Thursday, December 02, 2010

Facebook, Mobility and Field Services Applications

I have been watching with keen interest the convergence of social networking and enterprise mobility.  Recently, SAP mobility partner, ClickSoftware announced a social media extension to their SAP Workforce Scheduling and Optimization solution that is very interesting and worth highlighting. 

Customers can book and change service appointments directly on a service organization’s Facebook page.  Customers can receive reminders and notifications on the expected arrival time of the field service engineer to minimize wait times.  With this extension, Facebook becomes yet another interaction channel for ClickContact, which can also integrate two-way communication with company web pages, automated voice calls, e-mail and SMS. Customers may select their preferred channels of communication at any time.

Right now, Facebook does not support this application extension on the Facebook mobile application, but this is expected in the near future. So today the customer accesses Facebook from their browser and books or reschedules their appointment.  How does this relate to mobility?  Customers can configure the Facebook application to send notifications to their smartphones via email, voice message, Facebook notification or text.

Another interaction point between this Facebook application and mobile devices are the service quality surveys.  Many service companies have service quality surveys built into their mobile field service applications.  The service technician hands the mobile device to the customer and asks them to answer a few questions related to the service provided.  These responses can be configured to update the service provider's Facebook page.

Facebook, Twitter and other social media tools are the channels consumers actively use to broadcast their experiences. With this application integration with Facebook, service providers can activate this powerful broadcast engine to communicate positive experiences.

You can watch a quick demo of this Facebook extension below.  I believe this is just the beginning of an emerging trend.  It will be interesting to watch how it develops.

Kevin Benedict, SAP Mentor, SAP Top Contributor, Mobile and M2M Industry Analyst
Phone +1 208-991-4410
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Full Disclosure: I am an independent mobility consultant, mobility analyst, writer and Web 2.0 marketing professional. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.