Field Service Management is the hot new thing, many new software companies provide it as the new tool you need for effectively managing your field staff. Some provide it as a SaaS solution, typically for small companies that have around 50 resources or less and some are that are at enterprise level and are significantly larger, have more complex processes and require more customization to implement. These types of organisations are looking for an on-premise solution and are less likely to use the cloud (SaaS).
So what are the main criteria when choosing a solution for managing your field force resources?
First of all you want to be able to see where everyone is and what they are doing at any given time. Traditionally, managing a resource pool involved a whiteboard, stickers, post-it notes etc. This old-school way meant that you would run out of space very quickly when your resource base grew and secondly, you are restricted to visibility within that room. No one can see the whiteboard if they are not physically in the same room. This is a huge restriction, so using a software solution is the ideal answer to this problem by providing all users with a full (and detailed) view of the schedule.
Working together means sharing resources and getting help from other areas in case of emergency or just when you need to balance the work load or save on traveling costs.
The only way this can be achieved effectively is by putting everything in one bucket (i.e. one system), a system that doesn’t allow you to have all your resources in one place will not fit the bill.
With a solution in place, one user can access all the resources, make decisions and action them from any location, this is due to the centralized nature of the implemented system.
Many businesses are already short-staffed and under pressure so why add to that pressure by having to re-enter data when it can be automated? Automation means making the process flow without any user having to make any actions.
For example, you need to dispatch work automatically when work is ready to go out to the field. Tickets that are in this state can be automatically dispatched to an allocated resource without a user pressing a button.
Automation can also be used to trigger a completion process. When a job is done the payment and invoicing process should start without delay, it also means that you’ll never forget to collect a payment! An invoice can be created upon completion and sent to the client. Automating processes can also reduce human error.
Your business is unique, if you cannot model the process you have and the data (forms) you use, than you are restricting your overall operations. No two businesses are the same and a large level of flexibility is required for best performance.
Here are some examples of flexibility to look for;
- Modeling your data, this means the forms you use, the data you collect from your customers and the data you provide to your technicians.
- Extending processes, all systems come with internal process in mind, they operate best when used in a specific way. However, this process doesn’t suit everyone, some need to inject steps into the process, for authorization or validation and need to have this flexibility to model inside the systems flow.
I hope we gave you some useful tips on how to choose a good solution for your business. Like we have said, not all solutions are a good fit for everyone. But by following the right questions through, it will lead you to the most effective solution for your business.