Is Your Knowledge Management Strategy Preparing You for Life After COVID-19?

COVID-19 is rapidly accelerating digital transformation for service organizations, and knowledge management is playing an enormous part. Companies will need to rely heavily on third-party contractors, and all engineers — both third-party and employees — will need to limit contact onsite by completing the fix the first time and as quickly as possible. In addition, the forecasted economic downturn brought on by the pandemic is creating intense pressure within service organizations to reduce costs and increase profitability.

In a guest blog for ServiceMax, AnswersAnywhere VP Bo Wandell discusses how companies can provide the digital training and deeper knowledge that engineers need onsite to improve accuracy and efficiency, while also reducing cost pressures.

 

Step Away from the Shared Folder: Why Knowledge Management Shouldn’t be an Inside Job

Digital transformation has been on the minds of field service organizations for some time now. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has not only underlined the important of being digitally enabled. It has also underlined the urgency to accelerate it.

One of the most critical areas in need of digital transformation is information accessibility. Not only are organizations having to rely more heavily on third party contractors in order to limit travel, but the aging workforce challenge that many organizations were already grappling with pre-pandemic has been expedited. In fact, a recent study found that significantly more American workers are going into early retirement, compared to previous economic downturns. For companies to stay competitive, they need to change the way they are capturing and dispersing knowledge, and they need to do it fast.

Which leaves field service execs scrambling to figure out how quickly they can get a knowledge management solution launched. The answer, more than ever, is outsourcing.

Why Should You Outsource Your Knowledge Management Project?

With the threat of a post-pandemic recession looming, it might seem counterproductive for your organization to outsource knowledge management when you should be pinching pennies. However, creating, delivering and maintaining an effective knowledge solution takes a combination of people, process and technology in order to be successful, all resources that are most likely in short supply within most companies right now.

Hiring a provider will save your organization a lot money, stress and wasted resources, while also delivering the accelerated digital transformation you need. Here are 6 reasons why hiring an outside provider reduces the risk of inefficient knowledge management:

Lower Operational Costs

As mentioned above, outsourcing helps organizations save costs related to labor, training, business operations, technology and more.

Mitigate Risk

Knowledge management technology is advancing rapidly. Companies mitigate risk by avoiding investment in technology and resources that could become obsolete quickly or fail to deliver adequate ROI.

Get Access to Latest Technology

Save your organization the cost of investing in-house by finding a knowledge management provider familiar with the latest trends and innovations, as well as the know-how to deploy it to your team.

Save Time

TSIA reports it takes an average of 12 days to publish just one new article in a knowledge base. Outsourcing allows you to focus internal resources on other projects and growing your operations.

Access to Experts

Creating an efficient knowledge management solution requires a blend of expertise, experience and technology. Plus, once launched, the knowledge will need to be kept up-to-date and optimized to ensure field service engineers are not working with outdated, inaccurate data. By outsourcing, companies have access to the most knowledgeable experts in the field. A knowledge management company worth their salt will have ample experience to draw from and well-developed processes in place.

Competitive Advantage

To keep ahead of the competition, businesses need to think strategically and efficiently. Outsourcing means you can focus on core business processes while turning over non-core operations such as knowledge management to the experts.

There is no doubt that COVID-19 has caused many companies to fast-track their digital transformation strategy. However, if the strategy is going to be successful, knowledge management must play a big role. Working with a knowledge management provider is the best way to ensure you get an effective, and accelerated, strategy in place.

How Knowledge Tools Can Help Recession-Proof Your Company

The word “recession” seems to be on everyone’s minds at the moment. While it is nearly impossible to predict the exact timing of an economic recession, most experts agree that, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, there is one in the near future. With the threat of a recession looming, it might be tempting for your organization to cut corners and pinch pennies. It’s always a good idea to routinely examine and curtail costs, but now is the time to be on the offensive, not the defensive.

In a guest blog for the Service Council, AnswersAnywhere Vice President Bo Wandell explores why knowledge management is one of the best recession-proofing tools for field service organizations.

 

Knowledge = Field Service Profits

Like never before, field service organizations are being recognized as a source of valuable recurring revenues and profits. At the same time, field service managers are being buffeted by the winds of change—demographic and technological—that are driving renewed interest in knowledge management strategies.

This joint white paper from AnswersAnywhere and ServiceMax will provide some insights into launching a knowledge management initiative and building a financial case for investing in a knowledge solution to help you cope with the winds of change.

 

GET THE REPORT

Managing the Impacts of Coronavirus within your Organization

In a few short months, the coronavirus pandemic has changed our global landscape. Manufacturing shutdowns, stock market fluctuations, travel bans and shelter-in-place orders are forcing organizations to completely rethink the way they operate.

While some factories are temporarily grinding to a halt, others are becoming increasingly busier. For food and beverage manufacturing, medical equipment companies, hospitals and more, avoiding equipment downtime is more critical than ever. Field service organizations will need to meet these demands while facing unique new business challenges.

Cost Pressures will be Higher

Many field service organizations will start feeling the financial crunch. This is why it’s imperative that they start thinking about what remote technologies and offline support tools are available to help them achieve lower service costs. Solutions aimed at reducing truck rolls, time on site, return visits, and incorrect parts orders are a good start.

Now is also an excellent time to revisit your current technology. Are there any features or add-ons offered by your field service management platform that you could be utilizing? What integrations to they offer that could help you lower costs and increase efficiency? Focus on technology that is quick to implement and is easy to use. Your IT team and field service engineers are under enough pressure and don’t need added stress or tech overload right now.

