There are all sorts of challenges when selecting the right work order software. Field service management has many different needs and wants. Each business is different, and each delivers a different kind of service. Service providers have to meet increasing customer demand and are turning to work order software to meet it. So, they need access to many different features to meet those demands. They also need to consider the larger picture within their own organization and other systems at play.
With new technology always emerging, field service management businesses need software that is flexible, mobile and customizable. As the industry evolves, so too, must the software that supports it. Field service management is introducing new tools, such as the Internet of Things (IoT), Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality tools. So, work order software needs to be able to handle these emerging technologies, amongst many other things.
When looking for a field service management solution today, it requires a new approach and a lot of thought. The selection process can be difficult. Firstly, it’s deciding what you can’t live without. Secondly, it’s about the things you want your work order software to do. And finally, it’s about how it will help you in the future. However, there are some capabilities your work order software should have and features to be looking out for.
Integrated Work Order Software
No matter the size of your service business, you normally have more than one software at work. And that is on top of your work order software. Accounting software, CRM and ERP software such as NetSuite, Microsoft GP, QuickBooks and Salesforce are found all across the field service management landscape. They are critical to the success of work order software as the majority of important information is coming from them. Customer and employee information, vendor contacts, parts and inventory and the accounting system need to be integrated into the work order software.
So, your work order software needs to have the capability to integrate with those systems and any more you need to be successful. The level of integration your work order software has, the more your employees don’t need to have multiple systems open. They can live in a system that is important to them. And then let automation handle the rest. If your work order software isn’t easily integrated with other solutions, you’re not getting the full capabilities out of your software that you should be.
Field service management should be flexible. The industry continues to change, and new tools and technology are becoming available every day. So, your work order software needs to be able to handle those changes. And the way to achieve that is through custom workflows. Having a static work order management software means you have a static service business. If you can’t change how your work order software processes, you can’t change how the business operates. And change is always happening in service.
Also, with each business operating differently, work order software needs to be customizable to your business. How you perform service is different than how your competition performs it. So, your software needs to be able to handle a different process. As new technology enters the field service industry, you want to be able to integrate that with what you currently have. In the end, you want to create a true, end-to-end field service management solution that handles everything from work orders to billing.
Just as Flexible with Mobile
Mobility is not a should have, it’s a must-have. That’s because so much of work order software is designed around field service mobile apps. From technicians in the field to third-party vendors and subcontractors, there isn’t a person in the field who can’t use a mobile app. Using mobile tools reduces administration time and eliminates paper-based work orders. It turns your field service management team into an on-demand service team.
However, you also want your mobility to be flexible and able to adjust to change. New technology in mobile is coming every day. In the past, field service management businesses were buying their workforce new cell phones. Today, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is a growing trend, all because mobile apps can be downloaded from Google Play and iPhone App Store. Any mobile device and tablet can be turned into a work order management machine. With that, technicians are completing checklists, reviewing service history and parts information, and closing off work orders. It’s also a vital part of their scheduling and dispatching. Be flexible in your mobile strategy and have it work with your software to achieve the best results.
When choosing a work order software, it should have the ability to be a cloud-based system. That’s because you want to be able to access your software from anywhere, at any time. Cloud-based software makes it easier to upgrade, add additional features and offers the greatest flexibility. With service organizations being highly mobile, with employees in many different locations, it’s important to have a work order software that can be in all those locations as well.
Cloud-based systems offer the ability for field service management teams to scale up or down as needed. As updates happen, changes can be made across the entire system. Think of how much work and IT personnel you would need to upgrade each computer in your business when your work order software is updated. With cloud-based software, it’s faster to upgrade and get everyone the same features. That way, everyone is working on the same platform, with the same tools and the same information.
Access to Emerging Technology
As mentioned before, new technology is being added all the time to work order software. IoT, AR and VR are the largest three, as well as Artificial Intelligence and data analytics systems. So, the question becomes, is your work order software capable of working with those systems? As mentioned with integrations, your software needs to be able to integrate with different systems. And that includes these new emerging technologies.
When looking towards the future of field service management, having IoT, AI and mobile capabilities are going to be important. It’s how the industry will drive forward. It’s going to be more automation technology to make the lives of the people working in it easier. So, if you’re looking at work order software, this is an instance where you need to be thinking of technology today, and in the future, to ensure your software is ready to support what may not even be developed yet.
Meet Your Needs
The capabilities your software has to meet your needs. What it should have are the tools you need to automate your processes and make your technicians lives in the field easier. Have a more transparent business that works together from every department. And get the functionality that will drive your business into the future. It’s important to be flexible with your software functionality so that when the future of field service management changes, you are ready to change with it.