All companies, whether start-ups or global corporations, are just dying for an excuse to increase their contact with their customers. The business logic is that the more contact – meaning positive contact – they have with their clients then the more opportunities are generated.
The best type of contact to have with a client is having a company rep on the client’s site. And no, we don’t mean a sales rep. The one person a firm will want onsite is a top class field engineer. These guys are worth their weight in gold. Not only are they a fixer and problem solver, these technical geniuses can generate that warm fuzzy feeling customers love, and add layers upon layers of value to the relationship. C’mon, let’s be honest about it, a good field engineer is worth 100 cold callers to any service provider.
The Field Engineer is a staple of modern industrial life, not just in Tech but in all sorts of industries. But no matter how skilled or knowledgeable a field worker is, he’s only as good as his support systems.
The cloud is revolutionising these field support systems and consequently generating huge demand for the software solutions driving them: According to Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Field Service Managment 2013, the market for these solutions had a robust compound annual growth rate of 12.7% this year.
Irish Field Service Management Providers
There’s a group of new cloud companies in Ireland that are delivering radically advanced services to field workers locally and globally.
Two of these companies are Irish and they market their own cloud-based Field Service Management (FSM) solutions that can be deployed on a range of devices including mobile ones. They are called FieldAware and GeoPal Solutions. Founded as recently as 2009 by Ray Cunningham and Andronikos Nedos, FieldAware offers customers a made-for-mobile cloud-based solution, focusing on field service organisations across the globe.
GeoPal Solutions are newer to the scene at only 2 years old and in that short time were shortlisted in the Emerging Company of the Year Category at the Irish Software Association Industry Awards last month. Check out this video clip to get a quick overview of how their solution works.
Using cloud IT means that workers out on the road can be as fully updated about the client they’re visiting as the account manager back in the office. Arriving onsite for the first time and knowing the names and functions of members of staff as well as being able to refer to key points and events in the account history is going to generate a wow factor among client staff.
Not all field workers are onsite to fix equipment: business and public bodies need a constant update of information from the outside world. So they have surveying teams in the field gathering complex sets of data that need to be accurately recorded, stored and migrated to a secure storage environment.
With the commercial appetite for BigData now voracious, the number of these projects is growing whilst creating a positive feedback loop for FSM software.
Irish Telematics Service Providers
Closely related to Field Service Management is Telematics technology. And Vechicle, or Fleet Telematics as it is becoming increasingly known, provides fleet management services to the transport and travel industries. Telematics combines telecommunications and cloud technology to manage fleet assets, manifests and much more.
Irish based Fleetmatics is a strong global player in this market and as an indication of just how robust it is the firm saw it’s revenues surge by almost 40% in Q2 this year according to a report from SiliconRepublic earlier this year. Their CEO Jim Travers told Silicon Republic in August that Fleetmatics intends to continue this strong performance by growing its share of the global market.
Telematics software is enjoying increasing demand among a range of services, particularly couriers who are witnessing exponential business growth mirroring the explosion of online shopping, a topic we covered earlier in the year here.
Previously the joys of online shopping were qualified by the time the dispatch van took to get the product to your front door. Online retailers like Amazon are planning to have more warehouses in proximity to more population hubs shortening that annoying delay in getting your product. Plus there is all the recent discussions about Drone Technology – although how drone technology can be applied to this remains to be seen.
Our offices, shops and even IT departments are becoming more remote but with the rise of home working and virtual teams there’s a need for workers and vehicles to traverse these distances delivering goods and services that can’t be attached to an e-mail or pasted into an IM message.
This is something overlooked in the acres of print that talk about WiFi and VPNs but it’s not something overlooked by good entrepreneurs.
Main picture property of RapidValue.