Field service operations is the backbone of all facilities-based communications service providers (CSPs). The effort to streamline this function has been constant since the first networks, more than a century ago. Over time, service providers found efficiencies through wireless communications. First, through the early two-way radio dispatch systems in the late 1940s; then, the first data dispatch computers of the 1970s. Mobile data handsets in the 1990s were followed by today’s high-speed, high-definition tablets. Through the software in them, and processes behind them, both have improved how quickly technicians respond, and how well-prepared they are when they arrive on the job site. CSPs must keep with tradition and endeavor to take field service operations to the next level, for three important reasons.
First, next to price, customer service is the key differentiator in what is now a highly competitive market. Well executed field operations result in good customer service. Second, new tools can now help to take customer service, tied to the technician install or repair processes, to the next level: analytics, automation algorithms, location technology, and integrated support systems, to name a few. Third, a well-oiled field service organization can positively impact the bottom line, from two directions: dramatically reducing operational expenses; and accessing new revenue streams from the hyper-connected world of the Internet of Things (IoT), smart homes and general interconnectedness. It is Stratecast’s contention that if CSPs take the necessary steps to automate, analyze, streamline and optimize their field service operations today, they will not only realize the cost benefits inherent in such efforts—they will also create new revenue opportunities. The new revenue would come from enabling technicians to upsell, and from CSPs positioning themselves to lead what Stratecast views as an emerging opportunity. The opportunity comes in supporting a growing range of connected devices and related services beyond their traditional communications purview, such as networked appliances or environmental sensors.