Time To Stop Kicking Tyres

Mar 05, 2019 • FeaturesmanagementBill PollockStrategy for GrowthSurveyService Management SolutionsCustomer Satisfaction and Expectations

If you’re a field service organisation you now need to move beyond merely “kicking the tyres” and start making your final FSM solution selection writes Bill Pollock.

You have already spent a considerable amount of time (and resources) evaluating Field Service Management (FSM) vendors and solutions, and now you find yourself at the point where you will soon need to execute on your decision as to which FSM solution will be the best “fit” for the organisation.

You have examined each solution with respect to its capabilities; breadth and robustness of functionality; technology acquisition cost (i.e., both in the absolute, as well as in terms of the Total Cost of Ownership, or TCO); potential disruption during implementation; forecasted timelines for implementation; adaptability and scalability; and ease and application of use.

You have also organised and sat through several C-level meetings, team meetings and internal advisory panels; you’ve fought, time and time again, to obtain management buy-in; and you’ve debated whether to go Cloud- or Premise-based, perpetual license vs. a subscription pricing model, CRM-based vs. ERP-based, and – oh, yeah – where exactly does the Internet of Things (IoT) come into play with respect to supporting the selected FSM solution?

The market is painfully aware of the challenges that are associated with the selection and implementation of an effective FSM solution. In fact, many organizations have previously been burned by acquiring a solution that was over-sold, but under-delivered.

The advent of Cloud-based FSM solutions has also enabled several less-than-complete FSM offerings to overstate their respective functionalities, making it even more important to be able to identify the differences between a qualified start-up – and a less-than-qualified “upstart” – solution provider.

There is much to be cautious about in today’s FSM solution market – and not all products are able to live up to their hype. When asked to state their top three future challenges with respect to acquiring and integrating new FSM technologies into their existing field service management operations, UK/Europe respondents to Strategies For Growth℠’s 2018 FSM Tracking Survey cited the following as the most “disruptive”:

• 48% Return on Investment (ROI) on the acquisition of new technology;
• 36% Integrating new technologies into existing FSM solution platforms;
• 34% Identifying all of the required functionality for our organization;
• 28% Cost of new technology (both absolute, and Total Cost of Ownership, or TCO);
• 28% Obtaining management buy-in for new technology acquisition;
• 24% Identifying the most appropriate devices to support field technicians.

Do these challenges sound similar to the ones that you are facing with respect to bringing new technology to the organisation? If so, then the following opportunities, or benefits, associated with implementing a state-of-the-art FSM solution will likely represent the most compelling “talking” points to support your ability for recommending to management the solution that best fits your organization’s needs (i.e., again, as cited by UK/Europe respondents from SFGSM’s 2018 FSM Benchmark Survey Update):

• 63% Improve customer satisfaction;
• 44% Ability to run a more efficient field service operation by eliminating silos, etc.;
• 33% Improve field technician utilization and productivity;
• 28% Establish a competitive advantage• 28% Reduce Total Cost of Operations (TCO);
• 25% Ability to provide customers with an end-to-end engagement relationship.

Other opportunities and benefits “bubbling” just under the 25% mark include completely automate our field service operations (18%), foster enhanced inter-departmental collaboration (12%), and reduce ongoing/recurring costs of operations (11%). 

Again, if any of these factors represent areas where your organization would like to see improvement, then only by choosing the right FSM solution will you be able to make it happen!Services businesses – like yours – are established primarily to make money for their investors (i.e., the bottom line); however, the only way to successfully stay in business is to deliver what the customer wants, when they want it, and how they want it! And this will still all depend on the organization’s ability to deliver the expected quality of service, which in turn, will depend on whether or not it is using the most effective and powerful tools to do so. That is why choosing the most effective – and powerful – FSM solution is so important.There are many success stories out there in the marketplace – but there are even more failures (i.e., or horror stories)!

Still, the UK/Europe field services segment reflects modestly high levels for the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), or metrics, that measure and gauge its overall well-being. For example, the following represent the principal mean average KPI ratings from the UK/Europe portion of the 2018 SFGSM survey:

• 78% Customer Satisfaction(*** Some improvement definitely required here ***);
• 82% Service Level Agreement (SLA) Compliance;
• 63% Percent of Total Service Revenue under Contract / SLA;
• 36% Service Profitability (as a Percent of Service Revenues).

However, not every Field Services Organisation (FSO) is able to attain even these modestly good – but not great – performance levels. In fact, the survey results clearly reflect an underlying inability for a significant percent of the UK/Europe services community to attain even less than these modest levels of performance:

• 26% Not attaining at least 80% Customer Satisfaction;
• 30% Not attaining at least 80% Service Level Agreement (SLA) Compliance;
• 39% Not achieving at least 50% of Total Service Revenue under Contract / SLA;
• 44% Not achieving at least 30% Service Profitability.

If your organisation falls into any of these categories, then it is clearly time to do something about it; that is, to acquire the FSM solution that has the functionality to take you to the next level. The best way to identify, evaluate – and, ultimately, select the right FSM solution for your organisation will require getting down to the basics, essentially by narrowing down your “long list” to a targeted “short list” of the chosen few for final consideration; then, reading the literature, viewing the demos, checking out the research analyst reviews and recommendations (there are many!), sharing information with industry peer groups, and so on.

There will only be one best choice for your organisation – and only through a concerted effort of due diligence can you be assured that you have made the right decision!

The SFGSM’s 2019 FSM is taking place throughout February, with the top-line results being presented in Field Service News later on this year. You can take part in the survey here