Fireside Chat: COVID-19’s Impact on Field Service

Learn about COVID and field service continuity using field service software to help with emergency management.

Now that colder temperatures have settled in for the time being, it’s time for another fireside chat. We’ll wait while you go and add extra marshmallows to your hot chocolate.

Learn about COVID and field service continuity using field service software to help with emergency management.

Sit back and enjoy the conversation as Marty Gowling, ProntoForms’ VP of Customer Success, discusses COVID-19’s impact on field service. Discover the role that digital transformation and mobile apps have had in ensuring business continuity.

Transforming field service with emergency response apps

What steps are companies including to facilitate safety, speed, or enhanced communication?

MARTY: The use cases we’ve seen that are specifically driven by the current crisis are mainly focused on getting people back to work. These are organizations that want to get people back into the building. To do this responsibly, they need to have assurance that their employees were COVID-free.

Going a bit deeper, the key driver for what many companies are looking for from ProntoForms is to satisfy their need for symptom tracking and COVID self-reporting. We’ve seen a trend towards

People and Culture and HR teams taking a more influential role in this process. Members of these departments have been at the forefront of change and have sought our help for a solution that will satisfy the requirements set by state, local, and legal teams.

Has there been a greater emphasis on digitized teamwork and collaboration given the need to reduce the time spent on-site or to minimize human-to-human contact?

MARTY: With ProntoForm’s mobile forms app, HR representatives or members of senior management aren’t required to be on hand as employees enter the building. Staff members can now easily take care of capturing the information necessary for symptom tracking and self-reporting.

Many state and local governments have put in place mandates during the pandemic related to COVID self-reporting and symptom tracking use cases. Since there are increased demands for these protocols, ProntoForms has demonstrated its usefulness in reducing human-to-human contact. It’s now human-to-tablet contact.

Our Teamwork feature reduces the amount of physical contact field techs are having with one another. Passing tasks off to other technicians and allowing supervisors and team leads to reassign work digitally eliminates the need for in-person or on-site presence. The job continues to completion if the need arises to swap out technicians midway through a task should anyone exhibit symptoms or need to take care of a family member with COVID.

Any recommendations for companies who are now playing catch up with their competitors when it comes to digital transformation?

MARTY: With our low-code application platform (LCAP), any organization can ramp up quickly. When looking to close the gap, it’s essential to find a highly agile solution that can be rapidly iterated and then put into the field for validation. ProntoForms has demonstrated expertise in this capacity.  

How have citizen developers helped to increase agility within service-driven organizations?

MARTY: Our core strength is how we enable citizen developers to take charge of operations and empower field service workers. Agility in this sense comes from being able to easily deploy a mobile form, check in with your field community, quickly iterate, and pivot on any changes.

Learn about COVID and field service continuity using field service software to help with emergency management.

How has making tools, training, and support available to citizen developers taken shape at ProntoForms?

MARTY: Over the past year, our company has focused on what we call ‘mastery’ as it relates to a customer’s journey using ProntoForms. Getting a customer onboarded and set up for success is our number one aim, then very soon after, we help them gain mastery of our platform.

Think about the failure of two-speed IT and the old process of buying a traditional piece of software. With this process, you’d ask IT to get the new technology in place and ensure that it’s secure and scalable for use in the business. That’s not what mastery is about. It’s about having access to artifacts that describe the platform, practices around using the platform, and a community to interact with other citizen developers looking to achieve this mastery using more of a self-serve channel.

ProntoForms’ role in your field service tech stack

How has ProntoForms helped its customers maintain business continuity during this crisis?

MARTY: ProntoForms is doing everything possible to assist our customers in ensuring safety is maintained. We’ve helped them identify any outliers in their company, namely employees who have a high temperature or aren’t feeling well. What we want to do is minimize what McKinsey calls ‘the knock-on effects’ of cycling through openings and closings over and over. The more often we can eliminate this issue, the better off everyone will be.

What does the future hold for field service?

What do you think the future holds given this new normal?

MARTY: Activity hasn’t stopped during the pandemic. Now more than ever, field service workers are vital to ensure our world keeps running.

ProntoForms is fortunate given so many of our staff are working from home. We don’t have the same exposure to risk during this pandemic as others do. If I look out the window from my home office, it’s mainly essential workers that I see outside. This group of hard hat wearing superheroes includes front line workers from electric and gas companies, plumbers, people working in construction, and those hired to perform home renovations.

Our company has always been driven to serve and support these essential workers. It’s our passion and our mission. I hope that more organizations will make moves to enable these valuable front-line workers to do their jobs safely and with minimal risk in the future.

It feels like it was just yesterday when we hosted our last fireside chat back in 2019. With the complete chaos that was 2020, it’s understandable that it feels like a lifetime ago. Despite all of the mayhem of this past year, we hope you had the opportunity to grab a few cozy moments of comfort and relaxation and remain healthy and safe.

Learn about COVID and field service continuity using field service software to help with emergency management.
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