Thursday, December 15, 2011

Mobility and 4D Field Services

GPS Coordinates and Time
I have been researching and pondering the concept of the 4th dimension this week, and how it relates to enterprise mobility and field services. First I looked up the meaning of 3D or 3 dimensional.  Three dimensional is made up of length, width and height.  These are basically GPS coordinates.  With GPS coordinates you can find and identify a location on the earth or map.  If you have GPS coordinates for your mobile workforce or mobile resources you will know where they are located, right?  WRONG!!!  The only thing that you know is that at a specific time (when the GPS coordinates were captured), they were located at those locations.  Time is a very important component.  If your GPS coordinates were captured last week, they are not likely to be accurate today?

As I hinted above, the 4th dimension is time, and it is critical to managing real-time field services.  You must add time to length, width and height to make 4D.  When you have the added value of time, you can do many things.  For example:
  1. Monitor travel times by capturing departure and arrival times.
  2. Monitor work start and stop times at a particular location.
  3. Monitor job status at a particular location.
  4. Analyse the best schedules based on locations, travel times, job statuses etc.
  5. Capture KPIs and analyze them.
4D field services is the goal to achieve service optimization.  However, it is only possible when your mobile workforce and PIVs (Performance Impact Variables) are connected and using mobile technologies.  I will write more about PIVs in my next article.

As many of you know my mantra is, "Mobile technologies without mobile strategies is wasted."  There are a lot of interesting things that can be done with mobile technologies to provide a company with competitive advantages if they have a good strategy.

Kevin Benedict, Independent Mobile Industry Analyst, Consultant and SAP Mentor Volunteer
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Full Disclosure: I am an independent mobility analyst, consultant and blogger. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.