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A Quick Guide to the Best Field Service Management Software

Today, if you manage a field service organization, whether it’s one that services other parts of your organization or delivers field service to external clients, it’s hard to imagine operating manually – without the help of software tools. On the other hand, some limited-functionality software solutions may act as a hindrance, rather than an aid, to efficiently managing and monitoring field service teams. It would be best if you had best-in-class software to make field service efficient and productive.

The question is: What qualifies a software suite as the best field service management software?

Read on as we explore what you should look for when searching for best-of-breed field service management tools. 

 

The Winning Combination

When it comes to field service management, hundreds of software products out there claim the title of “best of the breed.” Each supports a host of features and functionality that they claim leads to empowering service teams when they are in the field servicing equipment, plants, factory machinery, and critical infrastructure. They’ll point to slick backgrounds, animated avatars, and the fact that only their software provides fifteen different ways to enter a service request – when just two or three should suffice!  

However, 15-ways to enter work orders aside, once you scratch under the surface, you’ll find most of the inefficient or ineffective for corporate-level field service management. Many of these so-called software “solutions” are nothing but list management apps. Because they come with an unlimited number of bells and whistles, popups, ring tones, and customizable backgrounds – they often catch the eye of software evaluation teams.

If you are serious about implementing a best of breed field service management solution across your organization, here are some features and functionality to look for:

Scheduling

Suppose you are on the quest to find, evaluate and potentially implement the best field service management software. In that case, one of the first features you’ll want to assess is its capability to schedule. Almost all software in this niche is adept at capturing service requests and displaying them based on various sorting criteria. You’ll also find tools that allow service management teams to filter requests based on priority and importance.

These features, by themselves, do not constitute a best-in-class field service management solution. If you search online, you’re sure to find spreadsheet-based templates that deliver that minimal functionality. High-end service tracking and management features, including dynamic scheduling and integration with other software – such as mapping software – add flexibility and power to corporate service management. It would be best to look for such functionality to implement a robust service management solution across your organization.

  • Multi-platform deployment

Our tech environments are multi-platform-based. With more and more engineering and field service companies encouraging bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies, the number of platforms available increases by the day. Why would you restrict yourself to a product that’s only deployable on a single or a limited number of platforms? The downside to having such a solution is:

  • Inflexibility – Field service technicians can’t access the software tools required to perform their jobs.
  • Inefficiency – Engineers in the field may juggle multiple devices during the workday, leading to loss of efficiency
  • Productivity drags – Single platform solutions typically don’t integrate with other enabling tools. For example, a SaaS-based scheduling software may not work with your Mac-based mapping or routing software. 

That’s why the best field service management software is a multi-platform solution designed to support a variety of platforms, including SaaS, Windows, Mac, iPhone, iPad, and Android devices. 

  • Support

This is a field service management solution you’re looking for – so, one of the first things one must consider to qualify it as a best-of-breed solution is how well its developers support the product? There are multiple support models out there, but not all provide best-of-breed help and assistance to clients. When service technicians are in the field, they typically don’t “schedule” their own need for support, especially regarding the supporting software tools they use. 

For instance, a team of field service engineers working on a critical service engagement may desperately need access to a specific feature – let’s say, remote assistance from an off-site specialist. If that functionality “breaks,” and it’s 1:30 AM, and the software vendor only offers “Quick response, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, business hour” support – what does the field service team do?

  • Rescheduling the work entails incurring additional time and cost, not to mention that it is a service management team’s nightmare
  • Halting work midstream until 9:00 AM when support is available is equally disruptive for the onsite team.
  • Moving forward without the much-needed input from the remote especially might mean a service job completed on time – but with potential quality of service impacts.  

To classify a solution as the best field service management software, the vendor must offer unrivaled service and support to its clients. That includes a 3-tiered support model covering business hours support, 24/7 live access, and online support. Without this type of support in place, customers risk not having access to a critically necessary service tool when they need it most! 

  • Intelligent routing support

A great field service delivery team must respond quickly and efficiently to a call for service. And that applies to both scheduled as well as emergency calls. When looking for the ideal software solution, you’ll likely find many service management solutions that capture address and location data – some even support multiple location capabilities. This means you can seamlessly route a service team from one branch to another or between head office and field offices.  

However, such features on their own don’t qualify a field service delivery software tool as best-of-breed. For an FMS software to earn that honor, your service management solution must do more! Look for features such as integrated, dynamic route management. With such functionality, your software can seamlessly and effortlessly re-route a team while they are in-field or en route from one service location to another.

Intelligent routing support helps service technicians, who may be new to a location, find the most efficient route to a service call. And, in the event of a mission-critical situation, efficient routing might be the only feature that saves the day – allowing service teams to meet their service level agreements (SLAs) consistently. Features, such as intelligent routing, also keep service teams countless hours of wasted travel time and reduce overall service delivery costs, delivering a better return on investment (ROI) for implementing the best field service management software.

  • Mobile-enabled solutions

Nowhere does best-in-class service management software shine than when it performs on the road. So, what does that mean for your search to implement such best-in-class solutions? Well, put, because field service teams are continually on the go, you’ll need a robust mobile solution to support them 24×7, 365-days a year!

A high-end mainframe-based solution may promise ample capacity storage, multiple redundant server racks, and connectivity supporting hundreds of thousands of simultaneous field technicians. But if the tool can’t deliver support in-field – when and where it matters the most! – then, it’s not worth implementing. 

Here are the questions that you must ask yourself when looking for a mobile-enabled field service solution:

  • Do you need hundreds of terabytes of data storage? Probably not! 
  • Is it imperative that you allow tens of thousands of users to connect simultaneously to your field service network? Likely not!
  • Is lightning-fast speed a deal-breaker if there are fast, giga-bit response-based, reliable alternatives available? Certainly not!   

However, if you combine all these features into a non-mobile solution, is that a workable alternative for your in-field staff? 

The answer:

 A resounding NO! Field service technicians and crew, by definition, work in the field. Monitoring, supporting, and managing them without a mobile-enabled software solution is like asking someone to total billions of transactions manually – without a calculator or spreadsheet!

Making the Final Cut

As you evaluate your list of potential software candidates for the final cut, make sure you look for more than work order tracking and service call status reporting. One feature to consider is Remote Assistance capability, where in-field teams can reach out on the fly using mobile devices and get supplemental support from off-site teams (back at head office or in other service locations). 

In addition to all the features discussed above, including Remote Assist, TillerStack’s field service management software also includes advanced features, including:

  • Billing and invoicing
  • Dispatch Management
  • Inventory Management
  • In-field payment support
  • Quotes and Estimates on the fly
  • Service History
  • Work Order Management
  • Contract and License Management 
  • many more!

Designed and supported by a team of highly qualified engineers and field service specialists, TillerStack’s solution comes with multiple training options, including in-person, live online learning, and advanced usage Webinars. The software is also supported by comprehensive documentation that makes installing simple and renders the product extremely easy to use.

When integrated with all the other features and functionality discussed above, it isn’t hard to see why hundreds of field service technicians, administrators, and corporate executives find TillerStack’s solution the best field service management software. TillerStack FSM software is available today for large, mid-sized, and small field service organizations.