Field Service Automation: Getting Started Guide

Field service is essential to many types of work: healthcare, sales, utilities, maintenance, repair, cleaning, inspections, real estate, construction, and other B2B and B2C services. Field service automation is the use of technology, data, and centralized systems to streamline and improve field service operations.

No matter the specific type of work, field service automation can make complex workflows simpler, more accurate, and more efficient. It is part of the larger digital transformation of field service work, and the right field service automations can increase worker satisfaction, service quality, and cost-effectiveness.

Here are three areas where field service automation can make a difference: 

1. Work order forms

Digitized work order forms are a great place to start—but field service automation takes it a few steps further. 

Filling out a work order is a templated, recurring task that is essential to field service operations. This makes it a great candidate for automation. 

Try automating common tasks like the following:

  • Generate a new work order based on common triggers: new request for service, recurring or scheduled service due soon, preventive maintenance event due soon
  • Close a work order based on common triggers: job marked complete, job marked canceled without being reopened in X days, job type changed to one that requires a different work order template
  • Auto-populate known data, like staff member’s name (from login info), date (from device calendar), job type (from scheduling software), client’s name (from CRM or scheduling software), and arrival time (from GPS location data or job check-in time)

When the work order is complete, automatic routing can send it to the right place based on its status or resolution: completed jobs go to Billing, jobs that require another visit go to Scheduling, unresolved jobs and unique situations go to the employee’s manager.



  • Reduce time spent on admin tasks
  • Increase productivity
  • Increase workforce utilization

2. Field service scheduling

Scheduling plays an important role in digital transformation. When done well, a great scheduling process combined with strategic automations can become a competitive advantage for the business.

Automated scheduling systems handle common scheduling tasks according to priorities and conditions set by company leaders. In practical terms:

  • Example 1: A solar panel repair company wants to get a qualified technician (condition) to the customer’s location as fast as possible (priority), so the system will prioritize the worker(s) with the right qualifications who can reach the job location first. 
  • Example 2: A utility maintenance company wants to increase follow-up consistency and revenue from their preventive maintenance programs (priority), so they establish a trigger (scheduled maintenance event less than 14 days away) for the system to automatically add the job to the field service schedule. 

Automated scheduling tools help create schedules, match the right worker to the job, suggest the best route between jobs, and make adjustments in real-time. When a job runs late or a technician is out unexpectedly, the system can automatically adjust, reassign, or cancel scheduled jobs based on your preferences. 

Automated scheduling accounts for hundreds of data points at once, which reduces human error and potential bias. This allows field service schedulers and managers to create high-quality schedules more quickly.



  • Decrease time to schedule
  • Increase the speed of service delivery
  • Increase staff utilization
  • Improve schedule adherence
  • Increase first-time job resolution rates

3. Sharing data and photos from the jobsite

Field service depends on the mobile experience. In a typical day, field service workers use their phone or tablet to carry out key tasks: 

  • collect signatures
  • take pictures of the jobsite before and after
  • share concepts and design sketches
  • record follow-up appointment needs
  • log equipment usage

These data entry, data collection, and information-sharing workflows need to be built with mobile workers and mobile devices in mind. But unfortunately, many field workers are stuck with subpar technology. More than 60% of utility workers report their workplace technology needs to be updated, and nearly three-quarters of executives think their technology negatively affects workers’ productivity.

Manual work is time-consuming and error prone, which frustrates employees and managers alike. With a more streamlined and user-friendly system, workers are better utilized and more satisfied in their work. 

There are several ways to use automation to simplify field data entry:

  • Automate reminders and prompts that nudge employees to fill out important forms, like job summaries.
  • Suggest or apply the right forms and workflows based on the job type.
  • Pull certain data points, like arrival time, to reduce manual effort.
  • Automatically upload photos taken on the work device (while checked in at the job location) to a secure cloud storage location.
  • Group forms, photos, sketches, and files by client or job type, based on company or worker preference. 
  • When a job or client is reassigned to a new field technician, share the job notes and files with the incoming staff automatically

Data entry is more accurate and more timely when supported by automation, which results in better data for decision-making. 


  • More accurate field service data
  • Faster turnaround on important tasks
  • More efficient information-sharing
  • More prepared workers
  • Higher quality service
  • More satisfied employees
  • More data-informed decision-making

How to implement field service automation

Field service automation has incredible potential—but where to begin?

First of all, know the role of field service automation in the organization. Consider these two scenarios:


Field service  is the core business Most of the work occurs in the field, and most staff are in the field, too. Construction firms, home healthcare agencies, companies that install and service specialty equipment may have 75% or more of their staff spend most of their day in the field with customers.

Field service is central to the business, and automation can be a game-changer. Seek out large automations that affect the full workflow.


Field service supports the core business Field service is a portion of the work, and only a small portion of staff is in the field. For example, an equipment manufacturer has a large engineering and production staff, plus a smaller sales and marketing team—some of whom do outside sales work (visit VIP prospects, conduct live demos, attend trade shows). A handful of mobile workers work in other areas: quality assurance, R&D, logistics.

Field service work is a valuable part of several departments, but it is not the core of the business. Leaders should prioritize simple, time-saving automations that make a genuine difference in the field without trying to change an overarching company workflow or toolset that is not field-centric.


Consider the company dynamics in play: workflows, tools, goals, processes, people, and culture that make up the organization. These dynamics will affect the scope and implementation of field service automations. 

At this stage, follow implementation best practices like clear strategy, ongoing communication, and data-driven assessments of results. Here are some practical tips for implementing field service automations:

Choose the right automations. No matter which starting point you choose, begin with small but meaningful changes that are easy to adopt. Be ambitious, but also realistic, about what you can accomplish with automation.

Get buy-in from stakeholders. Automations with a clear business case are more likely to get buy-in from leadership, so focus on solutions to known problems, especially those with a demonstrable effect on revenue. Ensure employees know the goals, reasons, and intended effect of automations when they are introduced. 

Define the right triggers and responses. In simple terms, a field service automation means “when X conditions are met, the system will perform Y action.” Clearly define the trigger (X conditions) and the response (Y action) when building the automation. Perform QA checks and make changes if the system is not performing the way you expect it to. 

Actively manage the change. Guide employees (and managers) through the change and check in often. Review the results, get feedback, and adjust as needed. 

Build on your successes. Identify the automations that are working well, and explore ways to do more of that. When your implementation process is streamlined and well-tested, put it to work for more advanced automations.

Dive into field service automation

Skedulo offers automated tools to improve field service operations for field workers, schedulers, and managers. Try smart scheduling, route optimization, and automated tasks via an interface built for mobile users: the Skedulo Plus mobile app

On average, Skedulo customers see a 21% increase in productivity and a 28% increase in workforce visibility. Request a demo today to see what makes Skedulo a G2 Leader in Field Service Management for 21 quarters and counting.