Technology is changing the way we work, with AI and automation supercharging the traditional workforce. Given the pace of innovation, what will that workforce look like in 10 years – and how should organizations start preparing today?
Click here to watch a webinar between Arka Dhar, CEO and co-founder of Zinier, and Dave Simmons, Sr. Director of Technology & Innovation, Telecom at Black & Veatch. During the webinar, Arka and Dave discuss the future of work and some of the key issues facing field teams today:
- What are the top field service challenges?
- How is technology changing the modern workforce?
- How can organizations build a seamless blend of people and automation?
- What does the future of service delivery look like?
Here are three key takeaways, from the evolution of modern field teams to where automation fits into the entire lifecycle of service delivery:
1. Technology is changing the way we work
When you think about the future of work, it’s all about simplification. As an entire generation of technicians nears retirement age, field service leaders are looking for ways to support the next generation of workers.
For many organizations, the answer lies in better technology. Field service leaders are already investing in mobile apps and digital solutions; now, they’re exploring how automation can help take care of the routine tasks that stifle productivity.
In the field, technicians are asking for real-time, contextual data that helps them work faster and more efficiently.
At the same time, the volume of work is exploding, driving additional demand and creating a ton of data for organizations to analyze and act on. For Black & Veatch, this means it’s more important than ever to ensure that lines of communication are clear and visibility is high.
“Where we are constantly challenged is trying to seamlessly connect the field office, the front office, and the back office … and then provide real-time visibility to everyone in between.”
According to Dave, Black & Veatch has always approached technology as a tool to drive efficiency and develop a more cohesive, productive ecosystem of in-house and outsourced employees:
“At Black & Veatch, our president looks at technology as a way for us to really enable our professionals to grow individually, interact with our clients more effectively, and have better careers. He had a vision many years ago that we would have this ubiquitous platform for anybody that wanted to work with Black & Veatch.”
2. Organizations should not try to automate everything at once
One thing to keep in mind as you explore AI and automation – you cannot simply snap your fingers and start automating processes. Instead, you should identify a few areas for immediate improvement, such as automating work order creation and assignment. According to Arka, the most effective automation strategies include a phased approach:
“You don’t have to automate every part of your field operations at once; you can start with the low-hanging fruit.”
Once a few processes have been automated, you can focus on driving operational change by collecting large amounts of data and using AI to drive more intelligent recommendations. According to Dave, this is when organizations should maintain clear lines of communication with Black & Veatch to drive more effective automation:
“We want them to be a part of the process by saying ‘This is what really bothers us when we work with Black & Veatch.’ So we’re sitting down with them and mapping their feedback into our systems and processes.”
3. Automation is not a four-letter word
One question that always seems to follow automation is its impact on people, especially when it comes to job loss and reskilling. According to Arka, it’s not about automating people out of a job, but optimizing processeses so 4 to 5 tickets per day becomes 8 to 10.
For Black & Veatch, the focus has always been on automating the routine stuff that no one likes to do, so teams can focus on delivering better customer experiences. According to Dave, the goal is to declutter a technician’s overall environment so they can focus on doing work, instead of filling out forms or calling the back office for next steps:
“What we want to accomplish is take the tasks that people don’t want to do and [remove them] from their day-to-day operations, whether that’s through automation or upgrading legacy environments.”
By automating the mundane and non-critical components of a work order, organizations are able to focus on technician satisfaction and the last mile of service delivery:
“We have regularly gotten feedback that folks are doing more effective, proactive, and satisfying activities because of the technologies that we’re bringing forward.”
Download the entire webinar today
At the end of the webinar, Arka and Dave also address a number of questions, including:
- How are you leveraging contractors today – and how do you see that changing over the next five years?
- How much of a technician’s daily work do you think can be automated today?
- What requirements did [Black & Veatch] have when selecting a new field service solution?
- When it comes to automation, how does a company deal with change management?