Does your Service Desk Fit in your Pocket?

April 24, 2014

Extend the reach of your Service Desk to your Mobile Support Teams. Join us for the fifth in our six part FrontRange UK Webcast Series "Change is in your Hands" hosted by UK Solutions Consultant Peter Coote.


Kirsty: Hello everyone and welcome to the FrontRange BrightTALK channel. Thanks for choosing to join us today my name is Kirsty Grant and I'm in the marketing team here at Frontrange and based in the UK. Before I hand over to Pete, our speaker for today, today's presentation is the fifth in our six part webinar series, "Change is in your hands." With several useful resources to accompany the series, which I'll share with you at the end of the webinar. If you have any questions during the webinar today, please type these into the question pot and we'll provide answers at the end.
So with that, I'll hand over to our speaker for today, Peter Coote.
Peter: Thanks, Kirsty. Before I start please let me introduce myself. My name is Peter Coote, I've worked in technology industry for 25 years, initially in IT within the oil sector, and then running my own IT training and consultancy business. I'm joining FrontRange nine years ago, I had a role as a technical trainer, I then progressed on to be the emer [SP] education manager and a global education architect. 
I now help in the business as part of the global sales and partner enablement team. And I have been a Microsoft-certified trainer and developer. [inaudible 00:01:23] of knowledge most of my working life. Currently, my focus is for this management, client management, and mobile device management. But feel free to reach out to me after this event if you need any more information.
Before we begin here is just a quick introduction to FrontRange for those who may not know us. FrontRange has been a leading provider of Hybrid IT software solutions for over 20 years. With our suite of HEAT applications, FrontRange is the only company in the world that provides from a single platform, service management, and client management software on-premise and in the cloud. 
HEAT manages millions of service interactions and millions of devices every day for over 15,000 organizations around the world. FrontRange has their headquarters in the United States, we also have an emer headquarters based in Newbury, England where I'm presenting from today. 
So let's begin. Can a full-service desk fit in your pocket? Hopefully, you can see from the graphic that we're kind of using that color literally from a vision point of view. Okay, we know that that's not really possible, but we do know your service desk technicians can always be at their desk...can't always be at their desk. We also believe that going on a service call shouldn't mean that they have to go off the grid. 
Today I'll talk about who is connected to each other and what they really care about. When looking at the possibilities of delivering a full-service desk capability regardless of where you are working from. Bringing them all together I'll show you examples of how FrontRange HEAT Mobile Field Service turns a handheld smartphone into a mobile service desk client allowing technicians to take the office with them where ever they go. 
Let's look at those who need to be connected. Research is showing us that 37% of people work from multiple locations. Here you can see a typical modern day scenario where managers, technical staff, and customers could be working from the office, from home, from a coffee shop. They are in different locations and using different devices. At various times they may be tethered to the network and the service desk or untethered but ideally, their experience of interacting with the service desk should be consistent.
Their needs will be different so we need to look at each of them individually. So the manager wants an efficient way to schedule resources with dynamic approval and the ability to track the team's activity no matter where they are. The technical team need all the resources they want at their fingertips as and when they need it plus the ability to easily record the work they've done and find the work that needs to be done. Customers have the ability to access self-service from their desk or their phone when they want to keep up-to-date with the status of their calls. 
When we look more closely within these three groups, you should also include field engineers, service desk agents, maybe even change managers, there are many other roles that also fit into this category. But just breaking it down into managers, customers, and technicians will allow us to look at the slightly different perspectives that they each have. 
Let's look at how these three groups are connected. The current situation in many businesses allows the user to communicate in many different ways. For example by phone, email, texting, tweeting, even online chat software. These are normally different disparate systems with no connection between the data being created in each one. This is a real challenge. We know that people have laptops while they're out of the office but these are not always easy to access while traveling or even when on site. So increasingly they use mobile phones and tablets.
They have smaller screens and the content may have to be designed for particular devices. Some technology is proprietary and this adds additional challenges. So just going through and maybe giving some examples might of thinking about this. 
