From The Editor | November 28, 2017

Keep Calm And Field Service On

Sarah Nicastro

By Sarah Nicastro, publisher/editor in chief, Field Technologies
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There is a vast amount of both transformation and innovation taking place in field service. Is that exciting and invigorating? Yes. Is it also incredibly overwhelming for many organizations? Yes. Take a deep breath. This issue is intended to accomplish a few goals:

  • Provide you with an overview of some key analysts’ predictions and insight
  • Show you how your field service initiatives, challenges, and technology use stack up amongst your peers
  • Give you some practical advice and food for thought on how to advance and modernize your field service organization in 2018

The insight shared in this issue is a combination of interviews with some of the best field service analysts, the results of a survey of our readership on their strategic initiatives and technology use (with 219 participants), and anecdotal insight from some leading field service organizations on how they are approaching field service modernization themselves.

With all that’s going on in the industry, it can be hard to know where to start. It can be frustrating to find ways to innovate while still keeping day-to-day operations running smoothly. Determining what steps you need to take to modernize, and in what order, can be overwhelming. As you read through the valuable material in this issue, here are a few tips to keep you from getting information overload.

Start With The Basics
It’s easy to get caught up in the latest buzz — augmented reality this, artificial intelligence that — and for some advanced organizations that is their starting point to further innovation. But start with the basics. Do you have appropriate field service KPIs in place so that everyone in your company is working toward the same goals? Are your field service operation’s workflows and processes optimized? Have you mastered the use of mobile devices and field service software? Before you get into the internet of things (IoT), augmented reality (AR), artificial intelligence (AI), or anything else that everyone is talking about, you need to have the basics under your belt. A clear understanding of your objectives, clean processes, and the elimination of manual methods is the starting point for any field service organization.

Learn From Your Peers
You can’t copy what any one company is doing, because each company is different. But there is a lot to be learned from understanding how your peers are tackling some of the same problems you have (hence the idea of this issue). Read case studies, ask vendor partners for referrals, reach out to others in your industry to talk with them. You won’t be able to follow anyone else’s blueprint, but you can get some really great ideas by looking outside your own organization.

Find Your Own Way
While you want to learn from others, ultimately you have to create your own path forward. The keys to doing so successfully are to focus on your business challenges and what will solve them — versus what’s cool, what other companies are doing, or any other criteria. Define your strategic objectives and prioritize them in order of what will create the biggest impact — then start there. Beginning with a project that will bring quicker business value will allow you to snowball momentum as you move through those strategic objectives. There will always be that balance of looking forward without letting yourself become overwhelmed by too much, but tackling the next biggest opportunity in front of you is a surefire way to keep making progress.