In the field service management and mobile workforce management industries, investing in scheduling, optimization, and mobility solutions is often a straightforward decision that’s based on the premise that the service business will become more efficient and increasingly competitive while reducing operating costs. And because most of these assumptions are measurable – such as completing x% more jobs per day, reducing headcount by y%, or increasing customer acquisition by z% – it’s simple to calculate the overall financial value to the business from investing in such technologies. That is, there is a logical and transparent method for calculating the overall Return On Investment – ROI – meaning that the investment proposal has a greater chance of being justified and ultimately approved – with budget granted – by the company’s executives.
So that’s the easy part: but what happens when you seek to expand the investment by also implementing a world-class database auditing tool such as Observato? Here, the ROI is somewhat less obvious. How does a field service business justify this additional expenditure which it’s hard – if not impossible – to attribute a dollar value to an improvement of some kind in the business? Let’s put this another way: where exactly is the ROI?
The beauty of database auditing is that the tool is collecting data and storing this to help the business improve, comply with regulations, and to understand what happened if something were to go wrong. In a perfect world, this data is therefore stored and monitored without a seemingly active role to play so the natural question is simple: why bother?
This is easily answered when a business considers the cost of failure. Let’s take Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. and its affiliated clearing firm, American Enterprise Investment Services Inc. (AEIS) as an expensive example.
Earlier this year, FINRA – The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority – fined these organizations
$750,000 for failing to have reasonable supervisory systems in place is penalty goes on to explain that “Ameriprise and AEIS failed to establish, maintain and enforce supervisory systems designed to review and monitor the transmittal of funds from customer accounts to third-party accounts. The firms did not have policies or procedures to detect or prevent multiple transmittals of funds going to third-party accounts, instead re to monitor wire transfer requests and the transmittal of customer funds to third-party accounts.
The announcement about the system
relying on a manual review of wire requests without the benefit of exception reports that could have helped to discern suspicious patterns. Ameriprise and AEIS also failed to adequately track or further investigate wire transfer requests that had been rejected.
We don’t know the exact details of the system failures at Ameriprise however one thing is perfectly clear: this data-driven failure was completely avoidable. Database auditing tools capture this transactional data and it can clearly identify duplicate transactions but by not investing in the right solution, the cost of failure has clearly far outweighed the investment.
While this example is not a field service business itself, there are however many such businesses within the utility, telecommunications and insurance industries who are liable for such fines – sometimes huge fines – for failing to comply with regulations that relate to customer and field service issues.
So the question therefore is not “What is my ROI to justify investing?” it is instead “What is the potential cost of failure to my business from not investing?”