The challenges of implementing a field service solution
Whenever an organization decides to implement a field service solution, its immediate focus will be to remain competitive and manage their long term strategic goals. During the implementation phase, there will be multiple challenges that will make these organizations lose focus as such implementations will bring out their deficiencies in preparation, reveal process gaps and also question some of the business practices of the organization.
While considering a field service management software, an organization must be aware of the following challenges:
1. Mismatch of expectations between the organization and the software provider
Companies using field teams need to clearly define the scope of their current problem to the software vendor and their expectations from the implementation of the software. Companies must understand cost vs time vs quality aspects with regards to the implementation and should plan to accommodate any issues in implementation. Smaller companies have managers who are aware of the business strategy, handle the implementation directly and can communicate expectations clearly to the software vendor. For larger organizations, there are tiers of hierarchy involved and the expectations from the software implementation might not be clearly defined by the management and communicated to the business manager handling the implementation.
The potential of the features of the system should be clearly identified and communicated to the users of the system. The correct reporting tools that increase your organization’s performance and metrics to track improvement in performance should be discussed and agreed upon with the software vendor.
2. Not being ready to perform change management
Whenever a software implementation is carried out in an organization, the org must be realistic and understand that it involves change management as well. Change in process, employee morale, training methodology, etc should be factored in the time and money budget of the org. For example, when an organization switches from on-prem to cloud software, concerns about internet access, data redundancy, downtime will have to be addressed by the organization based on the advice of the software vendor. Employees must also be trained and their feedback must be taken into account before the launch. Experts users of the software can be nominated by the org to handle queries from other employees.
3. Lack of process mapping
Without a proper understanding of their underlying business processes, fully utilizing the potential of any field service software will not be possible. Field service tools can help you organize the processes, work on SLAs and deliver a better return on KPIs if they are tightly aligned with the underlying business processes. Better automation rules can be set in the software during implementation. It is prudent to perform a business process analysis first and come up with a process mapping. Once this step is completed, unnecessary processes can be removed by the tool. Process gaps can also be addressed by the field service tool and also as the business scales, a good field service software can also be configured to scale.
Generally, companies do not have a focus on mapping their business processes as this is lower precedence activity. Without performing a business process mapping, any implementation of field service software will not be used to its fullest potential.
4. Push back from the users of the software
When an organization is implementing a field service solution, the end-users of the system (dispatchers, field service agents, field managers, etc) might not be fully aware of why such an implementation is being carried out. They will not be fully convinced about the need for such a change. This responsibility lies with the organization and the organization must remove the fear of the software taking away the user’s jobs. It makes sense for the employees to be involved in the process analysis and their advice should be taken into account during the planning and implementation phases. Also if the users are not sufficiently trained during the implementation phase, they will not fully use the new tool and might revert to older manual processes that they feel comfortable with. This will bring in more inefficiencies into the existing way of managing fieldwork.
5. Focus on small wins
For any implementation to be successful, the organization and the users must get a sense of comfort with the implementation. A focus on small wins will ensure that all the users and management are happy using the new tool. The vendor and the organization must agree upon the metrics that will define quick wins for the implementation. Without clearly defining/identifying the metrics that define a win, the organization might not be fully satisfied with the implementation.
6. Managing end-customer expectations
An organization that is purchasing a field service software should be aware that if after the implementation of the tool, the org’s end customers are not satisfied with the service experience provided by the organization, then the implementation is a failure. During the implementation of the software, ensure that current customers of the organization are adequately communicated about the software implementation and are aware of any delays due to the implementation. Also during the implementation, communication to the end customer must be carried out in such a manner that they are also comfortable with the organization moving to a better solution that will deliver better customer service.
Are there any challenges that you’ve faced when implementing field service solutions for your teams? Let us know in the comments below.