By Sarah Nicastro, Creator, Future of Field Service
Are you a control freak? I can relate. Feel like no one can do it like you can? Guilty. Want to do it all? Me too. It can be hard to step back and be logical about the areas in which relinquishing control can help us achieve greater success – but with the pressures today’s field service organizations are facing, it is absolutely imperative to do so.
I feel that for the vast majority of our audience, this article will be a moot point – most of you have embraced the fact that technology has advanced to the point where there are providers out there doing it far better than you could (or at least should). But, for those of you out there with a white-knuckled grip on your perceived sense of control that building your own software brings – this is for you. My friend, industry veteran turned consultant, Greg Lush wrote a column for LinkedIn on this topic recently. Greg, who doesn’t mince words, says: “Should you look for software solutions that ‘cover the transactional bases’ and offer the ability to personalize with data perspectives and system workflows? Absolutely. As we round the corner of another decade and come face to face with 2020, you would be hard pressed to find a reason why you shouldn't take this path. Oh, unless my observations are deliberately avoiding the elephant in the room: your ego. Years ago, when the software universe was very limited, building custom software may have been a good idea. However, with the flood of solutions existing and entering on a daily basis, your strategy should be one that embraces, through the use of graphing and other integration tools, the best components to make your solution. Sometimes that means an end to end solution and other times that may mean a symphony of best-in-class software applications. Either way, building custom tools to perform commoditized transactional functions is a bad move, short and long term.” As Greg points out, there was a time where a build-your-own approach was appropriate for some organizations. We’ve simply grown past that point. It would be difficult to argue a situation in which a company’s needs are so unique that they can’t be addressed with the flexibility and configurability that today’s leading software solutions provide. If you’re still spending valuable resources and likely too much money developing your own solution, consider these points:
- The pressure is on to innovate. As a service business, you are under the gun to meet and exceed customer expectations that are becoming increasingly sophisticated by the minute. Is a solid field service software solution essential to meeting those demands? Absolutely. Should you spend your time developing it? Absolutely not. You need to focus your efforts, energy, and resources on innovating around your core competencies. Thinking about how you can better serve your customers, and what your next generation of services will look like. These demands are incredibly taking, and so is software development – you aren’t going to win at both and there’s no need to try.
- Today’s solutions are more than capable. It’s no fault of your own if you simply have an outdated view of what’s possible with today’s software solutions. Maybe you haven’t evaluated the offerings in a long time. Maybe your organization has a legacy in-house solution in place and that’s just “how it’s always been done.” The software landscape has changed significantly in the last few years – and it’s continuing to do so. There are very sophisticated solutions on the market that meet a variety of needs and are highly configurable, at reasonable price points. As Greg points out in his article, there is nary a scenario in which a businesses needs are so unique that there isn’t a solution on the market that will meet – or configure – to them.
- The pace of change is too rapid. There was a time where you could build your own solution and use it, as it was built, for many years. That time has come and gone. Your business is changing too rapidly. Technology is evolving at lightening speed. There are simply too many variables to make it feasible to be able to keep pace with a home-grown solution. You would be in a continuous cycle of re-evaluating, re-developing, and re-deploying. I don’t know of any organizations that have the resources and money to waste on this sort of effort when viable and powerful options are at the ready.
As it relates to software, don’t let your ego or affinity for control stand in the way of making good use of the tools available to you to free your organization up to do what it does best.