I want to use an example of a company that services buses. They run something very similar to the Oyster Card and in their situation, their engineers spend a lot of time out at night working on bus depots. They normally attend the bus depots around midnight, 1:00, 2:00 in the morning. And they found using laptops was potentially risky, it raises their exposure to robbery and assault, so sitting in their vans with an iPad or an iPhone was preferable. 
So they have moved across using a mobile field service solution so that they can access those from the Ipads very quickly. They can then connect to the data that they need to access and they can actually go through the process of working on the various activities that need recording. So by using this example, what it's really trying to show is that technology will change, there will be different devices for different circumstances and sometimes you'll have a device that's more appropriate. 
So looking at each of these three groups, in more detail in terms of mobility, what does the manager care about? The manager cares about, "How can I leverage mobility to empower my technical teams?" The manager may care about, "How I can enhance their ability and be more efficient? How do I improve my service level agreements? Will this increase our competitive advantage? What investments will I need in both people, processes, and technology?" Also, the manager cares that the data is safe, accurate and up-to-date as they may need to schedule resources. 
So thinking around those, the manager wants to make sure that they're on top of all of the information that's being placed in the system by all the different users. They may have approvals ratings and do not want to delay their team so they. So they want to be able to access those approvals and they can do that in a number of different ways. Sometimes simply getting an email and replying to it isn't enough, maybe they need to access the approval, review the data that's on that approval, and then once they've had a chance to review it and understand more clearly what is expected of them, they can then approve or deny through a field service tool. 
They want to be able to report on the current state of things, so what's the ability to track the team, and the ability to monitor the activity no matter where they are.
The technical staff want visibility of their own activity and of their team. Without it, this can be difficult, so they may have to plan a long journey or access equipment before and during their visits. They don't want to waste their own time or that of their customer. They want to record the work that they've done as they do it. It will be more reliable and less prone to mistakes if captured at the time rather than at some sort of period later. 
So as an example, I worked many years ago with a company who had printers and services up in the Scottish Hebrides. So one of their challenges was they would often send an engineering and it could take maybe half a day to a day to get an engineer on site. So they needed to A, know that any information is accurate that they're working on, the agent wanted to be in a position, the engineer wanted to be in a position. But if while they were there they needed to go to a different island, they would be able to go and have access to all the key material. 
Historically, the information that we had was maybe controlled through making phone calls. But again there can be loss of information in the explanation over a phone from someone who may not be as up-to-date with what's involved to the field engineer who has a better understanding of what he's trying to work on or she's trying to work on. 
So there were always opportunities for problems with the information transfer. I even wrote a system many years ago which allows an agent to report back but it was all very much sending messages, importing those messages into a system and then it was a very manual process if that information didn't successfully go in. So moving away from that and trying to meet the key requests and key responses for the technical staff is really important. 
The third group sometimes gets overlooked but actually, they play an important part. It's what the customer cares about, the customer really wants to have visibility of this information. So they want to ask questions like, "Is it ready? What's happening? Can I update my request? Are they meeting my expectations?" And you need a tool that ultimately allows them to have the visibility, it doesn't have to be the complete visibility that may be a field engineer has, or the service desk may have, it may not require the same relationship that the manager expects to the data. But the name and the process of what they're after is they want some control, some visibility of that information. So we have to take them into consideration. 
So I've talked about who needs to be connected to the service desk and their points of view, all the information they're using must be in one place. This crucial. If you are using multiple forms of communication, I used an example earlier, emails, then that would be in Outlook maybe. Maybe they've been texting, so that will be on someone's mobile phone. Maybe they've been blogging or chatting, that will be again on a different system.The problem is all of this information is relevant, but ultimately it's in different places and not in a single central system. 
So bringing these all together, I would now like to talk about FrontRange service management solution which includes a mobile phone field service. HEAT Mobile Field Service allows you to extend the reach of the service desk into the mobile field environment. It interacts with the core service management solution via Apple iPads and iPhones and provides both online and offline usage mainly for the mobile services.
So if you look at the slide you can see that we have some HEAT mobile benefits; the ability to have instant data logging, faster service delivery, we want to get to the position where we can actually repair things more quickly or meet the customer's expectations more quickly. Better reporting and tracking is gonna be crucial, information is king here. Empowering the technician, we don't always want the technician to have to report back to base, we want them to be in a position where they can see what needs to be done and when it needs to be done and they can just act on that. 
