To keep up with the growing need to maximize efficiency, field service management organizations must use technology to improve operations. However, outdated and disconnected field service management (FSM) technology comes with hidden costs, including:
- Limited technician efficiency
- Wasted time in the field
- Impact to the bottom line
Increasing the productivity of field technicians to reduce costs and drive revenue is a strategic imperative for any organization with a sizeable mobile workforce, so it’s no wonder that the FSM software market is growing even faster than the technology market overall.
For many FSM companies, the first step in using technology to maximize efficiency is investing in a field service management platform that comes with out-of-the-box features such as scheduling and standard work order creation, saving dispatchers and technicians time.
But, as workforces change and user needs shift, these out-of-the-box (OOTB) platforms can sometimes create more problems than they solve.
Implementing a new piece of software comes with many challenges, and none are greater than figuring out how the software fits with existing systems and processes already in place. OOTB platforms can be particularly difficult to implement as they are not designed for the intricacies of existing systems and instead force the organization to adapt workflows to fit what the software provides. If FSM software is meant to support technicians and increase their productivity, shouldn’t the product be designed and built with the end-user in mind? These platforms can be customized to a certain degree, but it often requires a development partner with a deep understanding of how the platform works and what your organization hopes to accomplish.
Factoring in the costly licensing fees and dependence on their product roadmap, achieving maximum ROI from an OOTB platform can be a daunting task. Which is why the alternative to an OOTB solution is building custom field service management software that fits your organization. In part 3 of our series on field service management software we’ll look at the benefits of building custom software, and outline why it’s better for your technicians and your business.
Address Pain Points by Understanding Technician Workflows
When building field service management technology, it’s critical to focus on the end-user of the product: technicians and dispatchers. FSM software should modernize workflows, removing unnecessary steps and tasks wherever possible to increase efficiency. But what steps should be removed? Where is there an opportunity to optimize work by combining steps?
This process begins with journey mapping and research, outlining every step and decision a technician or dispatcher goes through during a job. Using interviews with the technicians and dispatchers responsible for doing the work, as well as observing first-hand how the job is done, a journey map can be created, with pain points and opportunities for improvement clearly identified. The process gives technicians an opportunity to provide feedback, while enabling the organization to drive the initiative with stated business goals. By starting with a deep understanding of the technician’s workflow, a custom FSM can be designed with specific features to meet their needs. In comparison, organizations that use out-of-the-box solutions are left in a more reactive position, trying to adjust and adapt business processes to match a pre-defined feature set. And without a partner who can properly customize the platform, there isn’t much organizations can do to make the platform fit their needs.
Build Software Technicians WANT to Use
Employee tools and technologies are notorious for having poorly designed UX, mostly due to the fact that the software product is meant to address the most common needs of a very broad market. However, in the end, it’s part of the job. So employees learn to use whatever tools they’re provided with and even learn to work around the limitations of the platforms. In fact, 40% of workers who circumnavigate an IT policy do so to maintain productivity.
Fair or not, employees expect consumer-grade technology — if they can order a pizza with three taps on their phone, why does it take 10 minutes to file a routine work order? Creating a great UX, backed by insights found through user research and journey mapping, is how you develop a tool that maximizes employee engagement and increases productivity.
Own the Product Roadmap and Make the Upgrades You Need
Building and implementing field service management software isn’t something that’s done once and put to bed. Like all software development, it’s a process of constant iterations, continually adapting to changing business and customer needs. Organizations that choose to build custom software have a massive advantage over those who use out-of-the-box solutions: control. By building custom software, your organization directs the product roadmap, prioritizing new features, and enabling quicker adjustments. Those using out-of-the-box solutions have little, if any, influence over the features that are added, and are forced to make due with what is provided or work with a partner to customize the platform to their needs.
Build FSM Software to Fit Your Needs
The need to optimize workflows and increase productivity leads to the implementation of field service management software. Digitizing tasks, improving data collection, and increasing automation increases the likelihood of your technicians completing more jobs each day — even just finishing one more job per day could have a positive impact on the bottom line. While out-of-the-box platforms provide baseline features and functionality, they aren’t a perfect fit for how most organizations operate.
Custom field service software allows organizations to get to the root of field technicians’ problems, beginning with research and journey mapping to identify pain points and opportunities for optimization. Custom UX then makes the insights developed from research actionable, creating a consumer-grade experience consistent with what technicians expect from the applications they use in everyday life. And by building custom software, your organization owns the product roadmap and can prioritize feature upgrades as needed.
If your organization is struggling with field technician productivity, adoption of FSM tools, or OOTB software not meeting the needs of your enterprise, you’re not alone. Reevaluating your field service management software can be daunting, but can be much easier with a partner who can come alongside you to understand your needs.