Investing in a field service software solution ought to be an occasion for celebration. Never the easiest of activities to manage, a field service operation quickly benefits from the administrative and coordination capabilities of a modern software solution. But not, alas, in every instance.
That’s right: an investment in field service software doesn’t always deliver those looked-for improvements. Or, indeed, any improvements at all.
And when that happens, it’s almost always the actual implementation that has failed.
Why do field service software implementations fail? There’s no one consistent reason. But rest assured, when a software implementation does fail, the smoking gun can almost always be found in the reasons below.
So let’s take a look.
A poor understanding of what field service software offers.
Sometimes, the failure is one of vision, or understanding. Quite simply, some companies buy into a field service software solution without first doing their homework—either in terms of what the system itself can do, and how it should be used.
This then significantly heightens the risks of a software implementation failure, because what then results is an attempt to use the field service software solution in a way that it isn’t intended to be used.
Which is one reason why we at Kerridge Commercial Systems urge potential customers to invest the time and effort to talk to other users of field service software products. Our own customers, for instance, are usually happy to oblige, and will provide an unbiased perspective.
And to talk to multiple users of a field service software solution, simply attend a user group meeting. Again, we’re happy to help. Because there’s nothing quite like hearing—straight from the horse’s mouth, so to speak—exactly how a system works in real life.
Poor field service software implementation planning.
Implementing any new business system can be a challenge. And arguably, a field service software implementation is more challenging than some other business system implementations.
This may not be welcome news, of course. But there’s no point beating around the bush.
Think about the issues that a field service software implementation must successfully address, for instance. It needs to be used—and used happily—by a remote workforce, accustomed to self-managing. Then there are issues of integration with other systems to address. What’s more, it’s likely that other technologies will be involved, in the shape of mobile devices and mobile communications capabilities.
So there’s no point in simply trusting to luck. A successful field service software implementation requires appropriate investments in time, budget and resources. Not to mention sensible project planning, ideally following a proven project management implementation methodology.
Try and rush a field service software implementation, or skimp on the cost and resources required, and the result is likely to be a muddle.
Better by far to do the job properly, knowing that this is the way to achieve implementation success.
Poor user buy-in
For your field service software implementation to be a success, a wide variety of people are going to have to use the newly-implemented solution. And, moreover, use it happily, fully, and productively.
So getting user ‘buy in’ is fairly fundamental. Buy-in among the field staff themselves, most obviously. But also within management, and within the sales and order-entry functions. And also within the billing and invoicing teams.
Good change management is vital, along with user education and communication, proper planning and testing, and a responsiveness to users’ concerns and difficulties.
And fairly obviously, that begins with solid executive leadership and a commitment to systems ownership that starts at the very top of the organisation.
But don’t forget, too, that such a commitment must also extend to developing workflow, entry screens, and reports that meet—if not exceed—users’ needs and expectations.
Field service software implementation: avoiding failure
It’s not rocket science, in short. But even so, some companies get it wrong. And in the process, they waste time, money and resources on a field service software implementation that fails.
Don’t join their ranks. Avoid the mistakes above, and you’ll be significantly tipping the odds in favour of a software implementation that succeeds.