Thanks to more diverse and complete data sets, field service organizations are able to drive increased business value by understanding where they can improve performance and boost efficiency. Every year the amount of data increases by 56 percent, and the number of sources of data has grown to include more information from internal and external sources such as social media, Twitter feeds and blogs, according to a 2013 Aberdeen report. Best-in-class organizations reported they improved their business decisions by 31 percent as a result of more data in more formats from more sources, according to the report.

3 Steps for Leveraging Big Data

Sarah Nicastro from Field Technologies Online writes that the amount of data coming into organizations can be overwhelming. “If you can determine how to process that data in a way that makes it consumable, you can leverage it to make more informed business decisions,” she says.

Nicastro suggests that organizations leverage big data in these three ways:

  • Pinpoint where data is coming from, i.e. mobile solutions, M2M, remote monitoring, etc.
  • Identify who could benefit from the data. “For instance, the service department needs the notes techs take on a job site to complete a service call record, but could the sales department also use that information to determine upsell opportunities?” writes Nicastro, “Look for opportunities for information sharing across groups to get the most of the data you’re obtaining.”
  • Determine the best way to process and analyze that data in the form of custom reports.

Use Data to Improve Business Performance

It’s clear that big data can improve business performance and customer satisfaction drastically, so let’s take a look at several types of data and how organizations can best use those insights.

Duration of site visits: With real-time data from field techs, managers can better allocate the proper amount of time for each job, and therefore predict more accurate arrival times for the field techs, improving customer service.

Service by location: If business has slowed down in a particular town, managers can look at the data to determine the cause and the reaction that you should take. Michael Runshe writes on Euclides Technologies, “You can isolate what job types are dropping and look at competitors in the area to determine if you are losing business to another company.”

Site visit demand: Based on the number of calls that the organization receives, the organization can improve efficiency and productivity by hiring more people where they would deliver the highest business proposition, whether more dispatchers or field techs with specialized skills are needed.

Customer feedback: Organizations always want to outperform their competitors and be recognized as the industry expert, so comparing your customer feedback to the industry average can help determine areas of improvement, Runshe suggests.

Sales performance: By monitoring the ebbs and flows of sales and revenue, organizations can better predict their financials. In fact, 27 percent of best-in-class organizations are using big data and predictive analytics for marketing effectiveness and better sales forecasting, according to an Aberdeen research brief.

With the emergence of new mobile and cloud technology solutions, organizations are able to collect and analyze this type of data in real time.

In the words of John Cameron, general manager of Trimble Field Service Management: “Technology has the power to place the right information in the right hands to ensure the right decisions are made which will ultimately foster a high-performance culture that guarantees short- and long-term business success.”