CEO and founder Jonathan Ralphs discusses Infomill’s partnership with ServiceMax from GE Digital and the groundbreaking integration of AnswersAnywhere software with the ServiceMax platform.
Field Service Management Software – Seeing is Believing
The new AnswersAnywhere video, created by Derby-based creative design agency Fluid Ideas, provides viewers with a better understanding of the powerful Knowledge-as-a-Service solution. By providing insight into the AnswersAnywhere process of transforming customers’ existing technical information, as well as giving a brief demonstration of how the solution works, the video clearly illustrates the many benefits AnswersAnywhere provides customers.
Create a Knowledge Base – Use Anytime, Anywhere
How exactly does AnswersAnywhere work?
Infomill’s knowledge engineers work with the organization to draw both legacy and new information from sources such as PDFs, databases, product manuals, CAD drawings, parts lists, break & fix solutions and exploded diagrams. This information is then developed into unique and interactive software that can be made available to any mobile device, using any browser. Currently updating more than 100,000 parts daily, Infomill has the capability to ensure that the knowledge solution is kept entirely current and accurate. Coupled with the fact that AnswersAnywhere can integrate with leading field service management systems, this is a incredible solution to take notice of.
AnswersAnywhere increases first time fix rates by an average of 19%, saving $50,000 per year, per technician by delivering continuously optimized break/fix and parts knowledge online or offline, accelerating fault diagnosis and resolution, streamlining parts ordering, shortening field visits, increasing customer satisfaction and profitability for field service organizations.
Visit AnswersAnywhere to find out more about mobile knowledge management that is purpose-built for field service.
Infomill Integrates AnswersAnywhere with ServiceMax, from GE Digital, to Empower Field Service Technicians with Knowledge-as-a-Service Solution
Infomill, a leading global provider of field service knowledge management, today announced its Partner Certification and integration with ServiceMax, a leader in field service management. The partnership enables GE Digital to offer AnswersAnywhere, Infomill’s knowledge-as-a-Service (KaaS) solution, to its ServiceMax field service customers worldwide.
Already in use by over 50,000 technicians globally, AnswersAnywhere combines people, process and technology to convert, deliver and continuously optimize the knowledge required for field service organizations to increase customer satisfaction, shorten field visits and drive efficiency, accuracy and profitability. Types of knowledge that Infomill knowledge experts convert include hard copy and PDF documents, service manuals, schematic drawings, exploded diagrams, part lists, product descriptions and alerts, database output, images and videos.
ServiceMax is a comprehensive, cloud-based, and mobile field service solution that manages the service delivery end-to-end process. By integrating AnswersAnywhere, service technicians will be provided with online and offline access to the decision-making information they need without navigating away from ServiceMax or researching solutions through hundreds or thousands of pages of documents and databases.
AnswersAnywhere is accessed via a “Find Answers” button on a ServiceMax work order. For the first time, a technician will be able to search through large and complex amounts of information to quickly find the break/fix, installation and service answers they need, as well as identify, locate and add parts to a work order.
Jonathan Skelding, VP of Global Alliances at ServiceMax, said of the partnership, “Infomill’s unique KaaS solution, AnswersAnywhere, is a valuable tool that empowers field service technicians with the critical knowledge that they have so far been lacking when onsite with a customer. By combining a number of disparate data sources into a single, normalized, interactive, mobile knowledge base, AnswersAnywhere adds important value to the ServiceMax platform. Providing service technicians with mobile access to maintenance, installation and troubleshooting knowledge means they can complete service visits faster and more profitably.”
Mobile Service Management for Field Service Technicians
Bo Wandell, VP of Sales and Business Strategy at Infomill, said, “A lot of field service technicians suffer from a knowledge gap when onsite with a customer. In many cases, the required knowledge is locked up in silos of disparate information sources back at headquarters. AnswersAnywhere unlocks that knowledge by delivering valuable and searchable information to the technicians’ mobile device of choice both online and offline. As a result of the integration between AnswersAnywhere and ServiceMax, technicians will have all of the information they need to improve key performance indicators such as first-time fix rates, mean time to repair, and customer satisfaction.”
