The Hazards of Being Connected Online: Significantly Reduce Your Risk with Dataforma Field Service Management Software
Field service management (FSM) software can help immensely in combating counterproductive losses on a daily basis. From costly lapses in communication to outright theft, an integrated field service management solution can save your business from enormous costs. However, there are risks to avoid with field service management software as well. Choosing the best software for your industry, from capabilities and security measures, is absolutely essential.
Read on to learn about the biggest sources of risk to your company and how you can avoid them with field service management software from Dataforma.
The Common Sources of Software Risk
One of the most important parts of preventing problems in your daily business functions is to minimize risk, and to be able to minimize risk you need to recognize it. While most high-quality field service management software helps to minimize these issues, poorer software can leave you vulnerable and even exacerbate them.
Some of the most common sources of risk for field management companies include:
Underperforming Security: Many businesses fail to realize the risks associated with cybersecurity failures. This is especially true for cloud-based applications and software. While the benefits and risks of cloud computing tend to favor cloud-based services overall, many companies using such software fail to acknowledge the risks involved with cloud-based management software.Avoiding security risks in cloud-computing is relatively easy as long as you recognize that lower-quality web-based field service management software often fails to properly encrypt web-based data. This absence of encryption or security leaves your databases open to attack and theft, resulting in serious data losses and leaks.
Unsecured Devices: With the increase in mobile device capabilities, the use of mobile devices in the workplace has skyrocketed. This is even true for labor-intensive jobs like construction, electrical and HVAC services, as mobile devices can keep employees in contact with the home office when out on the field.While field service software with mobile capability can serve as an incredible productivity booster for most companies, an improperly designed one can introduce even more problems. Many mobile devices have fewer security features than computers, especially when it comes to connecting to Wi-Fi networks. Connecting your mobile devices to these Wi-Fi networks can leave your devices prone to malware and cyberattacks. While many quality field service management software companies design mobile apps with built-in safeguards against such attacks, low-cost software can come with apps without such protections. Using such an application can result in an employee’s device unintentionally leaking confidential financial or identifying information about your business and its customers, opening the door for financial and security losses.
Improper Data Backup Plans: Six percent of all computers suffer some form of data loss each year, and these data losses can be catastrophic for any business. Nearly 60 percent of companies that lose their data shut down within six months, and even small data losses can result in serious monetary issues. While most modern systems include built-in backup plans to help prevent such losses, lesser-quality field service management software often back up infrequently, meaning that a simple power outage at your providers’ location can result in you losing days of data, if not all of it.
Dissatisfied or Undertrained Employees: The biggest threat to a company’s security and functionality is its employees, especially employees who are frustrated or undertrained. Employees with access to company data can destroy important information or expose your company to attack or theft, either intentionally or unintentionally.Downloading malware, leaking or leaving out access codes and passwords, exposing important company information to competitors or even simply deleting data can severely impact your daily processes and lead to major losses. These risks are especially prevalent if your field service management software is missing safeguards against critical data deletion, is not user-friendly or doesn’t regularly save back-up data. Numerous other potential risks plague field service companies, such as lapses in employee safety protocol and recordkeeping. However, when it comes to the safety of your data, the above risks are the most problematic.
The Costs of Business Data at Risk
By failing to consider the risks posed to your business and its data, you leave yourself open to several potentially costly problems. From minor data losses to drained bank accounts, the potential damage incurred by the above risks can mean the end of your business.
Some of the most common results of these risks include:
Reduced Productivity: Data losses can reduce the overall productivity of your business immensely. Missing records, signatures and other lost business data can take hours or days to retrieve, if they can be at all. While attempting to retrieve the data, your employees are focusing on the problem at hand, rather than your technicians out in the field. This can severely impact your business’ productivity, reducing your profit margins.
Security Breaches: Security breaches can be devastating for your company. A single breach can expose your business’ financial information, trade secrets, employee identities and customer lists. This information can be used to destroy your business’ financial status, and it can cost you dearly in fines and fees from regulatory and security agencies.
Legal Ramifications: For many businesses, their status with regulatory and licensing agencies depends on their performance and the security of customer data. Many companies can lose their licensing if it is proven that they mishandled secure client information. Even if they manage to maintain their licenses, they can still end up being sued by affected customers.
Decreased Customer Trust: Trust is difficult to earn and easy to lose. A security breach or information leak can cost your customers dearly in time and money. While such a breach may not directly be your fault, your customers can still blame you for negligence. What’s more, in an age of online review systems, it is quite difficult to recover from a poor product or service review, especially on social media sites. A single bad review can haunt you for years to come.
