Mobility in Field Services Management: Part Two
 

Mobility in Field Services Management: Part Two

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A guide to implementing mobility in field services management, including how to choose the device, operating system, platform and applications.

A guide to implementing mobility in field services management, including how to choose the device, operating system, platform and applications.

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Mobility in Field Services Management: Part Two Mobility in Field Services Management: Part Two Document Transcript

  • • Cognizant 20-20 Insights Mobility in Field Services Management: Part Two (of a Two-Part Series) Criteria for field services organizations to consider when selecting a mobile platform: applications, device, OS, architecture and implementation approach. Executive Summary In the first part of this white paper, we saw how mobility can be a solution for some of the key strategic and tactical field service delivery challenges. Also, we learned from real-world case studies how to revolutionize a field service organization through the three plays of mobility. To achieve these business needs, however, a field service organization must develop a mobile ecosystem by addressing some of the basic infrastructure and functional requirements. This calls for selecting the right FSM solution with the right implementation approach. This paper looks at: • How to prioritize field service functionalities to decide which must go mobile first. • Technology selection that will enable organizations to implement the next wave of mobile applications and satisfy emerging technology requirements. • A four-step strategy to “go mobile.” cognizant 20-20 insights | october 2013 Selecting the Right FSM Solution: Functionality Prioritization and Technology Selection Before embarking on the journey of implementing an FSM solution, it is important to do a preliminary analysis of the user base (by segment) and ecosystem and the intended functional and technical requirements. Industrial manufacturers that want to successfully implement a mobility solution in field services management should clearly understand user adoption of the mobile solution by segregating the FSM functionalities based on the user role and the productivity improvements/business benefits offered by the functionalities. Best-Case User Adoption and Prioritization The success of any solution depends on its adoption by end users. Automation of repetitive and time-consuming tasks will lead to smoother adoption of the solution and leverage the resources’ (FSM’s) intellectual property, thereby improving job satisfaction, morale and company loyalty. Segregating the functionalities based on roles will help to design mobile apps based on the specific requirements of the role; this will directly impact
  • productivity. Thus, usability analysis will enable faster adoption. The role-based mobile apps in field services management can be positioned as part of a larger “enterprise-level apps store” from which users can install apps based on their roles and functions. (For more insights on this subject, see our white paper “Enterprise Mobile Apps: How Role-Based Apps Will Drive Productivity and Transformation in Manufacturing Companies.”) Figure 1 illustrates key stakeholders in FSM and some of the basic functions they need to perform regularly. Enabling these functionalities on mobile devices will enhance coordination and control of day-to-day operations. This will support increased business transparency by tracking key performance indicators and achieving higher levels of customer satisfaction. At the same time, it is important to prioritize which functionality to transition to mobile first. This can be achieved by mapping functionalities against the potential business benefits. Figure 2 (next page) provides a matrix for developing an FSM solution roadmap. For successfully deploying mobility in FSM, an enterprise ideally should prioritize those functionalities that are high on user adoption. This will help develop a culture of carrying out various business transactions over mobile devices. Next, those functionalities that are high on strategic importance and competitive advantage must be targeted. Technology Selection: Architecture, OS and Hardware Conundrum For successfully deploying a mobile application, an organization needs to identify and define business processes that would be suitable for mobile apps. The feature and functional requirements would differ based on the target audience. As part of the preliminary analysis and from a technology perspective, a brief analysis can be done to select the right mobile platform, then decide on the suitable architecture and finally choose the right mobile hardware device (feature phone, smartphone, tablet or industrial grade handheld), if not a bring your own device (BYOD) approach. On one hand, native applications for conducting niche engineering test and analysis by field engineers and analysts are being widely developed for rugged mobile devices. On the other hand, role-based apps are being widely developed for smartphones and tablets. Hence, a thorough analysis and a collective view of the mobile platform, architecture and device are essential for developing and deploying a mobility-based FSM solution. FSM: Role-Based Mobile Apps Customer Service Desk Service Manager Work Management Service Engineer Field Visit Administrator Internal Service Ticket • Customer service request generation. • Service request status tracking. • Service ticket landscape, FSE location and skill matrix. • Service contract and SLAs. • Assignment work flow. • Electronic expense claims mgmt. • Electronic time sheet mgmt. • Electronic invoice authentication. • Dashboard for reporting. • Inspection, diagnostic and testing. • On-site access to contracts & service history, knowledge portal. • Access to the inventory levels & spare parts booking. • Quote generation. • Enable instant electronic transmission of billing information. • Cross-sell/up-sell. • Renew expiry of AMC. • Digital signature. • Notification services (e-mails and SMS). • Access control system. • Multilingual support system. • Customer contact data management. Figure 1 cognizant 20-20 insights 2
