Mobile field workforce

True intuitive expertise is learned from prolonged experience with good feedback on mistakes.”
Daniel Kahneman

The field workforce is one of the most important components of any CSP but is often forgotten by OSS exponents. Afterall, they are the ones who go to site and physically touch the network every day – they build it, connect it, fix it, modify it and maintain it.

But when it comes to OSS, historical workforce management tools have been little more than schedulers of tasks (dispatch). Similarly, the feedback to the OSS from the field workforce had tended to be limited to logging completion of the job and possibly some supporting notes, references or artefacts.

Unfortunately, the old model missed out on the opportunity of continual improvement via strong feedback, as described in an earlier blog entry entitled “Synchronicity.”

However, technological advances could help CSPs to close this feedback gap without overloading the workers with additional data capture:

  • Smart-phones and tablets with Internet access
  • Cloud-based services (eg IaaS, SaaS, etc)
  • GIS tools with interactive red-line mark-up functionality to provide instant feedback to network / service designers in head-office (rather than waiting days for marked up drawings to come back from the field)
  • Location-based sensors (eg GPS) and other automatic information gathering techniques
  • Other data acquisition tools such as scanners, NFC / RFID / barcode readers, etc

Tomorrow we’ll discuss why providing the right knowledge to the field workforce is so important, and you might be surprised to know that it’s not relating to the technical aspects of doing their job.

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