News Feature | June 6, 2014

The Way Field Service Companies Use Data Can Make Or Break A Business

By Cheryl Knight, contributing writer

Field Service Planning

In today’s environment, the way field service companies use their data is just as important as accessing it in the first place. Regardless of the amount of information available to a company, the ability to use that data to help improve operations is crucial. A recent Trimble report titled Transforming Service Delivery: An Insight Report — 2014 investigates the most critical issues affecting field service organizations and offers insights into how to transform operations.

The following four areas reveal where field service data can make or break a business, areas that VARs can directly impact with critical solutions.

1. Ineffective Use Of Data

Almost a third of companies feel that they are ineffective in the way they use the data they collect to make business decisions. They blame this failure, in part, to the methods used to merge or organize this data. Subsequently, most of the data remains unused in an application or database.

2. Social Media Use

With the rise of social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, companies have at their fingertips a virtual treasure trove of unstructured data. Unfortunately, more than 80 percent of companies don’t even think to use this data in their decision making.

3. Use Of Outdated Methods

The most telling factor about a company’s ability to collect and use data lies in the revelation of the antiquated processes used. In fact, 1 in 10 field service managers still use paperwork to collect data. Moving these companies to the digital age can dramatically and positively affect operations.

4. Inadequate Access To Field Service Data

A final telling figure is the fact that four out of five in the field service field feel they don’t get the information they need from field service data to help them perform their job. The biggest challenge facing those in the field service industry is being able to use the data available to them more effectively. Rosco Patterson, chief executive at Verologik, LP, told Trimble, “Where the next big breakthrough will be going in, drawing out the meaning and inferences — data only becomes information when you do something with it.”

With data becoming increasingly more unwieldy to handle, eventually most companies can expect to be run by computers at some point in the future, according to Paterson. He further went on to say, “Those people who start the journey now towards that point will be in a very different competitive position to those who say it will never happen.”