Financial Losses: All of the above effects of data loss often result in monetary losses in one form or another. A security breach and subsequent information leak can result in the theft of your financial information and the draining of your accounts. Data losses can cost you money in man-hours as you and your employees try to recover the lost information.Customers frustrated by security breaches and information leaks can also decide to leave your company in favor of another, cutting into your future profits. If the leak resulted in financial injury to them, your customers might even decide to sue you. All of these factors result in your business losing money and missing out on important financial opportunities, which is why covering all of your bases and minimizing the potential for data loss is absolutely crucial for your business’ financial future.
These potential costs can easily mean the end of your business, which is why it is so crucial to mitigate risk as much as possible. While simply updating your tech and your protocols regularly to accommodate current data security trends can help reduce these risks somewhat, there is so much more you can do to minimize risks within your business. One of the most effective steps is adopting a high-quality field service management software.
How Dataforma’s Field Service Management Software Can Minimize Risk
Dataforma’s field service management software can help minimize all of the above risks, reducing the potential for your business to incur unnecessary costs and losses. By improving communication and integrating your entire field service business’ operations into one complete application, you and your employees can be more empowered and connected than ever.
Dataforma’s field service management software can offer some of the following risk-reducing benefits:
Improved Security: Dataforma offers only the best in security. Not only are all of our servers located in fortified hosting facilities designed to fend off any theft attempt, but all of our data is also secured using a 128-bit encryption, similar to those used by Fortune 500 banks and financial institutions. We want to make sure your data is as protected as possible.
Storage and Accessibility: Storing all of your company information within your internal systems can take up a lot of digital storage space, especially after years of operation. Instead of bogging down your hard drive and paying for your own server hosting, Dataforma can offer you 100 gigabytes of storage space on a highly secure cloud-based system. Need more than that? We can add to your storage plan as you need with a small fee. Not only can this cloud-based system offer you more storage, but you can also access your information from anywhere in the world with your mobile device or home computer.
Regular Data Backup: Dataforma does digital backups every hour at each facility, and tape backups every week for media redundancy. This data backup helps ensure your data is protected in case of a problem in one of our servers.
Improved Employee Retention: By offering improved knowledge and connectivity to your employees, you make their jobs infinitely easier. This improved connectivity allows employees to perform their jobs more efficiently, therefore increasing job satisfaction and retention. Additionally, well-designed software with a user-friendly interface makes training employees easier and reduces the potential for critical employee errors. In combination, these factors reduce employee dissatisfaction and improve employee knowledgeability, reducing the possibility for both accidental and intentional data tampering and loss.
Maintained Compliance: Because of the software’s ability to automatically and continuously update information as it is collected, your company can constantly maintain compliance with regulatory organizations. By organizing all of your company’s information and keeping it at your fingertips, you can minimize risks as well as avoid violations and complaints against your company. Additionally, stringent security measures included within the software help to make sure all the information is kept as safe and secure as possible.
Automated Processes: To err is human, which is why having automated processes included in your business can make your job easier. By including automatic timekeeping, automatic inventory tracking and ordering and other processes within your field service management software, your business runs smoothly and efficiently, minimizing the potential for costs caused by human error. Additionally, a good field service software will automatically update all forms and data inputs for you, minimizing time spent inputting data and reducing the possibility of entering it incorrectly.
Digitized Records: Though there is much to be said about physical recordkeeping, paperless records are a much more efficient and thorough way to stay on top of your business. Rather than track pages of paper that can get damaged or lost, digital records keep everything from your timestamps to your signatures and quotes all in one easy to access system. This makes it easier to pull out records for bill disputes, audits and other events where the original record may be required. These digitized records can also be integrated and interlinked, so that an updated field in one form will automatically update fields in another, reducing the need for double-entry.
Other Capabilities of Field Service Management Software
The risks to your business don’t stop at data security, however. The risks above have other potential impacts as well, and other sources of risk can affect other aspects of your business. For example, untrained employees may forget to keep records all the time, resulting in inaccurate timestamps or missing customer signatures, while inefficient communication channels may slow down or even endanger technicians in the field. To minimize all of the risks associated with the field service and contracting industry, a full-service field service management software with integrated processes can help.
