Child: Mom, can we buy one of these, all my friends have one!
Mom: Tell me why do you need it. Money doesn’t grow on trees, you know.
If you’re a parent, you’re probably all too familiar with this scenario and although somewhat simplistic, a similar dialogue about investment happens in corporate boardrooms every day.
Building a compelling business case to justify an enterprise software investment is critical. No senior executive will authorize a Field Service Management (FSM) software investment in the absence of a solid business case.
It’s essential to develop a clear vision, plan and objectives as well as identify the business benefits, both tangible (quantitative) and intangible (qualitative) to justify the investment. To gain the support of decision-makers, it’s important to understand their specific challenges, their top priorities as well as the long-term objectives of the business. You need to clearly articulate in quantifiable terms how an FSM solution can address their challenges and deliver quantifiable financial benefits, such as ROI and TCO (total cost of ownership).
Essential considerations for building a business case for Field Service Management software
Typically, the projects that go forward in a field service operation are the ones that are measurable and contribute to the bottom line. Thanks to advance field service technology and analytics, most aspects of field service, from travel time and completed jobs per day to first time fix rates, can be accurately measured and managed, enabling organizations to keep a watchful eye on the impact of operational adjustments on productivity, efficiency and costs. While there are many potential benefits of implementing an FSM solution, no two organizations are the same, so it’s important to be realistic and focus on the areas where benefits can be realized for your company.
Common benefits used to justify FSM enterprise software investment include:
- Route optimization – allows for fast lookup of travel times between locations for accurate scheduling and incorporates travel profiles that allow longer travel times at certain times of day and days of the week. It can take temporary road closures into account and automatically update schedules based on the progress of a resource on their journey to their next job, so one resource being stuck in a traffic jam will not jeopardize customer service. Route optimization ultimately reduces drive time for technicians while offering customers more accurate arrival times.
- Intelligent scheduling – constantly monitors what is and is not happening; enabling instant reaction to events, including any rescheduling and rerouting necessary. In-day optimization is truly dynamic and efficient, constantly improving the schedule, rather than restarting periodically. Schedule optimization helps to increase productivity by scheduling more jobs per mobile resource per day, reducing drive time and is much better at managing SLAs and customer agreements, leading to more reliable customer service.
- Increased service technician utilization rates – studies have shown that service organizations are often utilizing between just 50 to 60% of their technician’s time for billable work. The rest of the time is spent either travelling, on breaks, or “waiting on work”. The latest FSM technology can typically help improve this rate with automation of technician scheduling and dispatching processes as well as in-day optimization which allows the system to instantly respond to unforeseen changes to the schedule such as customer no-shows, a job cancellation or emergency work.
- Improved efficiency – an automated FSM solution will eliminate many labor-intensive back office manual processes allowing companies to reduce their dispatcher to technician ratio. In a manual environment, both technicians and dispatchers can spend significant time on the phone, leaving and responding to messages and dealing with a daily barrage of scheduled and emergency service visits for multiple customers. Automated scheduling, dispatch and routing ensure that qualified technicians arrive at the job site on time, with the right tools and parts while taking into account technician availability, location, travel time, SLA requirements and many other factors. The result is improved technician productivity and customer service and a reduction in operational costs.
- Greater visibility – the right field service technology offers an unprecedented amount of data about operational performance as well as a 360-degree view of your business. For technicians, greater visibility provides them all the information they need about a customer, their complete service history and available parts at their fingertips in real-time, enabling them to make recommendations for new products and an opportunity to upsell products and services. With real-time visibility of the service organization’s operations, an organization can make informed decisions about optimizing the use of resources across the company, identify trends and forecast future demands as well as quickly diagnose and resolve service issues.
- Higher customer satisfaction rates – empowered by technology that makes their lives easier, more and more customers expect an effortless service experience and they won’t stay loyal if they don’t get what they want. A cutting-edge FSM solution offers greater customer engagement with complete transparency and control over their service experience by providing shorter appointment windows, the ability to self-serve, personalized real-time notifications as well as reliable, quality service.