  • Selecting Hardware popular with service engineers. Handheld terminals are good for barcode and RFID tracking but their screen size is too small to view reports and graphs or do sizable data entry. These limitations are overcome by rugged portable tablets with large screen displays and better processors. These rugged devices also come with plug-and-play features widely used for capturing large amounts of data from industrial equipment. Selection of a mobile device is driven by environmental, security and functional application requirements. Additionally, parameters such as screen display requirements, device form factors, communications protocols and network requirements play a key role in the selection of the most suitable hardware for the intended business purpose and audience. For example: • Smartphones: These are easily available and easily portable with a wide range of choice in terms of operating systems and rich device features; they have, however, limitations in terms of screen size to view reports and tables and do sizable data entry. • Tablets: The above-mentioned limitations of smartphones can be overcome by using tablets but these are not rugged enough to be used in harsh industrial environments. Quick Take Both smartphones and tablets are popular among senior executives for viewing reports, monitoring performance dashboards, etc. • Rugged devices: Mobile devices such as handheld terminals and rugged tablets that can withstand harsh environments are primarily suitable for industrial use and are quite Selecting an Operating System In order to reach the widest possible audience, a field service organization has to consider some of the key parameters mentioned in Figure 3 (next page) when choosing an operating system and the mobile device. For example, Android and Apple iOS devices provide an enhanced user experience given their rich device features such as sharper display, richer colors, higher resolution camera that can be used for viewing detailed reports and scanning and graph rendering on the fly. An OS like Blackberry is high on data security. Security and data vaulting: The need to safely store data on a mobile device and any external storage (e.g., SD cards) is a key requirement for any mobile worker with access to company information. Therefore, one of the important FSM: Prioritizing Mobile-Based Functionalities Field Fault Report Cross-Sell/Up-Sell Real-Time Transmission of Billing Details Renewal of Expiring AMC Electronic Approval of Services Done by Customer Competitive Advantage Quotation Generation Spare Parts Inventory Visibility/Warehouse Management Service Ticket Status Tracking BI Reports Electronic Expense Report Filing Electronic Time Sheet Filing Ticket Allocation & Work Flow Management Google Map Integration & FSE Positioning Alerts & Notification Services Barcode/RFID Reader User Adoption Figure 2 cognizant 20-20 insights 3
  • criteria in selecting a device/OS is the ability to granularly select data that needs encryption and that does not. Also, the robustness of the OS and its vulnerability to being hacked or being tampered with is a key security consideration. impacted by the loss of productivity related to a malfunctioning or out-of-service device. So, the choice of device and OS has to be directly related to the usage model and targeted audience. Defining Architecture User experience: An unexpected OS crash, freezing or reboots in a mobile device will cause work to be lost and lower overall workforce productivity. An organization should make sure that any mobile OS for its mobile workforce should be evaluated for its reliability and ability to withstand the rigors of field services. Range and bandwidth: With the availability of high bandwidth connectivity (HSDPA and HSUPA 3G, 4G/LTE), a new range of advanced mobile applications are coming to the market. However, in a field services user environment the kind of connectivity that exists (3G, 4G, WiFi, etc.) will be key in selecting a device and an OS. Also, full offline capabilities that allow the user to work without connectivity and synchronize all the data once they are back online should be a key consideration. Manageability: The device OS should be able to remotely manage various aspects such as device monitoring, locking/disablement, display of device characteristics, uploading, software updates, etc. This feature is very important for various OS upgrades and for managing a device in the event it is stolen or lost or is being used for an unauthorized data transfer. Market share: An organization should not invest in a device or an OS with a declining market share. The risk associated with such an investment will span support and OS upgrades. The total cost of ownership (TCO) has little to do with the hardware and software cost itself. It is mostly Mobile OS Selection Available Operating Systems • • • • • Android iOS (Apple) Blackberry Windows Mobile Symbian Evaluation Parameters • Security and Data Vaulting • User Experience • Range and Bandwidth • Manageability • Market Share • Rich Device Features Systems for a field services organization can be enabled on mobile devices to ensure the right fit for the business purpose and overall business solution for the target user segments. However, there are different solution architectures available for mobile enablement of senior executives and field service engineers. More insights on this topic are beyond the scope of this paper, but a key consideration is to define an architecture framework that is scalable enough to develop a variety of applications to meet the business requirements. Also, the architecture framework should be able to address key technology challenges such as: • Easing the complexity involved in accessing and processing of heterogeneous enterprise data sources for mobile enablement. • Reducing the complexity involved in synchronization of enterprise data sources with mobile devices. • Facilitating work in a connectionless environment: online and offline mode capability and automatic data synchronization on establishment of network connectivity. • Mobile applications and devices deployment, security and manageability. • Enabling system integrators (SIs) and independent software vendors (ISVs) to leverage various technology stacks of mobile platforms to meet the mobility needs of a field service organization. Implementation Approach Organizations often assess their current IT systems and then develop a strategy for mobile enablement. Any such strategy or roadmap needs to be customized to the organization’s requirements to ensure success. The mobility initiative in field services needs to be driven at an enterprise level to take advantage of economies of scale, ensure faster business buy-in and lower costs. Figure 4 (next page) provides a suggested Figure 3 cognizant 20-20 insights 4
