application technology can also be integrated into the system. Ensure that the tech department and the operatives are all on board. This will guarantee a smooth integration and harmonized operations.

4. Understand what you are buying

When searching for a field service management software, you are likely to hear lots of technical words. It is ill-advised to dismiss or assume these words, if you do not understand them, ensure that you make inquiries. It is important to know exactly what you are buying, do not simply assume that you do.

5. Adaptability to your business

The system you choose should grow with your business. A technologically obsolete system is not worth the investment. Consider the technological capacity of the system in light of the business growth projections you have. You need to answer the question whether this system can grow with you.

Taking time to make these considerations will work to ensure that you get an efficient field service software.

4 Ways the Field Service Industry can Leverage Artificial Intelligence

Advancements in technology have led to a lot of changes in different industries, but when it comes to implementing artificial intelligence (AI), the fundamental question is whether to enhance or replace the technology in place. Studies have also shown that by 2021, about 6 percent of jobs in the United States will be replaced by bots and AI. For employees, this sounds threatening, but it’s important to figure out the types of jobs that are changing as a result of AI.

Companies across different sectors are now taking advantage of virtual assistants and AI to increase productivity and streamline communication. For instance, the field service management industry has begun tapping into AI to improve efficiency and also enhance workers skills. Also, the emergence of AI-powered bots has streamlined support for clients.

Here are some of the areas where companies are leveraging AI to improve customer service:

1. Automatic dispatching

The emergence of AI in field service software is slowly taking over the dispatching duties. Once it’s integrated into the dispatcher process, bots will take over the human functions since they automatically record inquiries and data. What’s more, they can help in assigning specific duties as well as organizing daily tasks for field technicians.

AI not only streamlines the building of technician’s process but it ensures that field workers are completely satisfied. The dispatcher process oversight has always been a huge challenge for most companies since it’s difficult to determine whether things are running smoothly or whether the dispatchers are behind schedule.

2. Enhances the role of call centers

Artificial intelligence integration into the field service industry can help in completing basic tasks. For example, instead of manually collecting and inputting data, AI can take over such a task which means that employees can focus on responsibilities that require more analysis and insight.

Also, the number of calls received by customer support can be overbearing and overwhelming for agents to keep track. However, with AI in place, you can easily manage a high volume of information by collecting and recording customer service requests. This is important since the call center can easily process basic information which provides more room for customer agents to handle complex issues.

3. Streamline Data Collection

Apart from automatically inputting incoming inquiries and information, it’s also possible to capture vital information and report customer inquiries through AI. This will not only allow the agents to improve on customer service, but it will also increase productivity and streamline the administrative processes. Although it’s nearly impossible to replace agents, it’s easier to automate admin processes, which in turn improves efficiency and allow workers to focus more on important responsibilities.

4. Image recognitiones

AI can streamline the service process, whether it’s installations, preventive maintenance, or break-fix. In fact, it can help technicians to identify parts and make an order, especially if it’s integrated with the service management software. It’s also easier to have a record of parts that are consumed in the context of the work order and enhance swift replacement.

Soon, AI will integrate machines and humans to make them more customer-oriented, responsive, and efficient. Human technicians shouldn’t have to worry since AI wouldn’t replace them, but the “people” component is something that will be enhanced as a result of the change. This will not only improve efficiency, but it should bring about up-selling and cross-selling opportunities.

IPv6 Adoption Continue to Vary Across Nations

IPv6 adoption is a major issue in the world of information technology. Each device that connects to the Internet needs a unique IP address, but the current IPv4 standard simply does not have enough of them to keep up with demand. IPv6 can solve that problem, but transitioning to it is a significant project. The effort involved has kept many people from switching over, but that is starting to change. However, the rate of adoption varies significantly from one nation to the next, and some parts of the world are falling behind.