Improve response times. Sometimes if you're waiting for someone to respond to an email, that adds a delay. If you send them a text message and they're busy they may not respond. So we need to be in a position where they can see what's going on and clearly understand and respond quickly where possible. 
We want to increase the customer satisfaction. Customers are what it's all about so we need to make sure that the customers understand why the team is maybe running late on something, why the team is maybe busy working on a particular process and give them some idea of expected delivery times so that they can focus their energies elsewhere without constantly having to link back to what's going on."Has it been fixed? Why is it not working yet?" 
And of course, we want to lower service delivery costs. So what I'm showing in this slide is a screen capture from within our product. This is the administrator screen, and I just wanted to give you an idea of visually how it looks. We're very interested in the mobile field services, a core part of our service management. This screen, of course, I'm just going to a second I'll move on but at the moment I just want to give you an overview of the administrator tool.  
It's running from a browser, we've got down the left-hand side we've got various administration tasks, I've highlighted out one, The Mobile Layout which we'll see a little bit more closely. And it just breaks down the security aspects of this. So zoomed in a little bit on the left-hand side of that previous slide, you should see at the bottom left-hand corner the mobile layouts.
And mobile layouts are uniquely designed forms and grids which can be opened up via iPhones or iPads and will allow the user to have an experience which is appropriate to the tablet device that they're on. Whether it be a phone or whether it be a tablet. And we tie them very closely to roles. So in this particular example, the mobile layout that I have on the left is connected to the administrator role, the change manager role. And the number in brackets next to each one represents the different elements or aspects of the product that you can access. 
So the change manager will have when they open up their iPad two different objects within our product they can access, so it could be the change object, it could be the task object. If I go down you'll notice that there's self-service, there's also various other iTool [SP] roles. Helpdesk may have their own and then a field engineer could have their own as well. 
This particular slide allows me to look at the different objects that are associated with the administrator. So an administrator who logs into our product will have access to incident data, they'll have access to the task associated with those incidents, they'll be able to look up information on different employees and various other contact information that's made available. 
But of course, we can add mobile layouts, we can remove them and we can customize the experience to the role precisely. So if we think about the three roles that we're talking about for this demonstration and talk, the technical staff might have quite a few of these, the customer might have simply one but tailored to their needs from a self-service perspective. And maybe the manager might only really be interested in, "Are the incidents being closed off?" So they might only want to see that or they might only be interested in the things that they have to access and approve and the details associated with that. 
So this administration view of the service management tool should allow us to focus on this concept of mobile layouts and the fact that they're connected to roles. So this screen is to enable you to see that the steps needed to create the mobile layouts aren't simply easy to build. It's easy to focus very much on the customer experience of opening an iPad or a phone or looking at the user experience we'll see that in a second. 
But at this point, it's just useful to see that this is being specifically designed to plan for the screen resolutions, and put enough information onto the actual screen. That you can use the system effectively but you don't end up with too much information and you don't end up in a situation where things don't fit. And that's one of the challenges. The nature of our tool, we can also open up these things in browsers.
So you can open up a browser-based tool on your device. So if you have a tablet you can open up google chrome and you can access our tool via that as well. So once you start using the logic of a mobile service and the fact that we have a centrally held system where we're storing all the data, then we have the ability to have different ways that we can bring that data in. This particular screen is focusing on the iPad and the iPhone.
What's clear is down the left-hand edge of the main white square, it's got four steps. So you have to choose which object data you want to share, so in this case, I've chosen to show information which are alerts that an individual may be needing to know. So if I was an agent out in the field, an alert might be very relevant to me. An alert is something that I need to know about. So again information is being shared if I build this mobile layout. 
You give it a title, you then goo through the process of choosing the actual layout screen that you would like to show that defines physically which pieces appear on the screen. And I've got a screenshot later which shows you how easy that is to design as well. And then finally you're allowed to add your own filters. So if I was a manager from a particular team, I only want to see alerts which might affect my area or region. I don't want to be presented with alerts which affect another team or another region. So I can actually place a filter. 
Filters are just searches which can be pre-defined and then selected at this point. So within our tool, these are dedicated strings that can be designed both forms and grinds to allow us to present the data when the customer searches on their device or when the customer adds data through the device.
