Why Field Service Projects Fail: 5 Common Causes & Prevention Tips
The launch of any software project is an exciting time because your team is energized by the vision of new possibilities.
A field service project can help your company:
Cut field worker travel time 10-20%
Improve job scheduling efficiency
Shorten invoice payment times by 7 days or more
Sounds great, right? Well before you jump into a field service project, we want to tell you some of the common pitfalls we see when we rescue field service projects.
Here are the top 5 reasons field service projects fail:
1. Lack of executive sponsorship
Executive sponsorship is critical anytime you are trying to transform an operational area, but ESPECIALLY with customer relationship management and field service projects.
Why? Because the primary users aren’t in the office. AND – there’s often no set standards to follow. With ERP (enterprise resource planning), MRP (manufacturing resource planning) or accounting software implementations, you are following long established policies and procedures. Some processes are mandated by external agencies, like the IRS. There’s clarity in what needs to be done and how it should be done.
With field service software, both in-office and field staff often have their own way of doing things. Procedures may not be closely followed. The field service implementation has to be given high-priority and the only way that will happen is to have strong executive leadership.
2. Not getting user input
As a rule, you should be involving several senior field service technicians early and often. This real-world feedback is valuable, so you build the right features and automate the right processes, but also so you reduce user resistance. People support what they help create.
3. Scattered focus
The field service software project should begin long before you buy the software and find an implementation partner. If this project started because “as long as we’re doing ERP or CRM, we may as well add field service,” you’re going to run into trouble. Field service implementations require dedicated focus, which should include:
Clearly established goals
Performance metrics that align with goal achievement
Adequate resources – time and money – including plans that allow key personnel to offload some of their day-to-day work so they can dedicate time to the project
A reasonable project timetable
A strong project management team and experienced field service software implementation partner to guide the project
4. The wrong software / wrong team
Field service is unique in how it integrates with the rest of your business. You may want to be pulling inventory from your ERP system, such as Dynamics 365 for Finance & Operations. You may want your customer records to be updated with every on-site visit. You may want to create scripts that automatically diagnose and fix common issues through machine learning and internet-connected sensors. You may want to create a customer portal for clients. You may need field service workers to update records when they’re off-line.
Not every field service software is capable of doing those things. Pick a field service software, such as Dynamics 365 for Field Service, and partner who has managed projects that are similar in size and scope as your project.
5. Poor follow through
TA-DA! The project is DONE! Boy, that “go-live date” feels good, but implementing the software doesn’t mean the project is done.
Be sure your users are trained. Create super users and internal evangelists who can mentor others. Keep the lines of communication open between your users, and the project team so that the software can continue to improve and grow until it feels like a well-worn baseball mitt.
Ready to have a conversation about Field Service and what it could mean for your business? Contact us today to get started.