The selection of a field service management system that meets the needs of your company is one of incredible importance. In this installation of our serialisation of The Service Manager Handbook (2015 edition) published by Advanced Field Service we look at some of the key considerations field service managers should be aware of when selecting their own field service management systems…
Whatever your goals – growth, increased efficiency, cost savings or improved customer satisfaction – you differentiate your business by demonstrating flexibility and responsiveness to customers’ needs.
The latest advances in service management technology provide businesses with increased opportunities to automate processes, uncover new revenue streams and add value for customers.
The power to transform your business
Questions to ask your management team:
- When was the last time we thoroughly investigated and evaluated our business processes?
- Can we accurately pinpoint where time is being spent or which are the most/least profitable areas of the business?
- Can we say with confidence that all of our teams are consistently working at optimum efficiency?
Successful service managers maximise their use of available technologies to eliminate unnecessary manual processes, such as making multiple entries of the same information. Freed from laborious, manual administration, such as timesheets, your staff can spend time on higher value tasks.
Moving to a modern, secure and reliable service management solution will enable your organisation to significantly improve its productivity through streamlining processes and cutting costs.
A note on cloud: Cloud-based solutions, where IT resources and services are accessed via the web, remove the need for the software to be physically located on your premises or in a data centre. Increasingly, service businesses are using cloud-based applications and enabling their engineers to access and enter data via the cloud field.
Finding the right software for you
With what might seem an overabundance of software providers promising the earth, how can you go about finding the solution that’s right for your business, both now and in the future?
Here are some pointers…
Prioritise: Internally agree which processes you are looking to automate and improve, and make these requirements your priority. Think, too, about where you want to be and what you want to be able to do tomorrow, so you don’t get ‘boxed in’ by your purchase within a few short years.
Get buy in: Establish a product steering group that includes people from across the business who will either use or be affected by the implementation of a new system.
Requirements: Look at your requirements against the supplier’s feature lists.
Integration:Modern software solutions can no longer afford to work in isolation. Explore the areas where information needs to be shared across multiple systems.
Culture: Do not underestimate how the culture of your company will be affected. Explain to your staff the rationale for the change and how it will benefit them.
Expertise: Pick a supplier who has relevant experience in your industry and can provide references.
Create a shortlist: Once you’ve compared potential software packages against your key requirements, draw up a shortlist of your preferred vendors, who you will invite to demonstrate how their solution could work for your business. Ideally, this should be three maximum.
Planning: Be realistic about the time it will take for your system to be fully up and running and how much involvement will be required internally.
Support: Ensure your supplier provides you with timely ongoing support once you have implemented the solution.
Supplier stability: Pick a supplier with the resources to support all of their clients with day-to-day technical assistance, while still having a dedicated development team for producing new versions to continuously improve the software and keep it aligned to changing industry requirements.