Ready to select field service software for your business? Great! Don’t know what to ask? Let industry leaders tell you what they are asking this time around.
Mobile applications continue to dominate the field service management industry and are what industry leaders are targeting when looking to purchase. But that isn’t all they want from their field service management software; they also want it to be in the cloud. How you host your software can make big differences in costs and how you deploy it to your team. Cloud-based field service software has the benefit of:
- Being easier to deploy
- Reducing support costs
- Being less stressful on your IT department
- Having a lower up-front cost
Those benefits are important, but so too are some critical criteria that should be discussed when looking to implement software. These are questions that can, in some cases, make or break your field service delivery. For every work order produced, someone must be able to fill it out, send it back, and have it turned into an invoice. It’s a complex process and not a simple solution. When thinking of buying field service software, here are some criteria.
Ability to Work with Other Systems
When evaluating software such as field service management software, you must think outside the box. No, we’re not talking about the box that software comes in from the store, but the idea of what else your company uses. Field service software isn’t the only software used every day by the people in your organization. There is:
- Tax software
- Accounting software
- Tracking software
- Subcontractor management software
- Sales software
Having mobile field service apps, work order management systems and contract modules are great and normal standard services, however, it’s time to think beyond what just a field service software provides. You need to think of what your service department provides, what they need to succeed, and what you need to increase production.
Tax and accounting software is a common integration with field service software and will be needed to fulfill invoicing. Speeding up work orders is great, but if your invoices are slow going out, it can be havoc on your cashflow. Sales systems can produce projects, work orders, and contracts, and integration is key to connect the two departments. Subcontractor tools that help you push work orders out to third-part systems are a great way to find experienced workers in your area.
There is more software your organization uses to succeed, so don’t forget about them when buying field service software. Integrations can be built to connect them all. It’s important to have a complete platform for service delivery with every software speaking together to help each other in their specific roles.
Work Without a Connection
Having a work order management software is great, except when your technicians can’t fill out work orders due to no service connection because of a new construction, or lack of cell service. It happens more often than you think, and for many reasons, technicians aren’t connected to the Internet. However, they still need to fulfill the requirements of the work order, even without a connection. So, service managers need software that works even when there is no access to the Internet.
A proper mobile field service software will be ready to work even when the Internet isn’t. Work orders can still be opened and worked on, even without a connection, so the technician can complete the job. Once the connection is restored, the information will sync with the field service software and transmit back to head office. Just because they don’t have a signal, doesn’t mean technicians shouldn’t be connected. And a mobile field service software that doesn’t work offline is setting you back to the days of paper-based work orders because that is what you will need to use if the mobile app doesn’t work offline.
Build the Software to Your Needs
No software provider should tell you how to do your business, and no software provider knows your business better than you. If the field service management software can’t be customized to fulfill your needs, it’s time to look elsewhere. Customization is one of the most critical in the field service industry. Everything is different from company to company, and the industry isn’t one-size-fits-all.
- Service rates are different.
- Standard hours differ per company.
- Workflow can change depending on checks and balances.
Users want to know that the service management software they use today can fit the business they have tomorrow. As things change, the software needs to change. Customizations need to be built to facilitate those changes. Getting locked into a software that isn’t customized to your business means you must change to fit it, rather than a software conforming to your needs. It’s all about offering flexibility. A service management software with no bend will have a shelf life. If you’re going to spend a large sum of money on it, you don’t need it to break at the first sign of stress.
What to Ask When Purchasing Field Service Software
Field service management software obviously has plenty of modules, tools, and ways to improve your business. Asking the right questions to ensure the software meets your needs is the challenge. But asking those questions should all follow a similar path: What does your business need to succeed? Not your competition, not a similar company, your business.
Field service software is only as good as the company using it the way they need it to run. We’ve talked about working with other software, working offline, and being flexible. All of those are things you will need to be successful, no matter what industry you are in. But ask the questions that relate to your business because it’s your business that is going to see the drastic changes a field service software brings to your service delivery.