So what might this look like to a manager? So if the manager has their iPad with them, and they've opened it up, they've logged into our system, then they may be in a position where they can actually make the approval or the denying of a request directly from within the application and this is directly within the app. So what I've done here is I've selected the approval layout that's been created and then after this case, it's not clear to see but then there's an emergency request that's just come in, emergency change that needs to be made in the blue bit. You can see it reflected also into the white bit to the right it says, Emergency Change Approval. 
It's pending at the moment and then the manager has been able to open up access part and then they'll be in a position now where they can change it to an approved, or denied, or canceled state and then they can save. So all of this is being done within the actual application itself. 
Maybe I want to look at it from either a customer but this could also be the same because everything is role driven. So whether it's an agent, whether it's a field engineer, whether it's a change manager, a problem manager, or even as this slide shows, a customer. I can decide how much I want to present to the customer. So you can see in this case, it's got a number of elements running down the side, it's a task, unassigned task, things that come in that matter to them. Whichever it happens to be.  
This might be more appropriate as a slide for a service desk analyst, but you can see the aim is that they get choices. And then on the right-hand side is the actual data that they're interested in. They can then select the elements on the right-hand side and they can start to interact with the data, make whatever changes. So I can see that that there's a 10579 which is to replace a print drum. So if I was a field engineer this would be something that interests me, I can select on it, I can see it's current status as logged, and so I can access it.
You will notice that at the top right there are filters, there's a search box at the top, so just because we present them with a list of tasks or a list of incidents or whatever it may be, they still have some control. Again it's a limited focused view of what they need to know. And you can see from the logo on the left that there are two apps that you can upload onto either your iPhone or your iPad which will allow you to access our solution.
So I said earlier that I would show you a screen that just shows you how easy things are built. This is actually how we configure what does appear on the screen. It is literally a case of selecting the information we want to show from the left and dragging it and dropping it into one of the boxes on the right. So in this case if I'm looking at information to do with an alert, I would see the identifier, that would be maybe the alert number, I would see the summary which might be a short piece of text about the alert, and a fuller description. 
And that's it. We don't give you complex form design, we don't give you any ability to fundamentally change the form. There are a number of very simple frames that you can switch between but fundamentally, you can only put on a limited number of pieces of data that needs to be made available to the agent in the field who is using the solution.
You have some control over various other elements, things like which field controls the filtering. So you saw on the previous slide their was an option to search and that search is controlled by, in this case, the category. So if I type in there, it needs to be a category I type in there. I also can decide which fields control the sort order within the actual solution set. 
So this is quite nice just to give you a very simplistic view, and very limited view of the design components. That's it, there really are no other pieces you need to build, but this fits right within the toolset, it fits right within the service management tool that service desk will be using, but we use the same principals of roles to drive their experience to drive their experience as we do to drive the field agents, the managers and things like that. So we can control different experiences whether they're tethered and they may be using an application, maybe a browser or whether they're out using a mobile device to control this. 
So in summary, it's just worth highlighting where we are and where we're going. There are more devices than ever before. It's so true, I spend a lot of time exposing people to mobile device management. I work with different types of devices all the time and because of that, you need a solution that can work within the many different devices that are out there. 
The technology is well established and secure now, it's not like when I first started to work with this sort of technology where you would be in a position where couldn't guarantee to get a connection back to the office. So even if you'd had a software application on a device out on the field, there was no guarantee that you would actually get that back and connected to the actual office.
Sometimes you would have to wait till you arrived back in the office and then you would have to copy the data manually out of one system and then into another system. And maybe there was a bit of automation to help you there. But these things are now well established. We live in this world of mobile communication so we know it's only going to improve and get better. 
Access to the cloud is increased from more locations, I can sit in a coffee shop, I can be in a car park, I can have my mobile phone and I can tether via my mobile phone. I can have mobile devices that give me Internet connectivity, I can be on a customer's site, get access from their guest account or maybe they'll set me up one specifically while I'm working on the work onsite. So there are a lot of different ways that we can actually connect now, it's the nature of where we're going. 
