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Roadmaps to the future: why you need to understand where both you and your providers are heading…

Sep 26 • Features, Software and Apps • 1033 Views • No Comments on Roadmaps to the future: why you need to understand where both you and your providers are heading…

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Nick Shipton, Dynamic Resource Scheduling Executive, Kirona explains the importance of understanding your providers own roadmap for development when selecting a field service management solution…

The last piece I wrote for FSN focused on how I believe it’s important to utilise a scheduler that is flexible enough to allow for an organisation to cope with the different types of demand whilst still enabling customer expectations to be met and being as efficient as possible regarding how that demand is dispatched to the workforce.

For a leading field service scheduling software vendor ensuring that the software we provide ticks all these boxes is a challenge. We need to be certain that we are meeting our customer’s expectations by providing not only excellent support and service but also an innovative roadmap that keeps them engaged and moving forward on the solution ensuring they maximise their ROI and continue to deliver further efficiencies.

However there is also the need to look to new markets and prospects whose needs may differ from those of our core business.

We need to look at the solution as an enabler that enables our customers to retain a position that is at the forefront of their markets, whether that is in giving them a commercial edge or in the case of our customers in the public sector enabling them to cope with the additional strain on services

The key is that we need to look at the solution as an enabler that enables our customers to retain a position that is at the forefront of their markets, whether that is in giving them a commercial edge or in the case of our customers in the public sector enabling them to cope with the additional strain on services, cuts in budgets and yet still give their customers the best possible service.

At Kirona we of course have a roadmap looking at the short, medium and long-term but for me its key that we look outside of our own internal team to drive the content of these, especially in regards to the short and medium term roadmap.

The long term roadmap is more strategic but still contains some customer consultation.

We have an excellent internal team on both the scheduling and mobile products who are constantly looking at new features driven by their own knowledge of our technology, the knowledge of our customer base and knowledge of new advances in our field.

However it’s very important that we don’t get too carried away before trying to understand whether our innovation is relevant to the customers and prospects needs.

Quite often you’ll find that exciting new features in products are great for the Sales Team as they look good in demos but when it comes to the day to day operations we find that users never see the benefits they were expecting.

For this reason at Kirona we always look to use the excellent forum of our user group to both plot and direct our roadmap.

Over half of our roadmap is fed by ideas and requirements from our current user base, and we also ensure that in every update we have between 30% and 50% of customer lead enhancements as this is key to ensuring that the product stays relevant for our customers, as listening to our customers is key and one of the main reasons we have such great customer retention and satisfaction.

Coming back to my original point, how do we as a software company ensure that what we offer gives the customer the flexibility they need in the product, and ensure that we as a company don’t go down a route that only offers a solution to a niche market.

For the answer to that question it’s about ensuring that we are selling into a diverse range of markets, but with the caveat that we always sense check whether any new market and new functionality for that market could be used across our customer base.

I feel it is very important that when looking for software its key that you don’t just look at the solution itself, you need to ensure that the solution isn’t getting stuck in a cul-de-sac

This extends further when you then look at our user group, which five years ago was exclusively public sector organisations and from that sector almost primarily housing repairs, whereas now we have representation from retail, healthcare, utilities, central government and facilities management organisations.

The important point for us as a software company is that all these different sectors are using the same suite of products just configured to suit their own needs and requirements, and from our customers point of view they get to see how other organisations are not just using the software in a different way but also that actually the goals and requirements of organisations from different sectors are not too far away from their own.

So in conclusion I feel it is very important that when looking for software its key that you don’t just look at the solution itself, you need to ensure that the solution isn’t getting stuck in a cul-de-sac and the provider is challenging themselves, their customers and their prospects to offer you a future.

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