Some of the most important risk-reducing capabilities to look for in a quality field service management software include:
Mobile Capability and Security: Most technicians aren’t able to lug around a laptop to each location, which is why any good field service management software is available for mobile devices. With an appropriate tablet or smartphone, technicians can keep updated on their jobs for the day, communicate with their home office and other technicians and take important information about the job, such as inventory used, time spent and client information and approval. This can help improve employee satisfaction immensely. The only thing to look out for — make sure to ask that such mobile applications are appropriately secured and protected against hacks.
Customer Alerts: Half of all businesses using a field service management program use it for customer alert capabilities. The ability to see the needs of a customer, such as a change in appointment time or services requested, can help your technicians properly prepare and get the job done as efficiently as possible. This makes the job easier for your technicians, improving employee satisfaction as well as your profits.
Electronic Signatures: Tracking paper signatures for every single service each of your technicians provide can get to be a hassle, especially when technicians are handling several jobs each day. With an electronic signature capture, your client’s content is stored digitally for easy access and reference. This ensures all confirmations are properly tracked and stored. This also protects you from claims against your invoices.
Online Quotes: Customizable online quotes are a huge boon to your company both ways. Your client gets a digital copy of whatever your company quoted them for, while your company is able to save a digital copy of the request, complete with customer information, details about their request and any other information included in the quote. These help streamline your processes and increase your profits.
Technician Skill Match: Juggling multiple technicians at a time is one of the most difficult things about handling field services. Different technicians are skilled in different areas — you may have one electrician who is particularly good with breakers, while another is better at light fixtures. By digitally assigning and ranking your employees with different skills, your FSM software can automatically make suggestions for which technician to use at what job, streamlining your end of the business immensely. This also means that underqualified technicians aren’t assigned to jobs beyond their skill level, reducing the potential for work-related injuries.
Electronic Inventory Orders: Creating an inventory order can be a hassle. Between tracking the amount of product used per order, tracking when inventory is saved vs. used, taking inventory and picking what time to order inventory so it arrives before you completely run out, you have a full workload on your hands in inventory tracking alone. Electronic inventory tracking and ordering can help ease the burden a little bit by automatically tracking stock as it’s used and ordering new stock when your stored amount hits a certain level. This prevents inventory shortages.
Media Uploads: It can often be helpful to upload photos and documents to your field service management software. For example, photographs of technicians can be assigned to their profiles for easy reference, as can pictures of regular clients, products or particularly challenging issues that might require a second set of eyes. The ability to upload and share photographs of these things can be helpful in ensuring technician safety and job completion.
Time Tracking: Many employees forget to track the time spent at any particular job site for reference, instead estimating the approximate amount of time sent at a job site. Not only is this unprofessional, but it isn’t fair to you or to your client, as you could be shorting or overcharging your client and never know about it.Not only does a GPS-integrated field service management software system tell you where to go, but when you arrive at your destination, the GPS can tell the field service management software to start a clock that will either stop when you tell it to or when you leave the residence. This method both indicates proof of the technician’s location at the residence and automatically tracks time and stores the information digitally for later review, eliminating paper tracking.
Invoicing: Digital invoices of services can be extremely helpful. In combination with the automatic time tracker, a digital invoice can be used to check off any equipment used, particular services rendered and time spent at the location, adding it all up automatically. Additionally, any inventory used for the job is automatically accounted for and digitally tracked to properly time when to put in an inventory order. This helps minimize calculation errors, getting you your maximum revenue.In all, these capabilities help business run more efficiently. In fact, 97 percent of field service management software users actually reported that their software affected their business operations for the better, increasing the number of completed jobs per day by an average 47 percent.
Field Service Management Software for Every Service
Dataforma is the largest provider of web-based business management services for the field service and construction industry, including roofers, HVAC technicians, electricians, plumbers, and restoration professionals. Our relational database program is designed to allow businesses of any size the best functionality possible, helping them protect data, process work orders, track and contact customers, track inventory, schedule jobs and store crucial business and customer information, all with one easy-to-use software system.
Dataforma’s field management software is designed specifically for the field service industry, making it easier than ever for your field service or construction business to create, schedule, dispatch and track service calls. We help you help your team work better together by allowing easier communication between your office staff and field crew, empowering your employees with an easy and convenient way to collect and share information. Even better, we keep all of your collected information safe, secure and accessible with extensive security measures and reporting capabilities.
We’ve been providing valuable services to contractors and other industry professionals since 2003, meaning that we have over a decade of experience working with the industry. Our highly-trained staff comes from a wide range of backgrounds, so we have a unique perspective on how to help the field service and contractor industry work better.
To learn more about Dataforma and the incredible capabilities of our field service management software and schedule a free demonstration, contact us today!