The tech world never stands still. But it's how firms deal with this fast-moving environment that sets the best-performing companies apart from the also-rans.
With new developments - such as ultrafast 5G connectivity and advanced artificial intelligence tools - that are set to change the way we use technology as we start a new decade, companies will have no choice but to overhaul their current solutions or risk being left behind, no matter what sector they operate in.
One of the biggest areas to be affected by these changes will undoubtedly be mobile tools, and in particular those deployed by field service technicians. New developments can offer these personnel greater visibility than ever and enable them to be more productive, deliver a higher level of service to customers, and ultimately improve the overall profitability of their business.
But none of this can be achieved unless firms are prepared to embrace change, integrate innovative technology into their operations, and take the necessary steps to ensure all their technicians are fully trained in how to use it effectively.
Reacting to Disruption
We now live in an always-on, mobile-first environment that has transformed how people think about connectivity. Disruptive companies ranging from Uber and Amazon to Deliveroo have raised consumers' expectations about the level of service they receive and how quickly they should expect results.
While these innovative firms are shaking up areas such as retail and logistics, the mindset they have created will also have a major impact on any business using field service technicians, as on-demand economy stretches to any business that will need to dispatch engineers to other mobile workers to serve its customers.
One of the key challenges for these firms will be meeting the extremely high demands of today's customers. They will not only expect it to be easy to make an appointment and to contact their engineer directly, but they will also have little tolerance for delays or changes to their schedule.
For starters, they will not accept having to wait for their engineer all day, but instead be given a specific time at which they will expect a knowledgeable engineer to arrive with all the tools and parts necessary to fix a problem in one visit. Engineers that have to return time after time are likely to leave a poor impression.
A Smarter Service to Boost Profitability
In order to cope with these demands, it is essential that businesses are prepared to embrace change and look for innovative new strategies for equipping and managing their field workers, and at the heart of this needs to be the technology solutions firms use.
For instance, it will be important for field technicians to have instant access to company data wherever they are and whenever they need it. This can be a challenge in some locations that are poorly served by mobile connectivity, which is why technology such as offline access and session persistence will be fundamental to any field agent's productivity.
Such solutions are no longer just 'nice to have' options that can offer a productivity boost or make the engineer's working day a bit smoother. In today's environment, they are necessary if businesses are to survive and thrive in a digitally-focused ecosystem.
The use of these tools therefore has a direct affect on a firm's profitability. Not only will companies who fail to move with the times find their field engineers are less productive than competitors, but unhappy customers are likely to take their business elsewhere, to organisations that are more digitally-savvy.
These customers may not be directly aware of the behind-the-scenes technology that goes into creating an efficient, user-friendly service, but they will certainly notice the results if these tools aren't in place, and this will be reflected directly in a firm's bottom line.