Last month, our blog “Buying Software When Expertise Clashes With Hype” discussed how some Field Service Management vendors may be confusing potential buyers and blurring the lines between what functionality their products really have. The problem for buyers is therefore obvious – and worrying – given that careers often rest on the success of this type of investment decision.
But in response to this blog we received the following statement and challenge: “This is an accurate appraisal that outlines the problem for buyers but it offers no guidance. What we really need to have is some direction about where to go from here.” So what does a buyer do? Where do they go for additional advice and guidance? In this blog, we will rise to the challenge posed by these questions and lay a path for guiding their future procurement decision.
Let’s start at the very beginning. A buyer needs to be fully prepared and educated about the market and the vendor landscape before looking for extra sources of support and information. And that means extensive desk-based research – trawling the Internet, reading brochures, engaging with LinkedIn discussions, watching videos, interviewing vendors…you get the picture. The reason why this step is essential is because an educated buyer – even at this most simplistic level – will make a better decision even when engaging with external consulting bodies.
And for the ultimate in a delegated experience, the buyer can contract the services of consultants – such as Accenture, Cap Gemini, and Deloitte – to manage the research process and highly influence the investment decision. While this approach can be super expensive, sometimes you also have to question whether the research and investment decision would be any different from the one that would have been arrived at yourself – essentially, do the consultants really know more than you do? Still, at least there’s someone to pass the buck to if all goes wrong, but that’s a negative attitude because, ultimately, this is all about making the right decision at the first time of asking, regardless of the means for getting to the decision.
Fortunately, additional help is at hand from the leading industry analysts and their tools such as Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Field Service Management and Info-Tech Research Group’s Field Service Automation Vendor Landscape. This type of independent research has a huge significance in the market in terms of influencing the buyer and directing the vendors towards potential gaps in their offerings and their weaknesses vis-à-vis the competition.
But as with everything, a buyer should not rely solely on someone else’s research and opinion. Analysts and consultants may well be as misguided and influenced as anybody else so while these alternative sources of information may be attractive and useful, they are not definitive and should be used to complement the buyer’s own educated thoughts and not replace them.
Overall, there’s no definitive answer. The buyer needs to do what’s right – and best – for them. But what are your experiences of buying Field Service Management software?