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Case Studies

Field Service

Field Service Dispatch - Cable & Wireless
WebSphere-based OLTP System (PDF) - Streamlines System Architecture and Improves Customer Service at Cable & Wireless.

Field Service Dispatch - Time Warner
Time Warner - Field service person dispatch application - Very good business justification numbers cited - 12 technicians completed 2721 more service calls in three months, late arrival fee avoided and more. Utilizes IBM ThinkPad notebooks and AS/400 backend server. 

Field Service Dispatch - Computer Equipment Vendors
IBM was among the first companies in mid 1990s to use mobile technology for customer engineers (who maintain hardware and software). In fact, Motient network was originally set up by Motorola and IBM jointly for this specific application. IBM has over 20,000 engineers equipped with IBM ThinkPad devices.

Xerox equipped all their service representatives in late 90s with wireless-enabled hand-held devices. They can access parts information from their host systems and get their repair schedule without returning to the office.

In early 2001, Sun equipped a small cross-section of its field service engineers (about 50) with a specially-designed handheld appliance from Symbol technologies so that the service engineers can communicate with the head office specialists and parts center. The following details are relevant to Sun's use of mobile technology in their field service application:

  • The initial pilot with 50 engineers is expected to be expanded to 3500 field engineers eventually.

  • The application allows scan bar codes on components in a server, look up information on a handheld device, order parts, or enter comments in the support database. The application 

  • The device was manufactured by Symbol Technologies (it is a modified handheld with a scanner) that is half the size of Palm PC.

  • Sun contracted with Red Hat Inc. to build implementation of the device on Linux OS.

  • Sun outsourced development of its field service support application. The application called FETools is a Java- and XML-based application that interfaces to Sun's backend case management system. The base application includes an Internet  browser and e-mail functionality. 

  • Security is based on encryption and authentication.

  • After initial experimentation, Sun may make this available as a general-purpose field service solution to its customers.

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