Today, more and more companies are exploring custom field service software development – in part because it is among the most specialized software an organization uses.
Consider point-of-sale (or POS) software for some useful contrast. POS software is fairly generic, because it supports a typically generic process: a customer has a stack of items, an employee scans the items, then the customer provides a payment method and walks out of the store. This process is the same at most retail operations, so capturing the right information — the products purchased and the payment data — is straightforward.
But inventory management, sales management, processes for managing specials or monitoring performance across stores or divisions — these processes tend to be much more specialized to an individual business. A sales rep for a manufacturer can walk into retail stores and capture information (including images and video) on how the store is presenting their product. This is specialized data, and with a custom app it can be quickly captured in a specialized way for the most efficient processing and storage.
In the past, custom field service software development was only an option for larger companies such as major retailers. But today, field services solutions are available for a much wider group of businesses — and they’re being used in innovative new ways.
The ubiquity of affordable mobile devices has made custom apps an affordable solution for mid-sized businesses. Today, large-scale farmers can use custom field service software to track data about their crop.
Because mobile devices like phones and tablets are already designed to utilize technologies like WiFi, cameras, Bluetooth, and more, it’s easier than ever to develop a custom “sense” for your systems, such as capturing data on soil chemistry and crop health. This data could help a farmer understand how to grow more effectively and use this information to frame how they manage their business.
Custom senses allow Big Data to work for a broader variety of companies, providing the data necessary to mine for potentially transformative insights. There is now an opportunity for a growing number of businesses to create data-driven, real world processes to become more efficient and more profitable.
Say you’re a mid-sized clothing manufacturer. This is a very field-driven business: reps go out to stores with samples and talk about what’s being manufactured this year, discussing current styles and colors in a very hands-on way.
If you put an app in that rep’s hands, when they travel to a store to speak with a regional buyer, they can give the buyer an interactive catalog on an iPad. Instead of simply discussing prospective purchases for the spring, your rep can walk the buyer through a rich multimedia experience of the season’s offerings, looking at pictures and video of different pieces of clothing, along with corresponding images of store displays.
Now, the buyer can enter quantities, verify the details, and place the order right there. The system would then generate an invoice and deliver it to the customer automatically, with a complete picture of where the order is going and what the billing arrangement is — all with no delay in fulfillment.
For companies seeking to innovate and streamline their processes in an industry-specific, organization-specific way, custom field service software development provides a compelling solution.