Field service management software (FSMS) offers a huge array of benefits. It ensures your field service teams have the right information at the right time so they can do their jobs as well as possible. A well implemented FSMS solution optimises workplace safety and regulatory compliance and helps you deliver the best possible customer service.

But the key is that your FSMS solution needs to be implemented well so that it supports your field service teams rather than getting in their way. Here are five FSMS implementation pitfalls to avoid.

Not taking a customer-centric approach

You will have many different objectives when implementing a new FSMS. But not putting yourself in your customer’s shoes is a recipe for disaster. When implementing a new FSMS, you have an opportunity to ask your customers about their pain points and to address them

Instead of designing your processes from the moment the customer contacts you, start from inside the customer’s business and think about their requirements before you consider yours. While many may coincide, there will be instances where you learn things that can help you design better processes that deliver better outcomes for your customers.

Not listening to your field service workers

As well as your customers, the other excellent source of information about what is happening on site is your work force. Field service workers have incredible knowledge about what it takes to successfully meet a customer’s needs. Having business analysts and technical teams ride with field service workers is a great way to ensure they see and understand the specific challenges field service workers face.

Learn from the experience of field service workers and use their knowledge to ensure the processes and systems you implement with your FSMS really work.

Looking at your FSMS in isolation from the rest of your systems

Chances are your business already has a CRM application, an ERP and several other core applications. When choosing and implementing your FSMS, make sure it can work with those systems. The last things you want is manual kludges to ensure data is exchanged between systems or duplicated information that must be kept in sync.

For example, when a work order hits the FSMS, it’s important to have the customer details right. If those are in the CRM or ERP, you’ll want them to seamlessly appear in the FSMS and not have to be copied. And if the field service team needs to update those details, you’ll want those changes to be reflected in the other systems if they are recorded in the field.

Thinking too tactically and not strategically

When choosing and deploying a new system, it’s easy to focus on the problems you have today. Typically, the selection process starts by identifying the current state and determining what you want your new system to do. However, it’s important to take a longer-term view. For example, the Internet of Things (IoT) may have a big impact on predictive maintenance and in turn it will enable the service provider to provide outcome-based services to ensure predictable asset uptime whilst reducing maintenance costs.

Choosing any significant new system should be done with a lens on the current need and another focussed on what the business will need to support its ambitions for growth, new services or expanded capability.

Not considering offline access

Field service teams need to be able access information wherever they are. In the old days, a worker might take off from the depot in the morning armed with a handful of work orders. The information they carried into their vans and trucks in the morning was all they had. If new information came in while they were on route, they might get to a site and be faced with an unexpected situation.

While browser-based FSMS solutions exist, these depend on regular connectivity to function – which isn’t much good in a lift well or deep in a plant room. Look for a FSMS that can synchronise the latest data over Wi-Fi or a mobile network and provide access to data when in connectivity blackspots. That means looking for a FSMS that has apps for smartphones, tablets and other portable devices.

A great FSMS can add significant value to a business. It can improve customer service, make life easier for field service workers and ensure information flows between systems easily. By avoiding these common pitfalls, you can be assured that your investment will pay dividends for years to come.