Infomill will be an exhibiting sponsor at the ServiceMax Maximize event in Las Vegas, NV on September 18th – 20th, 2017 and the Field Service Fall event in Amelia Island, FL on September 25th – 27th, 2017.
Knowledge Base Solution for the Field Service Industry
About Infomill: Built on innovation and agility, Infomill has dedicated 20 years repurposing data to create revolutionary aftermarket production support tools that reduce repeat service visits and drive up customer satisfaction for field service organizations. Infomill has a pedigree of successful aftermarket information projects with multi-national companies in HVAC, aerospace, mass transit, materials handling and other knowledge-critical sectors. Infomill is located in Derby, UK and Seattle, USA.
January 1st is right around the corner! Infomill has already started looking ahead at 2018 and excited for what the next year has in store for our solutions, AnswersAnywhere and PartsArena. But we don’t want to wish away 2017 too quickly. It’s been a year of Field Service Knowledge innovation here at Infomill, and we couldn’t be more pleased or proud with all we’ve accomplished.
In October, Infomill was recognized as one of four IDC Innovators in the field service market. We were delighted to be chosen for AnswersAnywhere, our Knowledge-as-a-Service which combines people, process and technology to convert, deliver and continuously optimize the knowledge required for field service organizations to increase customer satisfaction, shorten field visits and drive efficiency, accuracy and profitability.
The report, “IDC Innovators: Field Service for Manufacturing 2017” profiles emerging field service vendors who specialize in manufacturing and offer innovative technology, a ground-breaking new business model or both.
ServiceMax Partner Certification Completion of Knowledge Management System
Infomill announced in September its Partner Certification and integration with ServiceMax, a leader in field service management. The partnership enables GE Digital to offer AnswersAnywhere to its ServiceMax field service customers worldwide. The integration will empower field service technicians by providing them with online and offline access to the decision-making information they need without navigating away from ServiceMax or researching solutions through hundreds or thousands of pages of documents and databases.
Integration was our Word of the Year
Infomill formed many strategic partnerships over the course of the year, completing integrations with several field service management software companies and our mobile knowledge solutions. Driven by the need to reduce costs and provide excellent customer service, service organizations are increasingly recognizing integrated software solutions as the key to revenue growth, customer satisfaction and competitive differentiation.
We were very pleased to announce our sponsorship and presence at Field Service Fall this year. The service and support conference was held this September at the stunning Amelia Island Plantation in Florida. Over the course of 3 days, we gained insights into the common challenges and new trends emerging in the industry, while also connecting with others who share our passion for field service.
2017 started off with a bang as Infomill brought on board a new VP of Sales and Business Management to oversee the company’s expansion into North America. Bo Wandell brought with him a wealth of experiences, having held executive level positions with a number of technology companies ranging from start-ups to global enterprises.
Wandell says, “The interest Infomill and AnswersAnywhere attracted in the field service industry this past year has truly been exciting. I am looking forward to 2018 as we continue to forge strategic partnerships and help leading field service organizations deliver even higher levels of performance and profitability”.
In July, we released our new AnswersAnywhere video. To date, the video has received over 19,500 views on YouTube (we promise, those haven’t all been from Infomill employees). The two-minute animation provides insight into the AnswersAnywhere process of transforming customers’ existing technical information, as well as giving a brief demonstration of how the solution works. If you haven’t already, watch now for a better understanding of this powerful Knowledge-as-a-Service solution.
2017 has truly been a year of innovation and integration at Infomill. These are just a few of the many exciting accomplishments we’ve achieved this year. However, we’re not ones to rest on our laurels, and we are already looking ahead to the new year and how we can continue helping service organizations achieving their business goals through our Field Service Knowledge solutions. Stay tuned for some exciting announcements in 2018!
Raise Field Service Productivity with an Integrated Inventory and Knowledge Base Solution
Watch the joint webinar with partner ServiceMax from GE
Servicing medical devices in the field is unlike any other field service. Human lives and wellness depend on medical equipment uptime. To deliver fast First-Time fix rates, your field engineers need to have a detailed knowledge of complex installed equipment, troubleshooting techniques, replacement parts and their availability. Failure to deliver excellent service and lack of adherence to FDA regulations can result in missed SLAs, frustrated customers, penalties and, ultimately, less business for your company.
