A Complete Guide To Cloud ERP For Field Service Management
At one point, cloud computing was a speck in the dust, a minor tool. Nowadays, cloud service providers are in every corner of the world, as cloud computing has provided greater flexibility than any traditional work setting.
When thinking of the quantity of servers, storage space, security features, and IT personnel that is needed for on-premises infrastructures, it’s easy to believe why so many construction firms are leaving their legacy software behind. Over half of construction companies are still using in-house field service management solutions, this limits the vision that managers have across the business.
In this article, we will cover the benefits of field service management and why businesses are moving to a cloud ERP. After all, sticking with a legacy system simply means your organization is living in the past.
If you’d like to learn more about cloud-based ERP systems and how they have become optimized to support field service management, keep reading.
Field Service Management & Benefits
FSM is the management of the company’s workforce and resources, those in field service management complete their job at the location of the customer or work offsite, primarily through mobile service software.
Examples of this would be cable and telecommunications, utility, health care providers, office cleaning, landscaping, HVAC, and more. These type of technicians work with the consumer and are often the only contact between the company and the client. The interaction is significant to the success of the business process and project.
With this in mind, the value of utilizing cloud software for field service management is large. A true cloud ERP allows companies to exceed the expectations of customers in terms of cost, satisfaction, efficiency, and timelines.
Since customer satisfaction is one of the biggest cornerstones for business success, the use of cloud ERP for dispatching, streamlining, and reducing response times via web-based applications is the way to go.
Traditional organizations might see the use of updating their methods of field service, but most of the tried-and-true procedures are safe and comfortable. Upgrading might sound like a challenge. While this is somewhat true, the benefits of automating field management are more than worthwhile.
Here are some reasons why:
Headquarters and field technicians are connected with every service. Each technician has complete access to customer data and service information whether it be on an iPad, laptop, or phone.
The field part of the equation is evolving from out-of-reach to constant access. The capacity for handling each situation autonomously with access to available resources is there.
Dispatch the right people with the right skills to each worksite. Customer info, product history, service requests, and materials needed are at the fingertips of each technician.
Schedules are created with graphical visualization or automation, identifying the service status of orders without the hassle and saving time on the back-end.
Map & Route Integration
Dispatchers use mapping applications to schedule routes, using information from real-time to decrease driving times.
You can notify technicians as soon as possible and connect them with the new service order on their mobile devices.
Inventory Maintenance & Equipment Management
Integration of service stores, purchasing, sales, and inventory means techniques can easily manage inventory of tools, repair parts, and equipment.
Tracking records are regularly updated and can be accessed at each job.
Why Field Service Management Should Be On the Cloud
When adding field service management software, you don’t want to be maintaining a complex system within the compounds of your entire business. Especially on-premises, because the system can be used on several computers and servers simultaneously.
Unless you have IT, the vendor might need to be brought in to complete maintenance on- site. This takes time and money.
A cloud-based field service management software would be maintained by another party. This means that those using the software don’t need to fix it, freeing up their time towards other important business tasks.
By reducing the need for maintenance, field service businesses can begin to deplete their IT overhead. Thus, allowing room for more strategic investments.
One of the other issues of on-premises systems is that upgrades are expensive and difficult. The latest version requires updates to be made to each system on the site.
On the other hand, cloud-based software enables the vendor to make upgrades on their own, without the need to upgrade single servers or machines. This means that providers do not have to maintain several versions of the software.
They can continue to work with a single solution and maintain their operations in full. A single update to a single software is more cost-effective and keeps the business secured and efficient with the latest version.
When purchasing on-premise software, your IT department will have to match a bunch of criteria, such as: Is there enough server space? What about bandwidth and internet capacity? How large is the department? Can they support the software on their own?
Since cloud-based field service software is not on-premises, the requirements are minimal. It’s the vendor who is doing maintenance, so that’s out of the question. When issues do come up, they will resolve the issues, including downtime and upgrades.
That means you don’t need as much IT capability to maintain and deploy your software, and you no longer have to depend on your own potential to increase performance specs and hardware capabilities.
Cloud ERP Utilization for FSM
When a team works together, thanks to cloud ERP utilization, they are up-to-date with all of the latest data. This is essential for field workers, who would usually be detached from the central office.
An ERP system removes the burden of data entry into disparate structures. Having data in a single-sufficient system helps technicians complete their orders more accurately, and then have more time to focus on client relationships.
When data is collected in regular integration, visibility is not hard to reach. Management and teams can analyze and review data that reveals potential growth points and all the weaknesses.
Clients see technicians as their advisors. Arming these workers with resources through a cloud-based ERP system will give them an advantage in the workforce.
Employees have full clarity into the quotation process and by viewing the process, they are much better equipped to convert gains and identify pain points.
Being able to educate new prospects by progressing is an advantage in itself, but keeping an eye out on recurring contracts that bring in lots of revenue is just as important.
Dashboards can be developed to alert teams of soon-to-expire contracts so that relationships can be upheld in those times. With advanced technology, it’s easy to maintain service schedules for each customer.
Many other features ensure systems are running efficiently and properly.
With a cloud-based ERP system, a company can expand upon its options at work. All that is needed is a cellular or WiFi connection to utilize the apps with their devices.
Implementing advanced technologies will let teams access vital info and customer data at any time from anywhere. Mobility has many advantages, one of which is giving technicians timely information during quotations.
Being able to deliver estimates allows sale associates to upsell, which can drive even more revenue. Being able to access the systems that in-office employees can access allows technicians to be aware of updates.
Employees can log in and out during shifts, removing the need for cards, which are always damaged and lost in transit.
A call center or dispatch has a greater connection with employees in the field. Cloud computing makes it simple to find employees at any given time.
GPS integration allows the central office to make changes and emergency schedules to employees who are close and have the bandwidth. Dispatch can also keep customers informed on the estimated time of arrival for a technician or help them make a schedule change if necessary.
Clear visibility with maps is great for remote teams as well. Technicians no longer have to guess what routes are the fastest, and can see any obstacles they wouldn’t have otherwise. If traffic changes, updates will let them know.
Graphic routes are visible for both dispatch and field technicians allowing for a very optimized workflow.
Cloud ERP for You
Now that you know how important cloud ERP utilization is for field service-driven businesses, you are well on your way to implementing the power of the cloud.
In any case, over half of the businesses that use FSM are still operating with on-premises servers, and they getting by. However, they are not growing, they are not future-proofing their business and they are not propelling themselves forward.
It’s your business and it’s up to you to decide if you want it to be taken to the next level.
If you’d like to learn more about ERP integrations, get in touch with one of our experts and they will happily accommodate your needs!