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Field Service: Death by a thousand paper cuts?

by Satish Reddy
CEO, Aha Apps

Field technicians that use pen and paper to record data suffer the proverbial “paper cuts” and possibly “pen stabs” (I made that up) as they try to deliver great service to their clients. Not every field service organization may be eager to modernize today, but there is a lot to learn by exploring the requirements, concerns, and various pain points that field workers and managers are facing today.


Using pen and paper to record data is not easy when you’re carrying a toolbox and thinking about a gazillion problems you need to solve. So why do teams still do it?

Status quo

Is there a better way? Glad you asked.

Consider companies in facilities management, manufacturing, household goods, industrial machinery & equipment, and energy. It’s a herculean task for management to achieve the escape velocity* needed to launch a company into growth mode. And the use of paper-based forms and processes by field technicians just adds gravitational force that works in opposition to those goals.

Let’s talk about some industry use cases where pen and paper is inefficient and hinders growth.

Example 1: Facilities

Facilities management providers tend to record data either manually or with a laptop. They are usually performing procedures and filling out forms to verify that they’ve cleaned the systems that were inspected. Most of the time they need signatures to meet quality control requirements.

Example 2: Home Improvement

How about a company in the home improvement or interior design services sector? They tend to take measurements of rooms and record information about the conditions of the property.

Example 3: Manufacturing

In the manufacturing industry, mobile apps provided by ERP systems are pretty clunky. At the end of the day or week you end up doing cleaning and reconciliation  of inventory and order-related data, which can be very painful and time consuming. A bad digital interface is sometimes worse than having pen and paper.

Example 4: Property surveying

What about the surveyor roaming from property to property with no cell phone coverage? Oh, please give him a break (or an iPhone so he can at least play solitaire). Field mobile apps without a trustworthy offline mode may actually be worse than analogue note taking and data gathering.


Some field service teams may not want to find a better solution. Here are some reasons you may encounter:

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About Satish Reddy

With over 25 years of experience as a software developer and entrepreneur, Satish enjoys solving big problems with simple tools. He founded Aha Apps in 2010 to help businesses streamline their operations with Microsoft Dynamics CRM.
As the Founder and CEO of Aha Apps, Satish leads a team of experts in Dynamics CRM for sales, field service automation, customer service, and marketing. Under his leadership, Aha Apps has helped clients across various industries, such as sports teams, hospitality/entertainment, manufacturing, utilities, healthcare, and construction, to improve productivity, efficiency, and customer satisfaction while saving costs.

More about Satish Reddy