Mobile Field Service Knowledge
During this webinar, learn how your field service team can increase First-Time fix rates while improving customer satisfaction. You will hear Anna Startseva, Sr. Product Marketing Manager at ServiceMax and Bo Wandell, VP of Sales and Business Development at Infomill, discuss how a curated mobile knowledge base that is integrated with your field service and inventory management solution will help achieve and beat your field service KPIs.
In this webinar we discuss the benefits of knowledge management and show:
- How leading Medical Equipment Manufacturers and Distributors outperform the competition
- How to achieve productivity and customer experience objectives with digital tools
- How an integrated solution from ServiceMax and AnswersAnywhere from Infomill delivers the right equipment and inventory knowledge at the right time so your field engineers can deliver flawless service
- Demonstration of AnswersAnywhere
In a guest blog for Field Service Digital, Infomill’s VP of Sales and Business Strategy Bo Wandell discusses how knowledge management (or the lack thereof) directly impacts first-time fix rates, customer satisfaction and profitability.
Bo Wandell, Infomill’s VP of Sales and Business Strategy, demonstrates AnswersAnywhere and talks about the Discovery Workshop at Field Service Fall 2018 in Amelia Island, FL.
Knowledge is power. But poor access to knowledge hampers productivity and can prove costly. How’s your knowledge management looking right now?
If it’s not benefiting your business, you need to do it better. Perhaps you’re planning some improvements? Apparently, 61% of field service executives are*.
Check whether you’re making any of the biggest knowledge management mistakes and learn how to gain more power from your knowledge.
Mistake 1: Insufficient vision
You might have a clear idea what sort of system would help your business now, but what about the future? As your operations and team grow, can that system expand to cope?
Think about the software you’re using. Ensure that it’s future-proof and expandable as far forward as you can see.
Any knowledge management system should take a long-term approach, otherwise you’ll be back to square one when your business grows, wondering how to manage things now.
Mistake 2: Lack of top-level buy-in
For a knowledge management system to be fully effective, it’s imperative that there’s a knowledge sharing culture – right from the very top. Key stakeholders need to understand the sheer impact that developing an efficient system can have – in terms of customer service, greater productivity and ultimately, the bottom line.
Mistake 3: Departments not collaborating
Don’t be fooled that knowledge management is the task of one department only; IT or customer service perhaps. All aspects of the organization need to collaborate to make it work. And all departments must benefit from it.
Mistake 4: Excess focus on knowledge collection
Whilst collection and transformation are key aspects of developing any form of knowledge management system – there’s more to it than that.
Not all knowledge is useful knowledge and it’s important to have a validation system in place, to ensure you’re sharing the knowledge that will truly make a difference.
After collection comes application – if you need specialist support at this point, it’s out there for you.
Mistake 5: Ignoring the user
If it doesn’t work for the user, it’s useless. So, get them involved from the start. In fact, ensure a team approach to the development of your system – all interested parties should contribute.
If you’re a field service organization, ask the technicians out in the field what they need and how it should best work for them. Ask them to review and test developments.
If your system is up and running, ask them for feedback – constantly. They will tell you how the system must develop to be at its most effective.
Mistake 6: Not making it mobile
This point is of particular importance to field service organizations. A larger proportion of your users are rarely in the office. And yet they need access to knowledge quickly, wherever they are working.
They will need technical information, diagrams and parts information. Don’t leave them phoning the office to gain this – the loss in productivity, not to mention the job frustration will be huge.
Technology makes it easy to develop a knowledge management system that can be accessed from any mobile device – even offline when no internet connection is available.
Mistake 7: Lack of training and education
Only by using a knowledge management system to its full potential will you maximize the benefits to the business. And that means training.
Older employees might need more time to get to grips with such a change, especially if it’s a piece of new software. Younger team members are likely to be far more embracing.
Whatever the make-up of your team, they need to understand what’s in it for them. How will it help them do their job better? Only then will they want to use it.
Mistake 8: Not keeping it up to date
Old data is of limited help – and could actually prompt more errors. Procedures must be in place to keep your knowledge management system updated – regularly.
Should specialist software be running your system, this will be easier. However, a bank of information stored on a shared drive will quickly become a monster, and dependent on the speed of information change, a vintage one at that.
