Smarter Working through Proven Platforms | Field Service Management

Nick Shipton, Sales Director at Advanced discusses the merits of exploring proven technology to deliver workforce efficiency in the public sector.

There has been a rise in the exploration and use of emerging technology to bring together organisations and communities in order to offer better services and facilities, to work smarter and more efficiently and continue to offer a level of service to the customer despite the ever-growing demand and budgets constraints. And rightly so, it’s only through looking at the practical use of these emerging technologies do we push the boundaries and test the abilities of what can be achieved.

However, what we shouldn’t forget is the proven platforms that are available and although now not viewed as being cutting edge are continually being improved upon and in some cases need to be looked at in more details to ensure that their full capabilities are being utilised across organisations.

Advanced through the acquisition of Kirona Solutions have added such technology into their portfolio and it is with the Workforce Management solutions that I believe are being underutilised within local and central government to enable a smarter solution.

The core to these platforms is the scheduling and mobile elements that enable an organisation to efficiently deploy their resources across the wide variety of tasks, visits, jobs and services that they undertake. Historically solutions have been deployed in a discrete manner with departments looking for a solution to fit a specific need, this ends up with the inability to rise above the detail and look where efficiencies could be made by looking at solutions that could add value across departments and services. This shouldn’t just be limited to thinking about how resources could be better utilised but it opens up the ability for customer-facing digital platforms to be integrated so people can gain access to and updates on services through a variety of channels.

For this to work on an enterprise-level the scheduling and mobile solutions need to have the flexibility for you to configure them to suit the differing needs of a service, as some services may need the ability to offer truly optimised appointments (beware there is a huge difference between choosing an available resource and an optimised available resource) whereas others need the ability to optimise a batch of visits. Not all ‘scheduling’ solutions offer this flexibility and therefore can only fulfil a smaller part of any organisations need.

Mobile workforce technology and applications have of course been around for decades so the use of them isn’t these days seen to be cutting edge. However, the functionality they offer should and is always evolving as applications utilise new technology from both the hardware and operating systems providers. Alongside this mobile has always be seen as an extension of the back office system, allowing field-based users to visualise the tasks in hand with the relevant information from the back office and allow them to update and send back. This is of course very useful but not be the limit of what you now expect.

At Advanced we are not only looking for the mobile to be an extension of the back office, but for the mobile user to be more empowered to carry out further tasks based on outcomes, or with smart workflow trigger other tasks in other departments or their own which ensures that the customer gets a complete service irrespective of the complex nature of their requirements. Added to this the ability for field-based staff to report incidents from the field (again irrespective of their own role) to ensure that any tasks are dealt with quickly and efficiently and sometimes without the need of a customer to report anything.

There are of course many other points to consider when looking at this operationally, most organisations will have a number of different back-office solutions, so integration is often key. My view is that a best of breed solution is best as most back offices will have limitations with their own scheduling or mobile platforms, as this offer the most flexible solution that can grow with the organisation as needs change.

Overall however there is a need to work smarter but let’s start leveraging our proven platforms alongside the new cutting edge technology.

Join us at PSEICT 2019

Meet the Advanced team at the Public Sector Enterprise ICT conference on 26th November where we will demonstrating our leading dynamic resource scheduling software and mobile workforce application that are enabling public sector organisations to increase productivity by an average of 20%, reduce costs and improve service.