By Ismael Chivite, sr. product manager, Esri, www.esri.com
Fully utilizing location data improves various field service functions.
Location is at the heart of field activities. It sounds like an obvious statement, but field service management systems often either completely overlook location or marginally take advantage of it.
The most-effective way to realize the power of location is through a geographic information system (GIS), a technology designed to capture, manage, analyze, and display all forms of geographically referenced information. Among the many functions it does well, a GIS supports the key processes that comprise field operations: planning, coordination, navigation, data collection, and monitoring.
Planning: Using the analytical capabilities of GIS, organizations can determine and, in some cases, even predict where work needs to be done. This is essential to effectively planning and managing your resources, and it can result in improved customer service.
Think of GIS like a powerful map calculator, able to extract the geographic aspect of all sorts of data in your business to help you make smart decisions. GIS can leverage network analysis to optimally generate field service routes based on real-time traffic conditions, delivery schedules, and driver characteristics. Geostatistics and raster analysis are two of the most common spatially focused methods used for suitability modeling, helping define areas that meet certain requirements: for example, where maintenance work should be prioritized, where service calls are expected, or where infrastructure exceeds a certain age.