Contributors: Prathima Rao, Senior Project Manager; Mor Angel, Solution Architect; Justin Ugerio, Solution Architect (ClickSoftware Professional Services)
After months of defining your program vision and goals, setting up a solid business case, and evaluating vendors—you finally find the perfect field service management (FSM) solution for your organization. Congratulations! The hardest part is over—that is, if you’re prepared for the implementation.
A successful implementation requires a concerted team effort and involves everyone from the project sponsor to the end user. It’s important to set expectations for everyone involved and to drive them towards a common implementation goal.
Even more so, it’s key that everyone involved is excited about the transformation and believes in the project. Any large-scale process or technology change within an organization is likely to be met with apprehension. That’s especially true when improving operational efficiencies is a stated goal. There might be some resistance—or even fear—around the drivers behind the FSM solution. Some employees might even think new technology is meant to replace their jobs.
It’s critical to communicate clearly the program objectives, vision, and what it is in it for each stakeholder—from the CEO to the field engineer. Resistance to change is inevitable, so be prepared with a structured change management strategy that will set the transformation program up for success.
In this post, we will discuss the key stakeholders that should be involved in the change implementation process, as well as their key roles.
As with any major transformation, it is essential to have a leader (ideally a whole team) to oversee the overall success of the project. A program sponsor is the overall lead of the program and is usually a manager or member of the executive team. This person or group has final authority over program funding, scope, and all the individuals involved in the implementation. And they’re accountable for removing any roadblocks in the way.
Moreover, the project sponsor is responsible for communicating the program goals, objectives, and setting direction of the program. It’s their job to engage and energize the rest of the organization to get their buy-in. This also means establishing metrics to demonstrate ROI and communicate “wins” after the solution has been implemented.
Your project team can be structured in different ways depending on your organization’s needs, but it helps to have, at a minimum:
- A project manager to act as a liaison between the project sponsor, business and technical teams, and vendors. This person holds everyone accountable for overall day-to-day program execution. They’re also responsible for communicating the day-day challenges and progress to the sponsors.
- Functional lead(s) who understand how your business works and can ensure that benefits defined in the business case are being delivered. They can vouch that the new FSM solution addresses real-world business issues and delivers operational efficiencies.
- Technical lead(s) who understand how the technology works. They are responsible for managing all technical aspects of the change including designing a scalable, secure, integrated, and robust solution that will alleviate current system inefficiencies.
Change Readiness and Adoption Team
FSM transformation programs always involve implementing the change across multiple business functions, which often work in silos within organizations.
The readiness and adoption team is responsible for the creation of a solid change management and communication management strategy. They work across departments within your organization as well as the vendor and any external partner involved in the implementation.
Ultimately this team eases the change and facilitates adoption from the entire organization even after the implementation. This requires tailoring messages to each individual impacted by the implementation and developing training courses and materials to ease adoption.
Dispatchers and Technicians
As the end users of the solution, it’s essential that technicians and dispatchers are involved during implementation. And not just at the end—they should be involved both early on and throughout testing to provide feedback and input. They will have valuable insights that you won’t get from those who won’t be using the product.
Likewise, involving techs and dispatchers throughout the process might help ease their minds about the new technology. Remember that the biggest resistance will likely come from the end users. They’re already used to the current process and system, and might not be willing to change—even if the new solution is more efficient. However, if you welcome their input and take their suggestions seriously, they might be more willing to accept changes because they know they had a say in it.
Finally, involve dispatchers and techs during training and workshops, and make sure they pass before they use the new solution.
The solution provider is responsible for guiding your organization through the FSM implementation. Their job is to get you up and running quickly, while minimizing risk along the way. They should have a clear understanding of your business goals and requirements, and willing to work with you as your needs change. A good vendor will be highly responsive, and willing to engage in personal interactions with your organization. This means meeting in person and making onsite visits whenever possible to ensure a seamless deployment.
The solution provider’s involvement shouldn’t end after the system is implemented. They should be your guide through the entire process—including post-deployment. An ideal solution provider will also provide services for onboarding, training, and consulting. This includes providing:
- Change management best practices to ease the deployment of their technology
- Tips to maximize user adoption and acceptance
- Online or in-person training courses and certification programs
- Field service management expertise, best practices, and resources
Finally, consider that oftentimes when implementing a field service management solution, there’s a need to integrate with other systems. This might be a customer legacy system or another application that was developed by either an in-house or third-party systems integrator.
It’s crucial that the solution provider’s team is in sync with the developer so they can test the integration. So when planning a timeline for delivery, make sure the integrator completes their end of the implementation. Otherwise, even if the solution provider has done their part, you have to wait for the integration to complete the implementation. This means you’re stuck paying for idle resources. Be sure to have a contingency plan before the project starts in case this happens.
Change Management is the Key to Success
Remember that the success of your field service management solution implementation will ultimately depend on people. And this doesn’t just mean the people in the teams listed above doing their part. Success hinges on the way your entire workforce perceives and chooses to interact with the technology. If they don’t understand the immediate value to them and the organization as a whole, they will not participate. Being said, a strong change management strategy is necessary to win the buy-in of the masses who will ultimately determine the worth of the solution.
For more on implementation and change management best practices, head to the ClickSoftware Blog.