Know how your system will be updated before you even start to create it.
What will you do with this information?
In today’s fast-moving world, the management and sharing of up-to-date knowledge can seem daunting. That’s why specialist companies exist to guide you through the process from start to finish.
If your system already exists, fix any of the mistakes you’re currently making. If you’re looking to scope out a new system, use the points to shape your project. And harness outside expertise to help you create a knowledge management system that will keep you on the front foot and deliver the best possible productivity.
* According to the Field Service USA 2018 Spend Report, 61% of field service executives are planning to invest in knowledge management tools within the next 24 months.
Market intelligence company, Aberdeen, recently published its Mobile Field Service Survey. With the increased affordability of such utilities, there’s some interesting findings to draw from – whatever size your business.
Stages of maturity
Aberdeen started by segmenting its sample of 141 field service organizations into three distinct groups:
- Immature – those companies able to track technician location only (fairly easy, as they will all have a mobile phone!)
- Moderately mature – those tracking location and performance.
- Mature – those focusing on several areas such as: data cleansing, breaking down business silos, incorporating mobile data into systems of engagement.
Where’s your business on this scale of maturity? 54% of Aberdeen’s sample was classed as mature.
It’s clear to see the growing trend of investing in mobile connectivity to improve performance and customer service.
Indeed, Aberdeen states that: “The pen-and-paper world of traditional field service is gradually dying.”
“The bottom line is simple: if organizations want to continue to grow, they’ll need to take their technicians’ mobile devices and tie them into a more robust family of applications.”
Key challenges for progression
The survey highlights that whether you’re a mature or immature organization, you’re facing challenges.
By far the biggest issue for the least mature field service organizations is cost. 79% of immature respondents cited this challenge. Not surprising.
To move your connectivity from one of location to performance takes investment. Investment that will drive your business forward.
And it’s all down to prioritization, says Aberdeen: “Investment in mobility is an acknowledgment that growth is a priority for an organization. By getting hung up on costs, less mature organizations are exposing an unwillingness to make tactical investments to drive the business forward.”
This begs a pertinent question: Does your business view technology investment as a necessary evil, or a tool for growth?
Resistance to change
Another key challenge for immature firms is the lack of enthusiasm for technology development, often from management. 36% of immature organizations mentioned this challenge.
Unsurprisingly, this was not a notable concern for mature businesses, though they can be hampered by resistance from the front-line (24% of mature firms mentioned this).
Mature businesses will continue to develop
The picture is far from static. Having connected their field service technicians in ways to help with real-time knowledge management and performance, these leading operators have fresh goals in their sites:
1. Speed of service
88% of mature firms mentioned their desire to streamline their service speed further. Not only does this offer cost-savings, it also allows them to grow their business from the same resource base.
2. Service consistency / standardization
Also leading the priorities at 88%, more developed field service operators can see the benefits of striving for a tightly managed system.
3. Billing accuracy
Highlighting how mobile systems can now connect to other parts of the business such as billing systems and CRM. This move will leverage further benefits in terms of efficiencies and service.
Where will the money be spent?
It’s quite clear from the Aberdeen survey, that all sizes of organizations have three areas targeted for future expenditure:
- Upgrade mobile infrastructure
The biggest priority for mature companies, who are mindful of investing in legacy systems.
- Provide service technicians with work-related information in real-time
A constant investment priority for all sizes of field service operation.
- Establish systems and metrics to track service performance in real-time
Not surprisingly, this was the top focus for immature firms, looking to make their first investment into mobile performance management.
What should you do now?
Mobile field service and the technology required to operate it, has been a key focus for some time. This is set to continue – reaching new heights. The goal posts will keep moving and even mature organizations will continue to invest and further connect their operations.
Aberdeen group summarizes three critical areas to address, should you wish to move your field service business into a state of maturity. At Infomill, we wholeheartedly endorse this advice:
- Rethink how your organization prioritizes cost. Upfront cost shouldn’t be an expense when it’s an investment in the first brick on a road to growth.
- Your online environment is only as useful as the system it connects to.
- Enrich your technicians by building beyond location. By doing so, you’re empowering them, whilst keeping them accountable.