  • Strategizing Implementation: Mobility Create Analyze Ideate Discover • Idea collection. • Business drivers for mobility. • Classification based on mobile user segment. • Alignment with growth iniitatives. • Classification based on MEAP/native/ Web tech parameters. • Target processes. • Target user segments. • Conceptualize future state of business and process impact. • Feedback from business users. • Current field service organization KPIs. • Future state field service organization KPIs. • GAP analysis. • Business applicability. • FSM package evaluation. • Operational impact, fitment, ROI. • Technical feasibility. • Mobility deployment strategy. • Opportunity identification. • Prioritze and rationalize opportunities. • Architecture definition. • Long-term implementation roadmap. • Identify short-term possibilities or “quick wins.” • Identify avenues for proof of concept. • Organizational change management. • Governance through KPI measurement and monitoring. Figure 4 rational approach to implementing a mobility solution for efficient management of a field services organization. reach by leveraging third-party services. In doing so, mobility can be a key enabler for maintaining consistent customer experience and preventing warranty leakages. Conclusion Mobility is transforming entire industries, including today’s field service organizations, into more productive and profitable units that are better positioned to generate revenue, reduce costs and raise productivity while meeting customer demands, influencing brand perception and delivering superior service. Field engineers can not only have access to information anytime, anywhere, but can collaborate more closely with cross-functional and cross-border teams. This will enable the development of a centralized knowledge-based platform fueling innovation in the design and service ticket resolution process. Mobility strategy is aligned to an organization’s pursuit of leanness while extending its customer cognizant 20-20 insights In today’s world, many field services organizations have a mobile-based solution in various stages of implementation. Merely investing in technology does not ensure improvements in key KPIs (as discussed in part one of this white paper). It is the designing and implementing of a truly integrated mobility solution that delivers a true competitive edge. Although there is no one-size-fits-all mobile solution for field services, there is a definite sense of urgency to configure, build or enhance field service organizations to keep up with the changing marketplace and take advantage of this enormous opportunity. 5
  • About the Authors Amit Kumar Singh is a Senior Consultant with Cognizant Business Consulting and is a core team member of the Manufacturing and Logistics Practice. He has successfully executed a project advising the client on developing a “service information platform” facilitating collaboration, process harmonization and new services introduction for its field service organization. Amit has an M.B.A. from SP Jain Institute of Management and Research, Mumbai and a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. He can be reached at Amitkumar.Singh@cognizant.com. William (Bill) Cogdill is a Senior Director and Consulting Partner within Cognizant’s Manufacturing and Logistics Practice. He has over 40 years of marketing, operations and supply chain experience and is part of the consulting leadership team responsible for setting the strategic direction for solutions that address client challenges. Bill can be reached at William.Cogdill@cognizant.com | Linkedin: http://www. linkedin.com/in/billcogdill | Facebook: William Cogdill (Bill Cogdill) | Google+: Bill Cogdill. Karthik Natarajan is a Senior Manager of Consulting within Cognizant’s Manufacturing and Logistics Practice. Karthik is part of the consulting leadership team and has over 12 years of technology and business consulting experience. He has led numerous business transformation and strategic projects across the full spectrum of business processes. Karthik’s experience includes supply chain consulting, process reengineering and IT strategy. He can be reached at Karthik.Natarajan@cognizant.com. About Cognizant Cognizant (NASDAQ: CTSH) is a leading provider of information technology, consulting, and business process outsourcing services, dedicated to helping the world’s leading companies build stronger businesses. Headquartered in Teaneck, New Jersey (U.S.), Cognizant combines a passion for client satisfaction, technology innovation, deep industry and business process expertise, and a global, collaborative workforce that embodies the future of work. With over 50 delivery centers worldwide and approximately 164,300 employees as of June 30, 2013, Cognizant is a member of the NASDAQ-100, the S&P 500, the Forbes Global 2000, and the Fortune 500 and is ranked among the top performing and fastest growing companies in the world. Visit us online at www.cognizant.com for more information. World Headquarters European Headquarters India Operations Headquarters 500 Frank W. Burr Blvd. Teaneck, NJ 07666 USA Phone: +1 201 801 0233 Fax: +1 201 801 0243 Toll Free: +1 888 937 3277 Email: inquiry@cognizant.com 1 Kingdom Street Paddington Central London W2 6BD Phone: +44 (0) 207 297 7600 Fax: +44 (0) 207 121 0102 Email: infouk@cognizant.com #5/535, Old Mahabalipuram Road Okkiyam Pettai, Thoraipakkam Chennai, 600 096 India Phone: +91 (0) 44 4209 6000 Fax: +91 (0) 44 4209 6060 Email: inquiryindia@cognizant.com © ­­ Copyright 2013, Cognizant. All rights reserved. No part of this document may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the express written permission from Cognizant. The information contained herein is subject to change without notice. All other trademarks mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners.