Bringing Smart Technology to IT Field Support Services
The workplace has changed requiring new innovations that redefine how IT Field Support Services is delivered.
Sometimes, things go wrong. It’s not always avoidable, but the way and speed in which we respond can determine the outcome. With IT Field Support Services, it’s essential that organizations employ fast, responsive solutions that can be deployed wherever needed.
The traditional hardware break/fix model is becoming increasingly difficult due to a variety of factors that have converged to create a whole new dynamic.
Hardly a day goes by that an IT manager doesn’t experience how COVID has changed the way business is done, including the delivery of IT hardware maintenance to a distributed employee base spread over a wide geography. And these workers now expect an Amazon experience for everything – a world of instant gratification based on an “I want it now” mindset. It’s also changed the way retailers are supporting their customers, which includes more online ordering, curbside pickup and virtual shopping.
The technical workforce is changing too. Existing skilled and knowledgeable technicians are aging and close to retirement. Newer technicians are often less career motivated and likely to job shop more frequently. And many, both young and old are subscribing to the flexible Uber-like model of employment, striving for a more enriched work-life balance.
These challenges are driving companies to look for ways to leverage predictive and preemptive analytics and remediation to solve problems. Intelligent field services allow organizations to act quickly to meet employee needs. Likewise, as technology and lifestyles change, innovations have emerged that provide the Right person, with the Right skills, and the Right part – On time.
Intelligent Scheduling & Dispatch
To optimize technical resources, it’s important to take a logistics approach – not only for parts logistics, but also human logistics and information logistics. A well-designed workforce management system with an analytics engine running in the background continually optimizes schedules based on pre-defined criteria to figure out which field technician is the best one to run a call and ultimately drive efficiency.
This also improves the end user experience by delivering the service on time with the right parts so there’s minimal revisits, and customer satisfaction is maintained at a high level as well.
Pre-defined criteria at minimum includes information about each technician that identifies their entire breadth of skills, completed training and associated certifications. But it doesn’t stop there. It’s also about the parts. These systems provide complete visibility real-time to what inventory and parts every technician has access to, either in their vans or in local storage hubs that they can visit to pick up whatever they need on their way to fix a problem.
This can’t happen through a single point in time snapshot either. The system is continually adjusting throughout the day, and integration with an ITSM tracking system allows complete visibility for management of support tickets if necessary.
It’s no secret that the pandemic drastically changed the workplace especially where people work. The rapid increase of people working from home left a lot of organizations unprepared. Pre-COVID, most employees would be in an office and when they needed support it didn’t matter to them when exactly and where the technician was.
Now home users want to know when someone’s coming to the house, and not only do they want to know when that technician is going to be there, they also want to know what that technician looks like to make sure that who shows up at their door is actually the technician that was supposed to arrive. Providing users with a mobile app synced with the dispatch system provides that level of transparency.
Mobile apps for the technicians can significantly simplify their job too. Using augmented reality technologies, remote senior technicians can now help those onsite as though they were there themselves – many times helping multiple people at the same time. The onsite technician’s mobile phone becomes the interface that allows the remote expert to view the broken hardware and, as an example, allows them to highlight which parts to remove or which screw to turn by circling it on the screen. In essence they are virtually standing over the shoulder of the onsite technician and walking them through the repair.
Even without virtual help, mobile apps can provide onsite technicians with the knowledge they need at their fingertips to fix an issue that can take the form of interactive videos or 3D graphical models of the broken equipment with related repair steps. And of course, written manuals and step-by-step procedures can be accessed through a detailed mobile knowledgebase.
Essential Lifecycle Management
Automated parts management is the most efficient way to ensure technicians have everything they need to repair hardware issues and to contain costs. These tools provide continual demand planning and fluctuate as necessary based on usage, historical trends and peak seasons. They’re basically a learning system that fluctuates to meet minimum replenishment requirements and manages any excess inventory.
So say demand for parts drops in a certain geography, for example if some hardware was upgraded in offices on the West Coast of the U.S. Inventory can be pulled back and redistributed to East Coast offices that still have the older hardware to keep costs down.
Accurate inventory management also supports advanced exchange programs where work-from-home employees can send in defective devices, and hot spares can be shipped to them overnight so they can get back up and running right away eliminating the need for a technician to even come to their house in the first place.
Pomeroy – Leading Innovation
In these challenging times, new strategies are needed to keep the business running. Pomeroy is an industry leader in IT Field Support Services and as things change, Pomeroy moves with them. Our solutions are built on innovation that delivers an exceptional user experience and helps drive efficiencies.
If you think your organization could benefit from a support model that provides the Right person, with the Right skills, and the Right part – On time, then contact us today to schedule a meeting.
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