In honor of next week’s WennSoft Synergy Conference in San Diego (10/7-10/9) we thought it was a good idea to revisit one of our most popular areas of interest: field services. We’ve partnered with WennSoft because we encounter so many businesses that are using old, proprietary field service and job cost software, or are still going at it from spreadsheets alone! Most of them are concerned about letting go of a tool that they know how to use in exchange for gaining the functionality they need to keep growing.
So we put together a short 5-question guide to walk you through the questions you need to ask yourself if you're considering a new Field Service solution.
Of course, if you’re attending Synergy you’re already using the best Field Service and Job Cost solution. In that case, swing by our booth to say hi or sign up for a free evaluation to see if our Cloud Dynamics GP subscription solution is the best way to run your WennSoft applications. For the rest of you still figuring out what’s next for your business, read on!
Many key areas of field service are ripe for improvement. If you're currently working with a field service application that's not mobile-ready, integrative and flexible, you're sacrificing productivity. It's time to find a solution that fits the needs of your business, your customers and your employees; it's time for dedicated and comprehensive field service software. But how do you choose the right field service solution for your business?
1. Look At The Bigger Picture
Field service is an important part of your business, but your enterprise is much more than that. Finding the right field service software actually starts with finding the right ERP system. All the tools in your business management solutions toolbox should be integrated into one full-service ERP system – and more importantly, that system should be hosted in the cloud.
Cloud ERP offers diversity that other ERP solutions can't match. By fitting your field service software into a cloud ERP system, all of your essential business functions are in one place – from financial accounting to HR and payroll, your employees only need to reference your ERP software to get all the information they need.
The field service software you choose must be comprehensive enough to include a wide variety of field service-specific capabilities, including fleet management, equipment maintenance (your customers' and your own), office supplies and water delivery, etc. These tasks should come part and parcel of the whole field service application so you're not relegated to piecing together multiple different sets of tools.
2. Think Outside The Box
Your ERP software and field service application need to be specific, to a degree. But, to get all the functionality you need, your field service software search must venture outside the box. Your software shouldn't be too customized to a particular industry – specificity might sound great in theory, but it actually translates to handcuffs in practice. If a field service application is specifically designed for a certain industry, the ability to use the software in other industries and applications is stunted.
The smarter approach is to determine your needs first, and them to find the field serivce application that fits those needs, regardless of the industry it was initially designed for.
3. Look For Updated Technology
You're on the hunt for updated technology, so your field service and ERP software provider should be operating on a better tech infrastructure than that of your business. If you choose a software vendor that isn't up-to-date on the latest industry advancements, you're sacrificing your own success right off the bat.
Ultimately, you should seek a vendor that knows your industry as well as you do. This vendor should pursue technological advantages to gain a competitive edge, which it then delivers to you in the form of superior solutions.
4. Compare Functionality And Flexibility
Your business is dynamic and, hopefully, growing. Your ERP software should not only encourage that growth, but drive it – by growing alongside you.
The cloud is the best platform for flexibility. Cloud ERP is much more malleable and configurable than its on-premise counterparts. As your business grows, cloud ERP software doesn't stand in your way – it grows with you. As your needs change, your field service software must adjust to fulfill (or, better yet, exceed) your expectations.
5. Ask Questions!
Choosing a new field service application is an important and expensive decision. You shouldn't rush into it or compromise on the features you're looking for. Ultimately, the solution you choose needs to improve your business's efficiency, so it makes sense to ask potential vendors how their software achieves that goal. A few questions to keep in mind:
- Have you worked with businesses in my industry? What were the results?
Ask for client referrals, case studies or reports that prove the capabilities of the vendors' software solutions. A proven track record is an important feature for any candidate vying for the role of your ERP software provider.
- What's your strategy for helping my business achieve its goals?
You should be provided with examples of how the software would handle your daily operational processes. If a software vendor isn't thoughtful (or experienced) enough to have a "rough draft" plan for helping you achieve your business goals, you should look elsewhere.
- Do you have a training and support structure in place to help me learn the software?
There's a learning curve associated with new software implementation, but that can't affect your business performance. You need to find an ERP software provider that trains you and your team on using the software efficiently, and provides you with system support anytime you need it. Also, be sure to ask whether the costs for training and ongoing support are included with your software solution.
Don't allow your business performance to suffer because your field service software is unequipped to meet your needs. The sooner you find a vendor with a field service application that's perfect for your business – or, better still, a full cloud-based suite of ERP software – the sooner you'll be maximizing productivity, efficiency and profitability.
Have questions about SMB Suite's field service software or the entire cloud ERP package? Try a free ERP demo or compare our packages today. Click the link to contact our ERP solution guides today.