|By Business Wire||
|March 11, 2014 11:21 AM EDT||
In the age of real-time visibility and mobility, field service automation is now an essential tool for any business that relies on scheduling and deploying resources to residential or commercial appointments. A good field service management solution improves efficiencies – from the first call to the final invoice – by providing visibility throughout the business. However, there are a number of software vendors that provide field service automation software, making it critical to understand which one is right for you.
FieldLocate, a leading field service automation software company, outlines five key considerations when selecting a field service management solution.
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How Should the Software Be Deployed?
Determining how the software will be deployed is an important question to answer early in the buying process, but can also be the most confusing question. The two most common deployment options are on premise or software-as-a-service (SaaS). With an on premise deployment, the customer must purchase the software upfront and run it on their own servers. The user then owns the rights to the software and is responsible for system maintenance.
SaaS delivers the software to users via web browsers and mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets. Instead of installing the software on your computer, you essentially rent the use of the software by paying a monthly subscription fee. Cloud-based solutions provide optimal flexibility because they can be accessed 24/7 from any device with Internet access. They typically have minimal start-up costs, and charge a nominal monthly fee per user. This scalable model is more affordable for small and mid-size businesses since no IT department is needed because the software vendor maintains and updates the software remotely.
Do You Have Mobile Devices for Technicians?
One of the biggest benefits of field service management software is the ability to connect with technicians through mobile devices. Not just through text or phone calls, but by utilizing an application on the device that is downloaded through the internet. To ensure you get the most out of a field service management system, you’ll need to invest in phones or tablets that have access to the internet for your crew. If these devices are already a part of your operating procedures, search for a field service management solution that is compatible with your mobile devices.
What Kind of Mobile Applications Are Available?
In addition to selecting a mobile device, you’ll also want to understand if the field service mobile application is a native app or browser-based. Just because it’s on a smartphone doesn’t mean it’s a native app. Some browser-based apps don’t perform well because they require constant connectivity to the internet, so if the internet connection is poor or gets broken, the app won’t work. A native app, meaning the software resides on the phone, minimizes the amount of time it takes to retrieve information or make updates. This helps technicians stay productive and not be bogged down by slow internet connections.
What Reports Are Important to Your Business?
The field service management system you select will collect a wealth of valuable data from every job, estimate, invoice, and customer you input into the system. If you’re looking for a system just to organize this information, almost any vendor will meet this need. But if you’re looking to analyze technician performance, open invoices, unconverted estimates or marketing lead sources, you’ll want a system that includes standard reports that are customizable so you can pull the information you need to identify inefficiencies or growth opportunities that can drive your business forward.
How Much Are You Willing to Spend?
There is no denying the importance of cost in your purchasing decision. Yet cost should be seen in a broad perspective because low entry costs may well result in higher total costs along the product lifecycle. When talking with vendors, be sure to inquire about total costs including training, support, implementation, and one-time costs. Remember, some of your staff members may not be tech savvy and, without proper training, will not use new technology in the field. The more your employees use the software, the more comfortable they will be with it and accept the true value it brings to your business.
To learn more, download the full “5 Questions to Consider When Selecting Field Service Management Software” eBook.
FieldLocate was developed with a specific focus on the needs of key service industries including HVAC, plumbing, electrical, pest control and other residential services. FieldLocate is specifically designed to improve the efficiency of these types of business with features that include appointment scheduling, automated timesheets, job location mapping, robust reporting and price book functionality. FieldLocate is an intuitive field service management solution that helps small to mid-sized businesses efficiently manage their field service operations, driving better business performance and reducing costs. FieldLocate automates manual, time-consuming scheduling, invoicing and recordkeeping processes so users gain real-time, end-to-end visibility of their entire field service operations. This easy-to-deploy, affordable SaaS solution can be accessed with a web browser or via a mobile app., giving business owners, office workers and field technicians access to critical business information anytime, anywhere. In the face-paced, dynamic work environments of the field service industry, FieldLocate helps businesses locate their field workers, appointments, customers and profits. For more information, visit www.fieldlocate.com.
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