Access to Knowledge is Critical Right Now

Many executives are struggling with the dilemma of how to keep their workers safe while also keeping their customers up and running. A survey from TSIA found that almost 88% of companies are continuing to deploy field service engineers to sites, with 67% implementing significant restrictions like limiting travel and time on site, as well as increasing the use of local 3rd party providers.

Minimizing time on site and return visits are crucial right now. Additionally, the need to keep contact to a minimum means training techniques like job shadowing are not a safe option right now. Because of this, your engineers will need immediate access to technical and parts information. Making sure they can get the answers they need is vital to helping them stay efficient, while also reducing equipment downtime. In addition, it will lessen the impact on your call center and support staff during this time.

If your company is relying more heavily on the use of 3rd party providers due to travel restrictions, it’s vital that you empower them with the tools they need to deliver the same quality of service as your full-time employees. Ensuring that they have mobile access to important break/fix, installation and parts knowledge will be one of the most important arrows they can have in their quiver. This will help improve the 3rd party technician’s efficiency and accuracy, while showing your customer that you can still deliver excellent service in a time of crisis.

Communicate, Communicate, Communicate

This is perhaps the most important thing you should be doing as a company. As we have all seen, information and guidelines are changing by the hour. It’s important not only for your organization to stay informed, but to then keep your employees and customer informed as well.
Field service engineers are remote by nature. During times like these, it’s common for them to feel more insular and out of touch with the company. This is made more difficult by the fact that organizations must limit physical contact between their employees.

Daily virtual contact with your team through video conferencing or phone calls is a great way to help ease anxiety, keep everyone informed, emphasize important information and reinforce the important roles they are all playing in keeping your company functioning.

Perhaps your engineers have been grounded for all but the most essential jobs. They may be struggling to find structure in their new routine and stay focused. Offering virtual training courses, information exchanges or product information sessions will go a long way in helping them feel productive.

It is also important to stay in contact with customers. They are facing anxieties and pressures of their own. Knowing that you are still there to literally keep them up and running will go a long way in strengthening customer loyalty after this pandemic subsides.

AnswersAnywhere to Highlight Powerful New Analytics Feature as Lead Sponsor of Field Service Medical 2020

San Diego, CA – AnswersAnywhere, the leading global provider of knowledge delivery solutions for field service organizations, will return as a lead sponsor for Field Service Medical 2020, the only peer-led conference for medical device leaders in customer care, service, and support.

At the conference, which takes place in San Diego, CA on February 24-26, AnswersAnywhere will be highlighting Data Insights, a new product and journey analytics feature. Data Insights allows field service organizations to easily access product, knowledge and user data, perform predictive analytics and gain a deeper understanding into service calls to make more informed business decisions.

According to Bo Wandell, Vice President of AnswersAnywhere, Data Insights will help users identify the behaviors that contribute to achieving Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) like first time fix rates and mean time to repair. Additionally, by having a complete picture of user journeys, executives will be better equipped to address the field service talent gap through targeted training and resources.

“Executives need rich, real-time, actionable data to make the most informed decisions for their field service organization,” Wandell said. “AnswersAnywhere Data Insights will allow field service managers to better allocate resources and forecast trends, as well as identify knowledge gaps and areas where additional support or education is required.”

As an example, Wandell said that Data Insights could uncover that the top 20% best performing field service engineers are also the most frequent users of exploded product diagrams and parts lists, how-to videos or other servicing documentation in a company’s field service knowledge base. Wandell said, “Armed with this unique insight, a field service executive now has a roadmap to make the remaining 80% of his field service staff more efficient.”

Tracing a field service engineers’ knowledge base journey while working on a piece of challenging equipment, according to Wandell, will provide insights that are not available anywhere else in a company’s field service ecosystem. He said, “If you have a product model that has a low first-time fix rate or a high instance of incorrect parts orders, our Data Insights solution would allow you to follow service engineers’ path to resolution either in the aggregate or individually. By determining where the break down in knowledge delivery exists, the knowledge base can be enhanced to deliver new solutions that will drive efficiency.”

“Another example is if you have a certain product model that has a low first-time fix rate or high instance of incorrect parts orders. Imagine being able to trace your field service engineers’ knowledge base journey while working on that piece of equipment? You would be able to draw some pretty powerful conclusions about what type of supporting information or additional knowledge they need in order to increase efficiency and accuracy for that model.”

The AnswersAnywhere Data Insights feature is available to all AnswersAnywhere knowledge base customers. Attendees of Field Service Medical 2020 are invited to stop by booth #203 in the Exhibit Hall for a demonstration.

About AnswersAnywhere:
Unlike traditional knowledge management software solutions, AnswersAnywhere is a complete outsourced knowledge service that includes the people, process and technology required to transform disparate parts and technical information into a mobilized, online/offline knowledge base. AnswersAnywhere knowledge experts convert, deliver and continuously update parts and product knowledge for use by field service engineers and technical support representatives.

The types of source information that AnswersAnywhere knowledge experts convert into usable, interactive knowledge bases includes FAQs, parts lists, installation and service manuals, schematic drawings, exploded diagrams, product descriptions and alerts, safety notices, database output, images, videos and MS Word and PDF documents.

AnswersAnywhere integrates with leading field service management platforms, including ServiceMax and Salesforce Field Service Lightning. Our knowledge experts have created and manage technical product knowledge bases for over 200 companies. For more information, visit https://www.answersanywhere.com.