Keeping the Lights On – Literally. Using ServiceNow Facility Maintenance and Field Service Systems in Higher Ed

4 minute read

With students gearing back up for yet another school year, it’s safe to say there’s a lot of uncertainty. University, institutions, school districts, and the likes all face the same challenges they did before the COVID-19 pandemic; however, they’re only now accelerated. Yet, the glitz and glamour of the campus experience is somewhat returning to normal. Campuses are scheduling move-in days, holding campus tours, and the undeniable anxiety of the first day of class creeps into so many students across the world. Teachers and Professors anxiously make the final touches on their curricula, administrative staff gears up for the influx of questions and lawns are being mowed.

Yes. Lawns are being mowed.

Often overlooked, but crucial to so many campuses worldwide, facility teams and field service staff are often the unsung heroes on campuses worldwide. Sure, they aren’t “glitzy” or “glamorous” – but make no mistake – they literally keep the lights on.

 

Facilities Maintenance in Higher Education

Maintenance and service quality in the Higher Education market plays a crucial role in the modernization of any campus experience, and people don’t often realize the work required to maintain just a single location. Not to mention several locations if you consider one of Crossfuze’s Field Service customers that supports over 145,000 students, 22,000 dedicated professionals, and over 230 schools across 384 square miles. These teams generally maintain all the non- IT assets sprinkled across every inch of campus. Every single desk, light, fire extinguisher, electrical outlet, lawnmower, sink, etc. is maintained by the facilities team. Their teams are stuffed full of extremely qualified personnel ranging from HVAC technicians and plumbers to electricians, carpenters, and landscapers. So why are these teams so overlooked?

First, customer service and help desk strategies aren’t always aligned with field service work. There’s a disconnect. These tradesmen and women aren’t sitting behind a desk, they’re not fielding admissions and scholarship requests in an air-conditioned building, or even interacting with students and faculty all that much. They’re constantly on the fly managing planned maintenance schedules that have likely been in place for years. They’re a truly mobile group, hopping from location to location solving problems that other people can’t. And the worst part is that they’re generally operating on a completely different work order system than everyone else if any work order system at all!

Second, they live in a world where safety and compliance are always a concern, and every visit they take is surely an inconvenience for whoever is on the other end. (Let’s assume that the students on the first floor in the dorm aren’t cheering when the second-floor plumbing pipes burst, or that natural sciences staff isn’t willing to sweat out a few lectures while the AC unit in their building is out) Given they’re not aligned with the rest of the support services on campus, field technicians often show up delayed not knowing what replacement part is needed, prompting a costly follow-up visit, that leads to an undocumented break-fix process with no visibility.

Not the ideal operating model. So, what’s the solution?

 

ServiceNow Facilities Management

ServiceNow Field Service Management helps universities manage all their location-based work efficiently and safely while integrating seamlessly with ServiceNow Customer Service Management (CSM) and IT Service Management (ITSM) to connect the campus support and help desk teams with the field service technicians in times of criticality. Crossfuze has assisted several customers in the education vertical on their field service journeys, and we’ve found a couple of common threads that our customers are looking to achieve:

  1. Visibility From Start to Finish

Imagine a world where any user can report a faulty thermostat, get an email confirmation when their request has been received, be notified when the technician is on their way and be greeted with a replacement in less than an hour. ServiceNow can leverage its platform capabilities to ensure this entire process is consolidated into a single workflow, based on your institution’s requirements.

  1. Plan Assignment Efficiently

ServiceNow’s Dynamic Scheduling and Dispatcher Workspace abilities make it possible to assign tasks to the most qualified technician using a set of easily configurable rules that consider a specific skill, proximity to the location, and several other critical factors without the need of a dispatcher.

  1. Empower Field Technicians with Mobile Capability

Field Service Management includes an intuitive, native mobile interfaced designed for facility and maintenance teams to quickly view and record information. From iOS or Android smart devices, field service technicians can accept and reject tasks, track travel and work time, display tasks or parts using map views, and access and modify their schedules.

  1. Find Inventory and Parts

Work Order tasks in the field will inevitably require a replacement or modification of an existing asset. ServiceNow Asset Management provides a single repository for assets and standard inventory control processes. Features such as threshold-based stock replenishment and procurement ensure that parts are always available.

  1. Improve Performance with Reporting

Field Supervisors can easily customize reports and dashboards to real-time insight into utilization and capacity, while better understanding what types of requests are being made to identify strategic opportunities.

Field Service isn’t the centerfold of the recruitment brochure, but universities and institutions need this team to function successfully. As the focus on the student experience and digital engagements continue to grow, Crossfuze believes field service teams need to be part of those conversations. One could argue that they play just as big a role as the educators themselves, keeping students and faculty safe, secure, and comfortable during their time at your campus by literally keeping the lights on 365 days a year.


 

Thomas Hunt Headshot

Thomas Hunt is a results driven ServiceNow expert who’s delivered and solutioned hundreds of complex ServiceNow implementations in large Enterprise environments. Thomas has a deep passion for helping clients in their digital transformation journeys and solving real-world problems. He has spent the last 8+ years stepping up to meet the demands where Enterprise and Customer Service worlds collide, and his experience within the ServiceNow ecosystem ranges from Professional Services and Business Process Consulting positions to Architecture Design and Practice Leadership roles. What Thomas enjoys most is developing unique solutions to help customers achieve the most value from their ServiceNow Customer Service Management investments.

 

 

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