Ivan Stano, the COO of Resco.net, was a recent guest on the TechnologyAdvice Expert Interview Series to share his insights on CRM and Field Service Management. The series, which is hosted by TechnologyAdvice’s Clark Buckner, explores a variety of business and technology landscapes through conversations with industry leaders.
Ivan joined Buckner to discuss business technology trends, and the intersection of field service, CRM, and the Internet of Things.
Below are a few highlights from our conversation:
Technology Advice: What trends in the CRM industry have you noticed in the last three to six months?
Ivan Stano: The CRM as a foundation is really growing rapidly in terms of utilization. Thanks to cloud technology, it is viable and it makes sense for smaller and medium companies as well, as they don’t have to invest so much money into these systems. So it’s becoming a big topic for companies of all sizes.
The current trends that we see in the CRM space has a register in companies that involve mobility; one of the most interesting things is how mobile technologies are transforming the utilization of CRM systems.
Nowadays, almost everyone has a smartphone or a tablet, and it’s becoming a necessity to have access to the CRM system through smartphones and mobile devices. So that’s one thing that we see right now.
The other trend that we see, especially this year, is the Internet of Things and how the IOT connects to CRM systems. This is going to be a big topic for the next few years, we see the first utilizations of IOT with CRM systems.
TA: IOT World has a conference that just wrapped up, and we did some interviews with some of the speakers, sponsors, and other attendees, to get different perspectives on IOT. The transition that you’re seeing right now with how CRM can be accessible to anyone anywhere especially out in the field — do you see a relationship between CRM and field service management software?
Ivan: There are three typical scenarios when we talk about mobility. One scenario is the utilization of mobile access to CRM systems, executed by people who use tablets and smartphones. They’re constantly on the move and need to have access to their vital CRM data. The second example are sales professionals that also spend a lot of time out of their offices visiting clients, meeting customers, etc. And the third big topic is the field service technicians, people who also travel a lot, visit sites, do any technical services, cases, etc. and need to be mobile because that’s the nature of their work.
TA: So they’re on the move, and they’re in the field coordinating with their teams and project managers back at headquarters. When you have all these communication pieces, these different people who are working together towards one common goal, what challenges do you see when CRM and field service management start working together? How does software and your company help businesses overcome those challenges?
Ivan: There have been certain stages in the nature of the work of a field service technician out in the field. Previously, they used to carry a pen and paper to document all things that they did. It was quite an old-fashioned approach. Afterwards they used laptops which also was a nice improvement, but it’s not very functional out in the field conditions to fire up a laptop, and you can’t really walk with it and input data. So mobile technologies become a very natural next step, whether those are ruggedized smartphones or tablets.
Smartphones or tablets are something that we carry on us all the time and they just pull it from their pockets they can access a very constant stream of information, they can document the things they need using the features of the smart mobile devices such as camera phone or video. They can capture signatures just using the finger. A good mobile solution also provides lots of functionality in offline scenarios because that’s usually where these people operate – in areas where the reception is really bad or they have almost no service on their mobile devices. So they need to have the information on them all the time.
TA: I just published an expert interview on Embarcadero on how the Internet of Things is changing B2B industries. What is that ratio in connection between tools like Salesforce and also tools like this typical field tech information?
Ivan: So in our case, there are many more uses of mobile technologies for sales professionals than the field techs, and that ratio is around 4 to 1. And I believe it’s mostly because of the nature of the CRM systems. The CRM systems are mostly all about the customers, the interaction with customers from the very beginning: generating leads, working new leads, and transforming them towards customers. And the field sect, where it’s mostly technicians not only working with the CRM systems but usually with ERP systems as well, to document all the work they do, the material they spend, etc.
Listen to the entire show above in order to hear our full conversation, or (download the show) to listen later. You can subscribe to the TA Expert Interview Series via Soundcloud, in order to get alerts about new episodes.
This podcast was created and published by TechnologyAdvice. Interview conducted by Clark Buckner.