Choosing the right field service management (FSM) solution can be complex and challenging.
Field service organizations (FSOs) need customizable field service software in order to automate the entire service lifecycle, and must integrate FSM systems into their enterprise resource planning (ERP), customer relations management (CRM), and other business platform components.
To help you determine what the best field service management software for your FSO is, we at Astea encourage you to ask five critical questions of FSM software vendors before you make your final choice.
These questions will help you determine whether the solutions those vendors offer are future-proof. Will they enable you to meet your industry’s current challenges as well as give you an edge in anticipating and preparing for challenges yet to come?
Five Key Questions for Field Service Management Software Vendors
1: Does the Software Offer Easy, Intelligent Integration with Other Systems?
Enterprise application integration becomes more important by the day. Experts expect the global application integration market will grow from its 2018 $10.3 billion benchmark to $17.4 billion in 2023.
Service customers need and increasingly demand greater visibility into the service chain. Integrating FSM with other business systems is your only way to meet that expectation. But you can’t achieve that visibility through ad hoc processes, manual interventions, and increased labor.
The best field management software options achieve integration by streamlining data sharing across multiple systems affecting service delivery:
- Inventory management
- The field service system itself
Astea’s Alliance Enterprise™ platform has built-in low-code integrations. Our platform includes out-of-the-box connectors to traditional third-party applications and a full set of web services enabling automated workflows. These integrations create a pipeline between applications that allows systems to share data seamlessly.
With Astea’s customizable field service software, you’ll eliminate “swivel chair syndrome” from your workplace. Employees will no longer constantly toggle between different systems and re-enter the same information multiple times. Instead, they’ll use a single interface to enter and validate data once.
2: Does the Software Work With SaaS Deployment Models?
Cloud-based software deployment models—or Software as a Service (SaaS)—can help future-proof your FSM technology investment. They increase flexibility and can greatly simplify how you deploy and upgrade software.
Because service organizations are highly mobile and have a widely dispersed workforce, they especially stand to benefit from cloud-deployed solutions. These solutions eliminate the need to install software physically on individual devices.
They also allow remote access via Wi-Fi or cellphone networks regardless of location and without sacrificing data accuracy.
Thanks to the cloud’s flexibility, FSOs can quickly scale deployment up or down as business needs change. At the touch of a button, you can instantly implement software updates and changes across your entire organization—and at a lower cost than on-premise solutions allow.
3: Does the Software Create Custom Workflows?
Being prepared for the future of service means having the ability to adapt to the changing needs of your customers and your workers. Truly future-proof FSM software meets this need by creating custom workflows.
Astea’s customizable field service platform lets FSOs update and change software without creating new code. Non-technical staff can make such field-level changes as adding new fields, generating new types of reports, and setting value types. In addition, they can create new workflows tailored to specific roles or specific customer locations.
In addition, because customizations won’t impact the system’s underlying code, companies needn’t fear software updates will cripple their unique workflows’ functionality.
4: Does the Software Adopt A Flexible Approach to Mobility?
To be future-proof, your FSM platform needs a robust mobile application suite that extends beyond the field technician.
Many of your staff members and other stakeholders can benefit from the ability to do their job wherever they are:
- Warehouse workers
- Third-party service partners
- Contingent workers
FSOs can also leverage field automation solutions to create self-service mobile apps for customers.
Using self-service apps, customers can schedule service appointments, track service requests, view invoices, approve sales quotes, and provide feedback once service is complete.
The Astea’s Alliance Enterprise™ customer portal and mobile app offer all these options and more. With our app’s technician tracking and mapping functionality, customers can see a technician’s location and progress in real time, just as they can for an Uber driver, so they’ll know exactly when to expect field staff to arrive.
The best field service management software solutions are also customizable, letting FSOs create unique checklists to direct technician workflows and behavior, and alter these workflows based on the item being serviced or on specific customer preferences and requirements.
5: Does It Seamlessly Access Emerging Technologies?
Field service is shifting from a reactive, break-fix model to outcome-based service with contracts based on guaranteed uptime and usage-based maintenance. To deliver this level of service, FSOs will need to use emerging technologies such as the internet of things (IoT), augmented reality (AR), and artificial intelligence (AI).
Relying on the data connected sensors feed into analytics programs, technicians can get a real-time view of equipment performance and can operate on predictive failure models.
Even though some of these technologies may be several years from widespread deployment, your FSM platform should be ready to support them. If it is, you’ll have the built-in integrations you need to rapidly take advantage of IoT, AR, AI, and more down the road.
You Need Customizable Field Service Software for Today and Tomorrow
When you’re choosing your FSM platform, you’re smart to take a long-term view.
Of course you want your solution to offer functional modules you can start using right away. But you also want a system with enough flexibility to serve your future needs as they evolve, and enough power to help you differentiate yourself from your competition.
So what is the best field service management software for your FSO? One that lets you alter workflows, modify interfaces, and create new applications within the platform with little to no technical assistance.
Don’t settle for a limited set of packaged functionalities you’ll need expensive developers to customize for you. Choose a platform that equips you to build new functionality rapidly and at a low cost.
When you make that choice, you’ll be positioning your service organization to remain profitable and competitive for years to come.
Want to learn more about how field service management software can evolve with your business? Request a demo today.
About Astea International
Astea International is a global leader in field service and mobile workforce management, including all the cornerstones of full-service life cycle management: customer management, service management, asset management, forward and reverse logistics management, and mobile workforce management and optimization. Astea’s technology helps the world’s best service-driven companies generate higher profits while properly balancing customer satisfaction and service levels through proactive communication that creates a seamless, consistent, and highly personalized experience at every customer relationship touch point. Astea’s solutions unify processes, people, parts, and information to focus the entire organization on the creation of sustainable value in highly competitive, global markets.
Service Smart. Enterprise Proven.
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