Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Value of Taking an Independent Approach to Mobile Field Service

When businesses choose to deploy “best-of-breed” systems for specific functions - such as enterprise asset management - they may be sacrificing benefits just for the promise of an incremental advantage in software capability. Most organizations manage their core business data with ERP systems that provide broad-ranging support for functions such as:

  • Financial accounting
  • Sales
  • Procurement
  • Supply chain planning
The Question
The same ERP systems are leveraged to support asset management and field service. Why? The theory is that ONE system is better than multiple – integration complexity is reduced and you can deploy a “one throat to choke” approach to hold vendors accountable.

Does that approach really provide the VALUE needed? Performance and expertise matter. The incremental gains available to organizations can be significant, when dedicated systems offer full-lifecycle support for mission-critical work processes and a unique understanding of the use cases that drive this part of the business.

The Cost
The same logic holds for enterprise mobility solutions and mobile field service applications. While it’s true that back-office systems (ERP and EAM) offer support for mobile devices, this “integrated” approach often comes at a cost.

A mobile worker’s primary job function is to complete their tasks on time and on budget and according to quality criteria established by their organization. The nature of these tasks – and the specific sequencing of data retrieval and collection – can be quite different than the process of entering data into the backend systems of record. Plus, the data necessary to support a field service technician may reside in multiple systems. For example,

  • Asset information may reside in an EAM system
  • Timekeeping data may be stored in the HR module of the ERP system
Service teams rely on technical data tracked by custom applications that are specific to their business.
The Results
How does a mobile application from your ERP or EAM vendor address this challenge? The answer is not very effectively. Their mobile architectures are necessarily biased towards connecting to the single system of record that they represent.
The Answer
If your organization is considering mobile applications for field service and related work management processes, carefully weigh the pros and cons of each approach. The allure of the “single system” path with ERP/EAM is undeniable. But consider the comprehensive nature of the information that your field workers manage. Consider the benefits of an independent mobile field service solution that can interface closely with backend systems and provide a dedicated experience tailored to the unique needs of the mobile worker.

To learn more, read about how @hand customers are empowering field service teams with independent mobile solutions that improve their day-to-day operations and drive competitive advantage in their markets.

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