Uncategorized

The top 3 trends impacting field workforce management in 2017

Share this post:

Managing a workforce in the field is no easy task, but advances in technology are continuing to bring the discipline of field workforce management into the connected, mobile era. The ability to optimally plan and dispatch field workers to geographic locations in a timely manner is a core mission for many businesses. Getting this right, delivering on your company’s service commitment to customers, involves aspects of demand management, scheduling, dispatching and mobility.

As we look to 2017, here are the top three technology trends that are driving innovation in field workforce management.

New data sources from the Internet of Things

In the age of IoT, everything is connected and everything generates data – from assets, to vehicles, to employees themselves (think about wearables and smart phones). Connected devices and sensors are allowing an increasing number of service work to be conducted remotely; according to Aberdeen’s Evolution of Smart Service Report, last year a third of all work was completed remotely with an increase of 10% expected in 2016. And that is just one way companies are beginning to use this explosion IoT data to make smarter decisions about work planning, completion and scheduling.

The ability to analyze real-time traffic and weather data alongside device and asset data, for example, is already changing how businesses manage their field workforce for the better. Weather may seem like an uncontrolled variable in most situations, but businesses that incorporate real-time weather data into their planning and scheduling can minimize missed service commitments. The ability to set — in advance — weather conditions under which work will not take place, helps keep workers safer. And smarter dispatching systems are beginning to tap into real-time traffic and location data to make sure the most qualified worker gets to the right place at the right time. The ability to use weather, traffic and IoT data to rearrange worker schedules and daily priorities on the fly will increase the efficiency of any mobile workforce.

Watch this webinar to learn more about how IoT, traffic and real-time weather data are coming together to enable smarter scheduling.

Mobility matters at every stage

Businesses in 2017 without mobile-first strategy are already being left behind.

On the technician-side, your work management software needs to be able to push work orders to technicians on their mobile devices in the field. Field service technicians, in turn, must be able to provide real-time status updates back to dispatchers and back-office employees.

But mobility in field workforce management means more than just managing your workers’ schedules and priorities using iPads. It also means communicating with customers in a mobile-first fashion, as well — sending real-time alerts to customers on their mobile devices that give them the ability to cancel or reschedule appointments as needed.

Automation through smarter asset management and analytics

Intelligent enterprise asset management (EAM) software that talks your workforce management platform will be key to reducing equipment downtime and ensuring that maintenance workers are scheduled in the most efficient way possible. Today most equipment maintenance takes place at manufacturer-recommended timed intervals. But technology is enabling better maintenance practices. IoT sensors and connected devices are constantly feeding asset data into EAM platforms, so that a more complete and accurate picture begins to emerge of actual equipment / asset condition.

This deluge of asset data is not as important as the analytics used to make sense of it. Predictive analytics can constantly examine various aspects of equipment performance (temperature, age, vibration, etc.) and automatically fire off a work order if it looks like equipment might be failing. The ability to automatically kick off a service call will allow businesses to begin offering their customers a proactive level of service, while helping them avoid equipment downtime — all thanks to EAM and predictive analytics.

Want to learn more about Watson IoT for Asset Management? Watch videos, read white papers and check out demos at our website.

More stories

The 3 Ps of customer engagements: getting started with IoT

Written by Mark Swinson | March 7, 2019 | Business, Platform

When you’re ready to make the most of your data through an IoT Platform, you have options on how to get started. This article will help you determine if you need a Proof of Concept (PoC), a pilot or a full production instance of the IoT Platform. Since forming the Watson IoT business unit in ...read more


What Reinventors Know. Part 4: The importance of culture

Written by Cristene Gonzalez-Wertz | March 16, 2018 | Business

If you’ve been keeping up with the earlier parts of this series, you’ll know that Reinventors are agile and future-focused. Reinventors build emerging technologies into their business strategy to help achieve future strategic goals. They prepare for a future of increased intelligence and automation. They understand intrinsically that platforms are the key to better data ...read more


What Reinventors Know. Part 3: the importance of platform

Written by Cristene Gonzalez-Wertz and | March 15, 2018 | Business

Welcome to part three of ‘What Reinventors Know’ – bringing you insights from the trail-blazing C-suite executives who are digitally reinventing their enterprises. In parts one and two, we discussed the importance of AI and working with the right partners. Today, we’ll look at how a robust, scalable IoT platform can set your enterprise up ...read more