Implementing a new software can be a cumbersome exercise. However, with a little more planning and organized approach, one can simplify the complex task of software implementation. A technological change needs to be predefined and validated, before one can actually jump ahead in full force. Standardizing processes go a long way in getting the real impact.
A field service management solution (FSM) is aimed at streamlining the activities of your field force and enhancing the productivity of your field operations. It needs a solid collaboration between systems, technicians as well as customers to work efficiently.
Best Practices: Field Service Management Software Implementation
From our experience in deploying field service software for a variety of customers, we have documented certain pitfalls in field service and ways to overcome them. Here are some best practices to follow for successful implementation of a new Field Service Management (FSM) software:
FSM Best Practice No 1: Review your existing landscape
When you are introducing something new, especially technology, in your organizational landscape, you need to first check how it will fit into your existing landscape. This introspection helps you in understanding what exactly you want the new system to streamline and the functions that will be required thereof. In case of field service management software, you must start by reviewing the existing gaps in your system and understand how the proposed field service solution can bring new useful developments to enrich your existing field service scenario.
FSM Best Practice No 2: Get an input from your field team
Thinking of a mobile workforce management deployment? Have you talked about it with your frontline team? This is an important step because involving your team gives you the sense of real-world problems that your new software can address? Is your team struggling with route optimization or does your team need more interaction on customer case history? An efficient field service management solution can be of great help here to address the challenges faced by your customer-facing team. Besides, this instills a great amount of confidence in your team as they will know the benefits in advance and transition easily into the new system.
FSM Best Practice No 3: Experiment with a pilot
Once you have reviewed your existing system and discussed with your frontline team to see what kind of system you exactly need for your field service management, the next step is to put it into action. Here it is advised that you first do a pilot execution before going full steam. The best way is to design a pilot phase implementation for a small group of employees who can try their hands on different features of the FSM software. This exercise will help greatly to weed out the bugs as well as recommend new suggestions, which can be more useful in real-time. This group once comfortable with the pilot can then train the full force on how to use the new system.
FSM Best Practice No 4: Facilitate easy ERP/CRM integration
Another important best practice to follow when you bring in any new software solution is to check how easily it can integrate with your ERP/CRM system. To complete the loop, it is important that both the systems communicate with each other flawlessly. So your ERP system should provide the necessary APIs to connect with your new FSM solution for any data exchange and vice versa. Easy CRM integration will allow the FSM software to accommodate any modifications or updates without any complexities in line with your changing business needs.
FSM Best Practice No 5: Create a customization module
Any new technology solution needs to provide the flexibility to scale up and make custom changes on the fly. As a best practice, create a customization module in your FSM solution that will help you tailor it as per your business requirements. Any new features or functionalities can be added seamlessly if your software solution already provides for a customization module. Think proactive about your FSM solution and make room for it now!
FSM Best Practice No 6: Build an easy to use mobile interface
Is your field service management app built in with a mobility interface to equip your field force with all the necessary information on field? This is another best practice and almost non-negotiable to provide a mobility platform to your field technicians in the current times. The advantages of a mobile app integrated with your FSM software are many. Live tracking, route optimization, document capture and the list goes on. Many mobile apps also offer offline connectivity, which greatly helps the field force in any scenario. Seamless connectivity is crucial for the success of any FSM solution.
FSM Best Practice No 7: Communicate to your customers
Once your new system is installed and integrated, your field force is trained and ready to go, it is important next to inform your customers about your new system. As a best practice, any change you make to your current system that affects your customers, should be shared with your customers in advance. Inform them about the new features and how they stand to benefit from them. This transparency helps your customers as well to transition easily to use the new system and accept it without any confusion by being prepared in advance.
FSM Best Practice No 8: Test the product on ground
Now that all the parties are informed and aware about the new FSM solution that you have brought in, the final step is to test it on field and check if it moves smoothly to complete the field service lifecycle of a scheduled task. Data captured from the field runs should be used to improve the process. Once it has worked smoothly for a week, chances are it is good to go on for a while until you introduce the next slew of changes or updates. If your field force, customers as well the company finds it easy to use the new FSM solution, you have won the battle!
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TimeLinx delivers innovative project & service management software as a complete solution that perfects the sell-track-manage-support-bill cycle that services organizations must have to delight their customers; TimeLinx brings the cycle together in a single application that offers less frustration, better project management, complete reporting, and improved profitability – all specially designed for Infor and Sage.