Top Performers

Europe is leading the way when it comes to IPv6 adoptions. Belgium has been leading the adoption efforts by a significant margin, but several other nations are close behind it. Greece, Switzerland, and Germany have also made significant efforts to adopt IPv6, although none of the nations have managed to have an adoption rate of at least fifty percent according to the majority of sources.

While Europe is home to the majority of leading countries, there are a few in other parts of the world. The Caribbean nation of Trinidad and Tobago has managed to keep pace with the leading nations and has surpassed many European countries in spite of its small size. The United States has done just as well, Brazil is doing comparably to many of the European nations in the middle of the pack, and Canada only falls outside of the top ten rapid adopters by a small margin. The majority of the rest of the countries in the Americas have significantly lower rates of adoption, largely due to their relative poverty. Asia shows lower rates of adoption than Europe and the Americas, but India has still managed to earn a place in the top ten. The experts at www.bluecatnetworks.com are capable of providing you with further information.

African Support

Africa has fallen behind many other parts of the world in regard to IPv6 adoption, but there is evidence that suggests that will change in the near future. Chris Ujawe, a leading technological executive, recently spoke on the topic as part of a IPv6 panel at a recent conference in Geneva, Switzerland.

Ujawe took the opportunity to emphasize the importance of IPv6 adoption for the development of the African economy. His position is that any African nation which fails to adopt the new standard will fall behind the rest of the world and suffer a serious disadvantage during economic competitions. Some African nations, such as Nigeria, are making efforts to adopt the new standard, but Ujawe does not believe that they have been sufficient so far. To the contrary, he believes that the current situation should be considered a technological emergency. It remains to be seen if his plea for a greater focus on IPv^ will be heard, but it may lead to rapid adoption in Africa’s future.

7 DNS Security Threats That Can Leave Your System in Ruins

DNS, by virtue of its simplistic design, is open to breach. Businesses have continuously faced threats and attacks by hackers trying steal data or corrupt their servers. To keep your organization safe, www.bluecatnetworks.com offers a variety of services to manage, secure and protect your DNS from third party attacks like the following.

Kaminsky Bug

Source

Discovered by researcher Dan Kaminsky in 2008, the Kaminsky bug was a serious weakness in the DNS systems that could poison the cache provided by the ISPs by compromising the root servers. In one of the rare instances of prevention before attack, the flaw was detected before it could be exploited on a large scale and Kaminsky and his team were successful in plugging it.

Widespread DDoS

DDoS or Distributed Denial of Service Attacks are particularly efficient at scrambling DNS tables and denying service to users. On October 21, 2002, hackers attacked and compromised 9 of the 13 DNS root servers in an unprecedented scale of attack. Added security failed when an even larger attack successfully disrupted services in February 2007.

Conficker

Source

Conficker was a worm that targeted vulnerable Windows devices and generated tens of thousands of domains in order to replicate itself and distribute its command and control centers. It was finally brought to heel by an organized effort by Microsoft, ICANN, law enforcement and other agencies.

Hijack of ICANN’s domains

Source

The global repository for domain names was attacked by a team of hackers going by the name NetDevilz. On visiting icann.org, users were greeted by a message from the attackers. Though the change was reset within 20 minutes, erroneous information had already been propagated through the channels and users continued to see the message for 48 hours.

Security Firm Bankrupted by DDoS

Source

Israeli-American startup Blue Security was the victim of a concentrated DDoS attack by spam networks after its controversial anti-spam software Blue Frog tried to give the spammers a bit of their own medicine. Realizing it was being attacked, the security firm redirected its DNS records to its corporate blog hosted by Six Apart, which in turn, suffered major losses due the volume of attack. Two weeks later, Blue Security was out of business

Massive Cyber Attack takes down multiple sites

Proving that even all these added security is not enough, a massive cyberattack took down multiple websites like Netflix, Twitter, Etsy, Github, Vox, Spotify and Reddit in October 2016. A tweet by WikiLeaks implied that the attack was organized in protest against the manhunt for WikiLeaks founder Juliane Assange.