14 Experts Share Top Mistakes Made in Field Service Management Software Buying Decisions - ClickSoftware

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14 Experts Share Top Mistakes Made in Field Service Management Software Buying Decisions

October 6, 2014 Robert Stanley 0 Comments

Due to its convenience, functionality and, of course, mobility, the rise of mobile and field service software applications have made a huge impact on the state of field service management today.

But while it’s true that managers and field technicians are no longer stuck with using the old pen, paper, telephone to record and communicate information, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t new management issues that come along with the newer more advanced technology-based field service solutions that are currently available.

As a company that provides field service and workforce management software to all types of field service businesses, we wanted to learn more about what kind of thought should go into the field service management software shopping process, and specifically, how business executives in the market for field service management software can avoid the most common (and avoidable) mistakes people make when buying it. To do this, we asked 14 business field management software experts to answer this question:

“What’s the single biggest mistake executives make when buying field service management software?”

We’ve collected and compiled their expert advice into this comprehensive guide to buying field service management software. See what our experts said below:

Meet Our Panel of Field Service Management Software Experts:


Dr. Jim Bohn

Dr. Jim Bohn has served in a variety of roles in the corporate world since 1973, personally leading the transformation of multiple underperforming teams to achieve award-winning levels of success. After several decades with Johnson Controls, Dr. Bohn has launched his own Change Management and Organizational Transformation Practice, Pro/Axios. Jim has taught Organization Development at University of Wisconsin’s LUBAR School of Business, Business Ethics and Strategy at Concordia University and Leadership at Marquette University. In addition to his work in organizational transformation, he has spoken at the National Academy of Change Management Professionals, and led workshops for Society of Human Resource Professionals and Wisconsin I/O Psychologists, Dakota County and Lakeville Chambers of Commerce, ASTD-Twin Cities, MNCMN, MNODN and the Chicago Corenet Real Estate Group, and FIELD SERVICE among others.

The single biggest mistake executives make when buying field service management software…

ROI blindness.

Executives get lost in the potential savings or revenue growth associated with Service Management Software, and they lose their rational judgment.

When vendors provide them with flashy slides or high-powered executive presentations that promise an overwhelming return, they lose sight of the fact that the teams and people in their organization must analyze, install, train, and adjust to the new software. Those costs are rarely part of a vendor’s pitch, but they are very, very real.


Lisa Disselkamp

Lisa Disselkamp is a Director in the Human Resources Transformation practice of Deloitte Consulting LLP. She is a leading authority on workforce management business practices and technology, and has authored three books focusing on labor and workforce management including her most recent work, “The Workforce Asset Management Book of Knowledge” (Wiley Publishing, 2013). She has led business process, technology selection and implementation projects for clients with up to 300,000 employees and routinely collaborates with academics and researchers on the implications of regulation and technology on the workforce. Her work has been cited and insights sought by industry and business publications including NBC News, the NY Times, HR Development Review, Workforce Management Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, PAYTECH Magazine, the New America Foundation, and Crain’s New York Business.

The single biggest mistake executives make when buying field service management software is…

Missed investment outcomes when executives do not look at the data produced as an asset.

When using field service management software, executives miss influencing where labor generates income and increases cost. Too often, workforce management systems are seen as transactional (input/output/workflow) applications rather than systems to channel labor activity and actually control what goes on.

Think of the data as a tool in your business – it can be used to control what happens, how much labor costs, and what income generating tasks are completed. When buying a software application, think about how to use the data as lever that can either leak cost or channel people in the right direction.


Dan Sullivan

Dan Sullivan is the director of field service and account management for Parata Systems, a market leader in pharmacy automation and software workflow solutions based in Durham, North Carolina. Dan has held numerous technical/field service and account management leadership positions over his 25-year career and is an absolute proponent of using technology-based solutions to enhance service efficiencies, effectiveness, and profitability.

When it comes time to purchase a business solution such as field service management software, this is my advice…

It’s very easy to become consumed with focusing on staples such as price, features, platform dependence, and even scalability. While these are all very importance aspects of such a purchase, and certainly must be considered as part of any ROI due diligence, there is yet another often overlooked component that must be part of the decision making process as well, and that is the support and/or sustainability requirements for the same.

As any of us who have previously made such a purchase can certainly attest to, selecting, contracting, and implementing a departmental or enterprise wide software application is no small effort, although not accounting for the post-implementation activities that must take place to maintain such an application over the course of the platform ownership is an easy pitfall that many organizations might encounter if not careful. Do your homework…and don’t forget about the total cost of ownership…there is more to the picture than just the initial price tag(s).


Edward Ip

Edward Ip is the Founder & CEO of POS.com, a company that acts as a liaison between businesses and point of sale system providers and essentially a one-stop shop for point of sale. Edward has 15 years of business solutions consulting experience.

I would say the single biggest mistake when it comes to selecting field service management software is…

When the exec is focused on technology instead of Business Needs.

We hear this on a regular basis. Is IOS, Cloud, Android, or Windows the right solution to purchase? We always recommend our clients to focus on business needs first, and technology as secondary. It’s definitely a lot less sexy to focus on Business Processes than to look at the latest IPhone or Android device.


Michael Herrick

Michael Herrick is the Founder of Matterform Media, a provider of Line of Business Applications, which he founded in 1992. Matterform creates custom software and integrations to help small businesses work like big businesses.

The biggest error business executives make when shopping for field service management software has to do with…

Sunk cost fallacy.

The sunk cost fallacy tricks businesses into investing in old systems even when new systems could be developed for less. Often a central business component—say bookkeeping software or a field paging system—gets so deeply entwined with other processes that the temptation is to spend more and more to keep it integrated with newer components. Pretty soon your company is depending on weird Frankenstein monsters, like iPads that can talk to an ancient mainframe system.


Reuben Yonatan

Reuben Yonatan is the Founder and CEO at GetVoIP, a pioneering news blog and VoIP provider directory that serves as a lively and valiant voice addressing all topics of the VoIP industry. As an internet/tech entrepreneur since 2005, Reuben has founded multiple tech startups, written on various publications, and featured in dozens of interviews and podcasts. His writings blend commentary, research, and perspective on business strategies, leadership, enterprise communication, digital marketing trends, and at times just my two cents.

The biggest mistake companies make when shopping for field service management software, or any type of business software for that matter, is…

Overbuying of service.

Many companies are wowed by the dizzying number of features a software has to offer, and right away think that having more features will automatically result in higher performances/efficiency within their company.

Companies need to only buy software they need now and will use in the immediate future. Overbuying on service will quickly drive up the costs. Having more features (especially the ones you don’t need) also means more complexity, which workers may find difficult and/or overwhelming. In most cases, employees don’t learn the full capabilities of software features and want to go back to the old way.

In some cases, a different vendor with a shorter list of features might have been a better fit, but the executives wanted more features for the sake of having more. Simply put, overbuying will result in overkill and can be counter-productive.


DeWayne Lehman

DeWayne Lehman is an Independent IT Consultant and Owner of DeWayne Lehman, provider of IT Customer Support and Remote Field Support. DeWayne has worked in remote support for 5 years including for Fortune 500 companies.

The biggest mistake made by executives purchasing field service management software is…

Not talking to experienced field technicians to properly assess their requirements.

Such software is defined by the technician by unwieldy burdens, such as purchasing of dedicated hardware that the technician must lug around in their pockets, systems that don’t support SMS or email updates from BYOD devices, and systems that cannot be customized.

There is no bigger way to anger your IT department than to purchase a system that doesn’t allow them to customize the software in ways that management later identifies as needs.


Liz D’Aloia

Liz D’Aloia is the Founder of HR Virtuoso. She is an HR practitioner, employment attorney and speaker. HR Virtuoso helps companies of all sizes implement mobile recruiting solutions.

The single biggest mistake executives make when buying field service management software is…

Implementing the software without fixing underlying process problems and engaging the right integration stakeholders.

Companies often think technology will be a quick fix to complex process problems. Sometimes this is true, but more often than not the process needs to be re-engineered so bottlenecks, data flow/integrity, and other problems are resolved.

If internal stakeholders don’t have a seat at the project management table you will inflict pain on the organization. For example, if you’re implementing mobile recruiting software, make sure you have Talent Acquisition, HR, Field Operations, IT, HRIM, your ad agency, and if applicable, your current applicant tracking system vendor as part of the project team. If you leave out any of these partners the system will never work as well as it could, and you might be replicating existing process flaws in the new technology.

It’s imperative to find a software vendor who not only has a viable technology solution. Make sure they work in a consultative manner and are willing to take a deep dive into your processes with all stakeholders in place.


Gie Reklaitis

Gie Reklaitis is Sales Manager and field service software consultant at ServiceBridge software, a cloud based software solution designed to replace paperwork, improve efficiency, allow employee tracking, and engage customers. In the last 3 years he’s consulted 100s of small and medium sized businesses on using technology to improve their efficiency.

The single biggest mistake executives make when buying field service management software is…

Not anticipating future needs.

Executives are trying to solve the issue they are facing today, which is most likely something to replace the paper with, but are not anticipating what will happened 3-6 months down the road as their business grows and industry trends change. Today, choosing a server-hosted solution over a cloud-hosted platform is the biggest mistake that can be made.


Matt Lim

Matt Lim is the VP of Marketing at Procurify, a cloud based purchasing software with users in over 50 countries and industries that include retail, oil and gas, schools, nonprofits and everything inbetween. Procurify is consumerizing the enterprise market by making traditionally complicated processes simple.

The single biggest mistakes I see executives make when buying field service management software, or even software in general, is that…

They pick the tool that works best in theory.

Oftentimes management overlooks taking advice from the frontlines, who are usually the primary users, and picks a solution that is overly complicated. An example would be buying a multipurpose printer when your team only really needed a printer and scanner. Solutions that do everything are rarely simple and cost a premium.

The multipurpose printer can do everything but most functions are rarely, if ever, used. Picking solutions that are easy to use and solve the major pain points is usually more effective than implementing technology that does everything but is complex. Software doesn’t have to be complicated and shouldn’t be if you want your team to actually use it. To avoid failed implementations and for wider organizational adoption executives should make their team part of the buying decision.

The team, especially younger members, will usually be knowledgeable about the latest tools. As an executive, part of the job is navigating the organization through change management. Without innovative solutions and a willingness to move away from outdated software your company will fall behind your competitors. Empower your team with the solutions they stand behind.


Charlie Gillette

Charlie Gillette is the President and CEO of Knowledge Anywhere, Inc., which he founded in 1998. Under his leadership, Knowledge Anywhere has emerged as a leading e-learning provider in the online-education industry, through the development and implementation of knowledge management infrastructures for leading global corporations. Gillette is credited with building a coveted team of developers, technical writers and learning experts, all focused on delivering superior results in the burgeoning e-learning field.

Field service management software is designed to improve workforce productivity and help firms realize lower training costs. The biggest mistakes executives make when buying field service management software is, oftentimes…

Ignoring the critical step of investing time and resources to raise awareness about the new software so that existing employees adopt the applications and integrate them into their daily workflow.

The result: reluctant employees who

1) don’t understand the importance of the new software, and
2) don’t want to bother using it, much less integrate it with their daily workflow.

When employees aren’t willing to learn and use the new software it is nearly impossible for the software to achieve the full benefits that it promised. See our attached Risk Assessment Tool to ensure proper implementation of field management software.


 

Don Snyder

Don Snyder is the Co-owner of InstaDRY Carpet and Tile Cleaning, Central Florida’s premier carpet cleaning service. He has been a manager at operations all throughout the south in a wide variety of fields. From operating karate schools, to aircraft maintenance, and now to home care, Don has gained a vast knowledgebase of management experience.

In my experience, the number one issue with executives choosing field service management software is that…

They think they know what the technicians need.

This in conjunction with the search for the smallest price usually results in the purchase of management software that is completely inadequate. In my previous experience before I was a manager, I can recall my boss being excited after the purchase of some new software only to boot it up and be utterly flabbergasted at how useless the software is for our
daily use.

As a current executive, I understand the need for conservative purchasing in the software field, but the main thing should always be usability. If the manager does not know the daily operations of the field, they have no business in picking the tools that the field technicians will use.


Michael Riley

Michael Riley is the Co-Founder of Boxter, a complete turn-key service that makes it easy to publish any unit of content, collect information from users, and manage your audience data. Michael has founded several tech service companies and worked as a consultant in the field services space over the last ten years. His focus is on managing teams efficiently through technology.

The biggest mistake I see when executives choose management software is…

Looking at the features instead of the user experience.

It doesn’t matter how capable the software is, if it can’t be used efficiently, then it’s not going to work. Real world testing and analysis is the best way to avoid costly mistakes.


Ron Formanek

Ron Formanek is the CEO of Telecom Solutions Inc., a technology company based in Colorado Springs that provides quality telecommunications, data and various other technology products.

In my 12 years in business, I’ve learned the biggest mistake executives make when purchasing field management software is…

Not asking for an ROI analysis to distinguish between features their business needs and features individual executives consider “must haves” based on an article they read in a business magazine.

Many field service professionals don’t even offer an ROI analysis to buyers, which in my mind is just crazy. The service provider should look at current systems carefully to determine what works, what doesn’t work, and exactly what’s needed to solve the business’s problem.

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