Choosing a comprehensive field service solution

Did you know that 80% of printing by companies is related to transactions? This means invoices, purchase orders, delivery slips and payment confirmations. And yet most of these materials are originally created electronically.  What a waste of time and money for companies to end up printing them!

What if you had a tool to skip many of the time-consuming steps in your transactional process?

If a good portion of your workforce is in the field, it’s in your best interest to start putting a mobile solution in place. The Aberdeen Group recently found that 82% of organizations providing service in the field identified optimizing their mobility as a key factor in their strategy for the year ahead.

Nonetheless, it’s not enough just to choose a mobile device that makes it easier for your employees to do their work.   A number of other criteria affecting the whole organization need to be considered.

Because, in the end, what you really need is to optimize all of the steps in your transactional process and not only those in the field.

A transactional process consists of several crucial steps apart from gathering information in the field, and it is important to make sure they are automated.  Every day, owing to errors along the payment chain, companies are unable to collect money from their customers.

The selected technology must not only consist of a fleet of mobile devices, but it must be an all‑in-one solution, allowing for automation of the entire transactional process.

So there are four things you need to think about before choosing a field service tool.

Using the full potential of digital technology

The Aberdeen Group also found that less than 36% of companies can add visual or interactive content to the information they collect in the field. These companies clearly have mobile devices but don’t use the full potential of digital options. It’s good to get rid of paper. But it’s even better to take the opportunity to enhance the communications sent! So, for example, if a parcel gets damaged during delivery, the delivery person could take a picture of the damage and directly add information to the customer’s file!

Ensuring security

Security is critically important these days. And when it involves the mobility of information, guaranteeing the availability, integrity and confidentiality of documents is even more critical. For example, it’s essential to properly manage your users. Your employees should only see and modify information that is in the scope of their job. Moreover, it’s important to be able to save documents securely for as long as they are needed on the central server, and at the same time have the option of configuring the desired storage time on the mobile device itself. Lastly, you should be able to encrypt communications between field and office.

Automating processes

As I mentioned earlier, it’s important to have an overall vision of your field technology needs. While you’re revolutionizing your employees’ field work, it makes sense to take the opportunity to improve all of the steps in the payment chain. Aberdeen notes that 62% of businesses would like to enhance field-office information sharing. That’s where I see the true added value of a technology to manage operations in the field.

Once the information has been gathered, it needs to be forwarded using the proper steps. Documents may get lost or damaged during a number of steps (by the delivery person, the customer service department or even during the scanning process). In general, 5% of a company’s invoices have to be created again.

A number of errors are association with working on paper. The more time that passes between two steps (e.g. completing a document and scanning it), the more inefficient the process. It’s important to minimize this time and reduce inactivity between steps to speed up the process. This can be achieved by automating the tasks.

Thus, the information-gathering step must be automated but should not be the only step that is optimized.

Imagine being able to automatically send a delivery confirmation and invoice to the customer by email right after delivery, and at the same time forwarding a copy to the customer service department and updating the information in the CRM.

Systems integration

Since the transactional process relies on data from several sources, the all-in-one solution needs to act like the maestro for all of the systems to work smoothly together. Linking data from an ERP or CRM system, or even the accounting department, to the data gathered in the field, helps to provide better service to customers and guarantees greater productivity among all your employees (and not just those in the field).

So you have much more to gain than with an entry-level solution, which would only apply to your data collection needs in the field, and would not be a comprehensive solution to improve all of the steps in your business processes!

Do you think such a perfect tool is hard to find? Or that it’s just available to large companies? Put your mind at ease and come take a look at our product, Capture OnTheGo.