What is Operational Intelligence?
Data is powerful. Field service data provides access to enormous amounts of insight, but often organisations are swamped in big data and don’t know where to start. Information that is served to users at crucial times is beginning to change the way businesses operate and is greatly improving a manager’s ability to make informed decisions.
Operational Intelligence takes data collected by and about teams in the field, and when combined with information from other data sources and technologies like predictive analytics and machine learning gives an unprecedented view of what’s happening in the field, often in real time.
Data is presented in a series of interactive, personalised dashboards showing the current status of the KPIs that are important in field service. When information is delivered in this format, managers can take immediate action and stay in control (often of the uncontrollable) to ensure higher rates of customer satisfaction, worker productivity and efficient allocation of resources.
Operational Intelligence not only delivers short-term benefits. Users can look at many aspects of the field operation, over any timescale, to uncover deeper insights into operational and employee performance. It’s these insights that drive transformational change, a clearer direction and significant cost savings.
What value does Operational Intelligence provide?
Most organisations are capturing a broad range of data from various sources – workload planning, resource availability, schedule efficiency, customer satisfaction levels, etc. – and most have initiatives in place to increase the type of data recorded, using IOT for example. Despite the effort organisations place on data capture, often the data isn’t delivered in a format that supports decision making. Frequently decisions are made based on out of date or expired information.
Operational Intelligence has the ability to support business leaders by providing a detailed picture of what’s happening right now, and what action should be taken to ensure positive outcomes.
Technologies such as predictive analytics and machine learning are fuelling the power of analytics further. These advances in analytical capability are able to identify underlying patterns (good and bad) of performance in the operation, that were simply too complex for traditional applications to spot.
Combining this deep understanding of long-term performance, with the ability to highlight exceptions or occurrences in real-time, Operational Intelligence applications are capable of providing clear direction on the correct course of action.
Operational Intelligence provides organisations with the ability to:
- See all of the key field service KPIs in one place in real time
- Understand how teams are performing at a glance and receive alerts when attention is needed. No more “management in the rear-view mirror”
- Gain a granular level understanding of performance related occurrences. Diagnostic indicators present the most relevant data, which can be mined further to uncover the root cause
- Align teams around a common view of performance and collaborate more effectively
- Review historical service data such as tasks completed, average time of visit, miles travelled per day, customer satisfaction etc. which can explain deviances in the plan
- Access comprehensive employee analytics to evaluate the performance of regions, teams or individual employees over time
- Improve performance long term as well as gaining “in day” insight. Not just uncovering and correcting undesirable patterns of performance but also the ability to spot something brilliant and replicate on a larger scale
What helps deliver great Operational Intelligence?
When implementing new business strategies, it’s important to have clear goals. The biggest challenges in improving effectiveness, is being able to define and measure it. Most field service organisations strive to deliver exceptional service, maximum productivity and a fully engaged workforce. Analytics are essential in ensuring businesses are headed in the right direction.
Brilliant basics and moments of magic
For some years now, the prevailing wisdom has been that in order to stand out from the competition, businesses of all types must focus on their customers’ experiences. The field service industry has traditionally been more focused on keeping costs down, but research now shows that field service companies are putting the customer first. The starting point is being able to measure how customers have experienced the service provided, in order to analyse what is working and what isn’t, and make improvements. For example using Net Promoter Scores or customer surveys.
Simple insights which drive powerful results
Customers are used to the speed of delivery and quality of service that they get from consumer companies such as Amazon. Against this backdrop is the growing need for the service department to both reduce costs and contribute to revenues. Uncertain economic conditions have led many companies to strive to be more efficient and field service departments are facing significant pressure to cut costs and “do more with less.” But to improve the plan for tomorrow, managers will need to study how efficiently the plan worked today. Detailed data on the field enables managers to act. It is the combination of many small changes, and the continual feedback loop of measurement, analysis and change that will gradually and incrementally improve productivity.
Trust, integrity and two way communication
Field service is not just about IT and processes, nor is it just about parts and engineering. It is about people. Studies have linked employee engagement to improved productivity, customer satisfaction, growth and profitability. But true engagement must be a win-win for both the employees and their employers. It can’t be imposed from above. It’s about creating a cultural shift in the way organisations behave. Detailed performance data allows users to understand how best to manage, motivate, incentivise and develop their people so that they feel engaged.