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3 ways ‘forgotten industries’ are being transformed with tablets

by Dave Yarnold

June 25 2013

Dave Yarnold is CEO of ServiceMax, a provider of field service management software


ServiceMax CEO Dave Yarnold equivocates your organization's mobile device strategy to guys in white vans

The mobile movement in the workplace -- from BYOD to the top-down implementation of tablets -- is creating amazing opportunities to change the way business is conducted. But what is the true promise of mobile? What real benefits is it bringing to the table, and how is it truly “revolutionizing” business?

To me, real innovation and the promise of mobile manifests itself when previously ignored and forgotten areas of business are empowered, entirely new sources of revenue opened, and excitement reigns where boredom and neglect used to dominate.

Let’s take field service - think millions of guys driving around in white vans fixing things - an inherently mobile industry that before mobile devices, were rather limited in the technology they could use in the field -- text messages, carbon copies and clunky clipboards.

Now with the nexus of mobile and cloud computing, field service organizations have been empowered by technology to improve their performance, and drive huge amounts of previously untapped revenues.  

Productivity

Think about the last time you had a technician come fix the TV in your house or the copy machine in your office. My guess is that they poked around, tried to troubleshoot, made a few calls and then scheduled a new time for them to come back with the parts needed to actually fix the problem at hand.

With tablets, technicians now have all the information and resources needed to troubleshoot and fix a problem while on the job. They can input notes right into the system, access customer history and legacy information about the products from the device, providing them insight and enabling them to work faster and more efficiently.

Imagine being able to Skype or chat an expert about a particular job - talk about knowledge share and real-time access to information. These may seem like obvious or inevitable changes, but they are revolutionizing the field service industry and these changes are all coming to fruition because of mobile devices like tablets.

Customer Delight

Imagine if you're a customer, and your technician knows all about you and your history with the equipment, they competently diagnose the problem, and magically, they have the right part in their van to fix your issue. From increased first-time fix rates to receiving the highest quality service from an expert, customers are also benefiting from technicians having tablets and mobile devices in the field.

And, they're impressing their customers, leading to higher NPS scores, and opportunities to sell that happy customer more products and services. No longer will customers wait weeks or months for an appliance to be fixed; no longer will they not have the most up-to-date equipment or run out of warranty; and no longer will they wait to receive a bill in the mail.  

Revenue Boost

And what do these two things add up to? A huge revenue boost. Thanks to tablets and mobile devices, technicians can send customers an invoice before the technician leaves the parking lot, which is not only good for the customer but also makes sure companies are paid correctly and in a timely manner.

Additionally, the better the in-person service, the happier the customer which leads to loyalty and continuous business and even referrals and new business. And lastly, from tracking parts to tracking technicians, businesses can better allocate their time and resources to ultimately save money.

In field service, this transformation is huge. But, field service is just one example of a forgotten industry given a new life thanks to the nexus of the cloud and mobile. Beyond field service, having access to resources via the cloud on tablets not only enables workers to get work done anywhere, but streamlines communication and helps businesses across industries reach the level of success they are looking for. It completely levels the playing field competitively.

Anyone can deploy and use mobile devices and cloud computing, regardless of company size. The promise of mobile can help industries and companies realize and truly leverage their full potential, just like it has for the guys in the white vans.

Dave Yarnold is CEO of ServiceMax, a provider of field service management software

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