Best-of-Breed vs. ERP Field Service Solutions: What’s the Difference?

6/25/2019 / Integrations / Katia Loboda

Today’s field service customers want personalized, consistent experiences. Simply providing traditional functions like work order management and call center customer service no longer suffice. By working to deliver a higher level of service, your field service organization can capitalize on the opportunity to shift service from a cost center to a profit generator.

To efficiently cultivate more compelling customer experiences, your organization will need to dedicate significant resources to field service management (FSM) software. In deciding which solution to use, you’ll need to weigh the pros and cons of best-of-breed FSM software vs. enterprise resource planning (ERP) bolt-on solutions.

To help you choose between best-of-breed solutions and enterprise resource planning add-ons, Astea presents our whitepaper Best-of-Breed vs. ERP for Field Service.”

In this post, we’ll briefly introduce the whitepaper and share the challenges modern FSOs face as well as how the right FSM solution can help you gain a competitive edge.

Download Whitepaper

The Changing Face of Service Requires All-in-One Solutions

When you compare niche best-of-breed solutions vs. single vendor providers, FSOs must keep their unique requirements in mind, many of which are not well-served by large vendors who typically focus on broad sectors like accounting or manufacturing.

To avoid software that doesn’t match your operations, consider choosing comprehensive, all-in-one solutions designed by industry insiders who fully understand the service industry’s nuances.

According to Aberdeen Group’s most recent State of Service 2019 report, 53% of service executives name improving customer satisfaction a top priority.

To deliver the level and quality of service consumers demand, your FSO will have to incorporate a mix of traditional functions, like work order management, with new solutions that also include business analytics, remote monitoring, Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity, and inventory management.

Looking Beneath the Surface of ERP Bolt-on Solutions

Since many organizations have existing ERP systems, they may turn to the same vendor for an FSM solution. And from a price point perspective, ERP add-on solutions may seem to offer a low-cost option that should easily integrate with existing infrastructure. But things often aren’t that simple.

The limited functionality of ERP-based tools can put FSOs that rely on them at a competitive disadvantage.

Because many large ERP vendors acquire and integrate smaller FSM companies into their solutions, field service management functionality often becomes more of an afterthought. It’s not embedded in the product’s DNA. And since FSM is simply an ERP add-on, it may not be as well integrated as you think it is or needs it to be. In addition, because your ERP provider has another primary focus like sales or CRM, the FSM functionality will likely be a bottom priority, lacking the latest industry innovations.

If you’re serious about giving your customers compelling experiences in today’s market, think carefully about using ERP bolt-on solutions. Without the benefit of being built on a foundation of industry experience, these solutions can result in information gaps in your operations, and make it difficult to deliver a higher value service. This could result in your organization disappointing your customers and losing their repeat business.

Best-of-Breed Solutions Are Built for Service

When considering industry-focused best-of-breed solutions vs. ERP integrated systems, best-of-breed solutions have a number of clear advantages.

Field service market leaders are turning to fully featured, specialized service solutions to deliver the customer experience their clients expect.

Using mobile applications that accompany best-of-breed FSM solutions, you can leverage your technicians’ expertise to boost customer loyalty and generate sales. Mobile functionality arms field technicians with customer and equipment histories, the ability to create work orders, and quotes on-the-fly, and accept signatures and payments.

Through customer portals, native mobile apps, and other self-service functions, best-of-breed software also lets your customers play a more active role in their own service experience.

best of breed vs. ERPFor example, the customer portal and mobile app in Astea’s field service management solution, Alliance Enterprise, allows clients to:

  • View their service lifecycle histories
  • Order parts
  • Schedule maintenance
  • View live technician updates
  • Get in touch with their technician directly

You likely won’t be able to find this kind of personalized service experience from a single vendor provider who focuses on more macro enterprise functions like sales.

But with best-of-breed solutions, you can have the best of both worlds. Since the early days of field service management, FSM software has been built around integration. Industry-designed solutions offer out-of-the-box integration with most other enterprise software platforms. With core business applications connected to your FSM solution, your ERP, customer relations management (CRM), and finance platforms will receive real-time updates, and you don’t have to sacrifice any field service functionality.

Astea’s Alliance Enterprise Facilitates Transparency and Customer Experiences

Astea’s industry-leading software is built on decades of experience in the field service sector. Our Alliance Enterprise solution provides a real-time, holistic view of your organization’s infrastructure by connecting multiple data points such as inventory movement and warranty servicing updates.

By creating real-time data transparency and access, you can empower your employees to better understand customer expectations and create customized effective service experiences.

If you’re still on the fence about which solution would best fit your FSO, download the Astea whitepaper and discover more about:

  • The two most common myths of ERP integration and how they could be leading you astray
  • The difference of integrating ERP bolt-on solutions vs. Best-of-Breed FSM software with your existing infrastructure
  • How the functionality of industry-specific tools can save you money
  • The customer-facing capabilities that will enhance service experiences

Download Whitepaper

Want to learn more about industry-focused best-of-breed solutions? Request a demo today to see how Astea can help your service organization deliver more adaptable and dynamic service experiences.

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