Calling All Construction and Field Service Businesses— It’s Time to Go Mobile

The days are gone when customers don’t mind waiting for information— sales, financing, paperwork, scheduling, etc. Increasingly, it’s the difference between closing a sale and losing a potential customer for good. With nearly nearly two-thirds of the American population in possession of one or more smart devices, mobile technology is at every corner and it’s changing customers’ expectations. Customers require information fast.

Smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices are all transforming how we conduct business and are deeply rooted in the enterprise. To create separation from competitors, forward thinkers utilize mobile technology to connect employees and customers to CRMs, accounting systems, schedules and work orders.

All businesses are not created equally and neither is a mobile strategy

For instance, financial institutions, currently hamstrung by Sarbanes–Oxley, and healthcare, slowed by HIPAA rules and regulations, are forced to use their technology budgets on enhanced security. So, what’s the excuse of the construction and field services businesses?

While stockholders and employees look to the C-Level executives to place blame for a lack of innovation with mobile technology, we see it much differently at Nexcom. The construction and field service industries have been left out of mobile software technology revolution. Being excluded from the mobile wave, it is no wonder these industries have seen dismal productivity increases. There is a great white paper by Integraph regarding productivity at the construction job site. Of 33 factors related to job site efficiency, not one is the introduction of mobile technology for increased productivity.

In 2004 at the peak of their growth surge, Salesforce.com, the leader in cloud software, decided to dominate almost every other space leaving construction and field service open for other companies. No one stepped in except for Microsoft’s purchase of old, clunky software programs such as Solomon (a productivity killer to all who try it). Companies like Viewpoint and Timberline still serve as leaders with software driven by Windows platforms where paper and folder hierarchies are used to store paper with naming conventions. It is a sad state of affairs.

How to change when all the peers use PC based, old software?

Be bold and when it comes to software ask the question: “How does this decision help empower my customers and employees?” The most important intellectual properties to a construction and field services company come directly from customers and employees. Companies who use mobile technology to communicate win more times than not.

Which platform is best?

Depending on the size of the enterprise, it could be one or many interconnected platforms. It isn’t about your revenue or employee count dictating the choice. Look at your number of transactions* to see how big your mobile software commitment should be.

*Transactions are defined as every data point being collected on paper, spreadsheets, CRM and the ERP/accounting software.