Field Service Automation Roadblocks: 5 Ways to Avoid Implementation Delays
November 15, 2022
For field service organizations, the need to automate business processes has escalated from what once was a “nice-to-have” to a “must-have” scenario. Driving factors include common issues such as inability to keep track of equipment, communication issues with field technicians, over-reliance on paper, delays in customer invoicing, and scaling operations for new business growth. As we shared in a previous blog, “5 Reasons to Prioritize Digital Transformation in Your Field Service and Asset Management Operations,” the benefits of automation are compelling, including:
Gaining real-time visibility to equipment and field crew locations and status
Delivering information to the field team when and where they need it including customer and account details, schedules, directions, work order instructions, steps, and manuals
Having easy access to data from service contracts, work order summaries, spreadsheets, and compartmentalized systems
Improving revenue recognition with ability to invoice customers as soon as work is complete
Having recognized the need for automation, many service companies have started down the automation path only to encounter roadblocks that hinder development, implementation, and execution. So, what kind of roadblocks are we talking about here? Some common roadblocks include poor planning (either too much or too little), shifting priorities, too few resources, poor collaboration, and lack of access to project information.
Based on conversations with customers who are in the middle of automation projects now, we put together these points to help avoid common roadblocks before undertaking an automation project.
This should be the first step of any project. Make sure you have your A-team in place and include people from all departments that will be touched by the new solution – dispatchers, field technicians, finance, IT, customer support and management. Provide collaboration tools that make it easy for team members to bring forward new ideas. Open communication and collaboration are key to a successful project implementation.
Do you have the proper resources available for this project? Resources include more than people – resources include money, support, materials, technology tools, and equipment. Evaluate what you need for the project and your timeframe. Keep an open flow of information to the team – the more they know, the less delays you will encounter due to confusion. And keep a constant watch on budget as the project moves forward. Many projects fail because of insufficient budget, lack of dedicated resources, or overspending too early.
Get your team on the same page regarding priorities. This may be the most important project for your department, but is the rest of the company on board? It’s crucial to have senior leadership involved in setting the priority of the project. With proper backing, it’s much easier to get the resources, funding and attention required to see the project through.
Get a grip on the planning process – don’t be short-sighted in your planning, but don’t make a career of it either. The plan should include how to manage the budget, requirements, changes and more. Make sure your plan covers assumptions, risks, constraints, and dependencies. Planning should also include consideration of your customers and employees – have a clear understanding of how using a new technology can impact them.
New technology is at the center of every field service automation project, but the technology should be viewed as a goal enabler, not the end goal itself. To avoid this common mistake, you need to have a clear understanding of expectations for the end of the project. What do you hope to achieve – improved customer experience, reduced expenses, faster revenue recognition, improved technician efficiency? The takeaway here is to set clear goals, identify metrics for measurement, and get everyone in agreement on what success looks like. This step should be completed in the beginning of the project, not as an afterthought.
The Right Solution
Finally, to avoid roadblocks in implementation of your field service automation project, it’s important to choose the right technology and the right partner for implementation. KloudGin’s Field Service Suite is custom-tailored to meet the needs of any field service entity, big or small, and is continuously being engineered for improvements to improve the lives of our clients and their customers. Many of our happy customers came to us after implementation of another software failed. Our support & implementation teams are here to help you succeed – and we recently receivedBest Support from G2.
Don’t just take our word for it; contact us today or schedule a demo to find out how you can improve and optimize your operations with KloudGin’s tools and expertise.
Ed is a seasoned Sales Engineer with over 14 years’ experience in enterprise and mid-market B2B and B2C companies. Ed's strengths are being a trusted advisor for customers, adaptability to change, understanding complex requirements, ability to communicate solutions to meet customer needs and partner with various departments increase productivity and solve customer problems. When not solving problems for customers, Ed spends time with his three daughters, on a surfboard/paddleboard or a boat trying to catch the biggest fish that swims in that water.