4 Tech Trends Field Operations Firms Should Embrace
The relaxing of many regulations that directly affect Field Operations Industries combined with the passage of an Infrastructure Spending Bill, signals that we are poised to see massive growth in this sector.
In the past, many firms with robust Field Operations have resisted new technologies for several very good reasons:
- Unpredictable costs
- Too much demand on internal IT resources
- Immature offerings
With the advent of the Azure Cloud and Microsoft’s Dynamics 365 offering the whole situation has radically changed. Now firms can access this technology in the cloud at a much more reasonable price. This has the potential to drive down the costs dramatically and, since they are in the cloud, they require little to no intervention from your in-house technology people.
So let’s look at a few.
Mobile Phones & Remote Devices
Whatever systems your business relies on for day to day operations, the ability to access, edit and share on the fly is becoming increasingly valuable. Whether you’re in the field and you realize a project is going to require a lot more resources or you’re in the office adjusting job assignments, the ability to act quickly can make all the difference.
Handheld devices like phones and tablets are now the go-to for business and personal web browsing, meaning if your ERP or other systems are not available at the fingertips of your employees it’s time to look into an upgrade. “Anytime, anywhere and on any device” is more than just a slogan adopted by Microsoft.
Millennials are already accustomed to fully functional, intuitive applications on their phones…isn’t it time we leveraged their willingness to use this?
You probably guessed this would be on the list, and for good reason. In order for major applications, like ERP and Project Management solutions, to be fully accessible and capable on the fly, they need the full support of powerful cloud computing. It may be a scary thought to many businesses, migrating to the mysterious cloud, but reliability and security are at the forefront of most offerings today.
The massive reduction of costs for this type of technology, combined with the fact that you need fewer in-house resources to manage it, make it a no-brainer for anyone with a large field-based labor force. Not to mention the fact that you can scale up and scale down as needed, making costs predictable and flexible. Additionally, the ever elusive “real time” look at Projects & progress is finally realized in a solution set that costs far less than anything we have seen in the past.
You’ve got data available anytime, anywhere and on any device. Great. Now what is all that data trying to tell you? If you aren’t already utilizing some sort of business intelligence, the time to start is yesterday.
Tools like Power BI enable your business to visualize data in ways that allow you to leverage it to produce actionable results. As many companies have quickly discovered, big data doesn’t mean anything unless you have the means to interpret it.
The fact that it is cloud based makes it even more usable for large firms. No more waiting for your local servers to process a huge data request, cloud providers like Microsoft simply redirect servers to manage your query (in real time) and then re-deploy them to other accounts when it’s finished.
As your data needs become more sophisticated, why not use a platform that lets you leverage it without buying a lot of new servers?
Arguably, you are already embracing the Internet of Things whether you think of it like that or not. Smart phones, smart watches, smart cars etc. are everywhere. Within Field Operations industries, IoT will be playing an ever increasing role. Tracking machinery usage, geographical locations, maintenance and even performance will become much more important when administering multiple Projects with manageable margins.
Don’t let your eyes glaze over when people use this term. Keeping an open mind about creative ways to use IoT may well be a competitive edge for your company. Get out your creative “thinking cap” and talk to us about it. You may be surprised at how you can leverage this for your company.
I know, this stuff sounds like pie-in-the-sky, but it is available today. It’s affordable, predictable and scalable. This is the time to explore new technologies as the Field Operations sector expands.