WBR Insights recently published their annual Emerging Technologies in Field Service report. This special edition of their annual report is especially interesting to us as it explores the topics of digital transformation and edge computing in the service sector – key themes that drive our company’s mission.
Given the many roadblocks to conducting field service as usual in 2020, it’s no surprise many organizations turned to technology solutions to help weather the storm. Towards the remainder of 2021, projections show increased investment in new and more sophisticated ways to leverage technology.
The report, generated by responses from field service leaders from a variety of sectors, examines the maturity of technology adoption and use within their organizations including:
- Stages of technology adoption, maturity, and asset visibility
- Prioritization of the adoption of AI and field solutions for technicians
- Plans for the adoption of edge computing technology
Key takeaways from the 2021 Emerging Technologies in Field Service report
It feels next to impossible to select a few points from the 2021 Emerging Technologies in Field Service report since it is chock full of keen observations. We’ve tried our best to pull from this bounty of riches and offer our take on the key findings.
Digital technology continues its reign.
Technology adoption continues to be top of mind for an impressive number of field service leaders. Given the pivot towards increased investments in digital tools during the pandemic, it is evident new technology adoption will remain a focus for 2021.
Mobile apps are here to stay.
An increased number of companies are already seeing the benefits of mobile apps for field technicians or plan to adopt a solution in the coming year.
The extremely low percentage of businesses who have no plans to embrace mobile apps demonstrates how pervasive these solutions have become for field service.
LCAPs are well worth your consideration.
Many companies have already made headway with field service management tools, so the next area for them to explore is low-code application platforms. LCAPs can radically boost performance and transform business processes.
According to Gartner, “By 2024, three-quarters of large enterprises will be using at least four low-code development tools for both IT application development and citizen development initiatives.”
We predict that the small gap between those who have adopted an LCAP solution and those who haven’t or aren’t planning to right now will further shrink by the end of the year as demands increase for overworked IT departments.
Paper is an archaic tool of the past, but still found in the field.
With the majority of field techs submitting data using Microsoft Excel on a computer or tablet and an equal number using texting, email, or mobile voice, it’s clear that paper forms just don’t cut it anymore. We were quite surprised to see that 39% of those surveyed said their techs still submit data via paper forms.
There’s a better way.
Data deserves to be free-flowing. ProntoForms makes it easy for remote workers to collect data using their mobile devices, access company data in the field that can be used to populate forms offline or online, and automatically share the results with back-office systems, cloud services, and people.
Using a mobile solution to submit data collected in the field is far superior to using Microsoft Excel on a computer or tablet, or texting, email, or mobile voice.
Many of the issues we’ve seen field teams run into who use these tools are similar to what’s often encountered when they rely on paper forms. It’s easy to lose information due to it being illegible, misfiled or damaged. In addition, filling out and maintaining captured data is next to impossible. Lost time and money make a strong case for going digital.
A mobile solution like ProntoForms gives organizations the ability to introduce or enhance worker training and compliance, collaboration, technician enablement, reporting of field service data, and improve employee safety and health.
ProntoForms offers many features to empower field technicians.
Our mission has always been to listen to what field techs want and translate this into a solution to their problems. We’re excited to see the alignment between the responses above and what our product provides.
Here are a few of the features baked into our solution associated with what service leaders plan to invest in to maximize the success and reduce the pain points of field service workers.
Edge computing is the way forward.
We’re here to push the discussion of edge computing beyond the traditional concept and advocate for the idea that field teams are at the very edge of ‘edge computing.’
At ProntoForms, we aim to help companies automate the field, going from the edge into the core. With digitization speeding up the volume of data being collected, be it IoT, voice, AI, and other emerging trends, leaders are scrambling to keep up. It’s vital first to understand what’s genuinely happening in an organization and then use this data to make informed decisions and predictions based on what’s observed. Our solution makes it easier to interpret and then react to the volumes of information collected by service techs.
To gain deeper insight into what field service leaders had to say about digital transformation for the year ahead, we invite you to read the full report here. If you’d like to brainstorm on ways to increase innovation within your organization, we’re more than happy to share our thoughts to help you move towards greater success.