HEAT is a toolset that's available and can provide those sort of benefits today. So working in the area of field service management we have a tool that's already there and it works in many different ways. So the idea that it fits in your pocket is actually true. You can have a service desk that fits in your pocket.
Okay, guys, I can see that there are two questions, there's now actually three questions in the pot in the pool. So I will have a look at those, so if you just bear with me a second while I look at those and we'll see if I can answer some of those now. Let me just take the first one I've seen. The first one is, is there an Android app being released?
We were in the process of considering developing an Android. At the time that we created the field tool we went through the process of looking at which version of Android would we create it for and at the time there was no real established choice. There were lots and lots of different ones out there and so we made a decision that we would more often than not use if it was an Android device we would use the browser-based technology and then we would use the Internet connectivity and then we would do a simplified... 
And that's the reality, I can create a form, a layout, and grind. It's very similar to what you saw for the iOS but I can also create those as part of my normal service management roles. They will also give me the limited view and the focus. But they're very much using the main product, the main service management product but we would be designing them in a way that would fit with field service management. 
Is the mobile interface... This is the second question. Is the mobile interface only for iOS? And it is. Those components are only for iPads and iPhones. We are an American company, we did start off developing in California much of this software. So iPhones and iPads were prevalent so they were one of the first things that we picked up and technology was developed for. So at the moment, there is no other one supported other than those ones. 
Then there's the third question, this may be more a technical question so it may not be the right forum is how it starts. Is there future plans to the visibility of the dashboards on mobile devices? At the moment you can access forms, layouts, and grids but not the dashboard. Thanks, Chris. In reality, I think that there is no plan to build something like that at the moment. And Chris, I think from that perspective, I think we're going to experience the use of browsers. 
So I on my Android device I have Google Chrome running, and then I access the main product but I designed my forms to run on the Android device within Google Chrome to act and look much more like the iOS version. And in there I will have the ability to use dashboards. The only reality I have to be careful of is, of course, that some tablets use the double click to zoom instead of to select a button. So all of our forms in the latest releases have been designed where if you open up one of the forms and there's a button to choose, you can now select that button and choose an option which opens in preference trying to double click it to make it run. 
So we're moving very much to that and I think the way things are going, the iPad and iPhone is going to be always there but we will expand and work more with the browser-based technologies that can apply to many of the devices that are out there today. I hope that answers your question. Of course, if anyone has got other questions they want to ask, or if there are answers that aren't full here, Chris, you're welcome to contact me and have a personal conversation since you've not only put your name and company there so I can happily talk more about that. 
But hopefully you're using it, I know you have our product. So I know that you're most likely working with this at the moment. So there are no more questions, I will hand over to Kirsty.
Kirsty: Thanks, Pete. We've just got a few final slides to run through to show you some of the resources that are available. If you do have any more questions we can still fit those in before we go offline. So please don't worry about that just type your question in for the next few minutes. So as I mentioned at the start, this is part of a six-part webinar series. To compliment the webinar there is quite a few online resources that you can access today or in the future. 
Firstly, on our website, you'll find lots of demos and free trials of the HEAT Solutions that Chris referred to. There is also a link there to the various videos and white papers as part of "Change Is In YourHands" series. This covers the areas of automation, enterprise mobility, and the optimization of IT. There's also plenty of customer success stories.
Here on BrightTALK, there's a number of recorded webinars that you can watch at any time on demand. You can also sign up for the final of the webinar series which I'll tell you about in a moment. But there's extensive content in there not only in the "Change Is in Your Hands" series but also around other aspects of The HEAT Solutions. 
We have a YouTube channel where you will find plenty of video content. There's videos and presentations on the solutions as well as executive viewpoints from our Chief Executive Officer, John Temple. The white papers are attached with this webinar on BrightTALK so you can get hold of those today and as I mentioned they're also available via our website.
The final webinar in the series will be presented in June. Those of you who have pre-registered it's actually moved now. So it was in May we've now moved it to June. So apologies for that. It's going to be called "From Silos to Services: Integrate your way to efficient IT Service Delivery." So we hope you can join us on the 5th of June, but if not please don't worry about it, you can catch up on demand anytime. 
So, it looks like there aren't any more questions. So, with that, I'll say goodbye and thanks for watching.