Build vs. Buy: Field Service Workforce Management Software
Over the past few years, field service has continued to change and evolve alongside consumers’ wants and needs. Technological advances have certainly contributed to much of the industry’s growth in recent years. As industries grow, more focus has shifted to excellent customer service, efficient scheduling tools and easy in-field payment options.
These things have become important to most customers. As such, industries relying on field service work have embraced and integrated many tools to address these and other customer needs.
Field service workforce management software is one of the most effective, innovative and functional of these tools. Using field service management software platforms and mobile apps is critical to ensuring your business’s growth and relevance moving forward.
What Is Workforce Management Software?
Workforce management (WFM) software is any software that assists a business in managing and improving its labor schedules. These solutions can typically be used on both desktop and mobile devices. Field service management software platforms primarily exist to streamline many of the most important aspects of general labor management. These include, but are not limited to:
- Staff scheduling: Without WFM software, coordinating staff schedules — especially for mid-size and larger companies — can be a near-impossible, Herculean task. WFM software can simplify and automate the entire process. With accurate input of staffing availability and business labor hours, WFM software platforms makes staff scheduling simple.
- Time clocks and data collection: WFM software can also assist staff by providing an accurate and simple-to-use time clock function. Employees can rely on the WFM for timetracking system, going on breaks throughout the workday and performing other time-clock functions. This ability helps staff to track their own time and enables businesses to collect time-clock data.
- Leave management: WFM software can allow employees to put in leave and time-off requests. Managers can then clearly see and approve or deny said requests. This function of WFM software can improve time-off transparency and allow employees to feel more empowered in their work-life balance.
- Task and activity management: Managers and business owners can use WFM software to monitor labor and productivity, especially when it comes to decision-making and task- and activity-based management. These work responsibilities can include activities such as processing job orders and project assignments, dispatching technicians, processing payments and managing vendors.
Pros of Building Workforce Management Software In-House
Companies have two options when considering WFM software for their business: building the software or purchasing a ready-made solution. Determining which software is best for your business depends on your needs and priorities.
Building an in-house WFM software from scratch is a huge undertaking. It will typically require a great deal of time and financial investment and presents many other considerations. However, there can also be some significant advantages to building an in-house field service management software:
- Customization: For many businesses, one of the primary reasons to invest in in-house field software is the customization options that a built-from-scratch platform can provide. Custom-coded WFM software can allow businesses to incorporate highly specialized features. These customized and customizable features can be especially useful for companies requiring complex or very specific case needs. All functions, features and performance tools are customizable. This makes in-house workforce management software an attractive option for some companies, managers and business owners.
- Ease of integration: The numerous integration options are some of the most popular reasons why businesses build their own workforce management tools. These integration options can include multi-platform management software, such as in-house service management apps and other mobile workforce tools.
- Faster response time: When a business builds its field workforce management software from scratch, the platform will naturally require ongoing maintenance, innovations and other improvements. As such, the business will likely have ongoing access to the coding team that created its WFM software. An advantageous aspect of this is the ability to change and update elements of the WFM along the way. Troubleshooting issues and bug fixes can often be resolved more quickly and efficiently.
- Potential for savings: Depending on the depth and complexity of a given field management platform, some companies and business owners may find that an in-house option offers a greater return on investment (ROI) than a commercial, ready-to-use solution. Keep in mind that these cost savings usually only apply to software platforms that are relatively straightforward. More complex, multi-platform software designs will likely be expensive and may not result in the desired savings and financial benefits.
- Total design control: When your company has full access to its software’s coding and design team, it also has near-total control over the software and its functions. As a result, your company can update business goals and priorities as they change in real time. The functionality that in-house software offers allows the platform’s design to evolve along with the business it serves.
Cons of Building and Using In-House Workforce Management Software
While there are clearly benefits to building and using in-house WFM software, there can be serious disadvantages as well. It’s crucial to consider the time and money your company will spend on building and maintaining a built-from-scratch WFM platform. Plus, consider the stressors that will come along with these important considerations:
Significant Time Commitment
Building WFM software in-house is a huge time commitment. In most cases, your company will need to hire coders, graphic designers and other software professionals to design your program. Designing and building software from nothing naturally requires several drawn-out steps.
These steps include brainstorming, setting deadlines, building the platform, beta testing, integrating it with existing programs, and launching it. These steps can take months, if not longer, to complete. Consequently, the necessary time commitment from start to finish can result in increased costs for your company in the interim.
Unpredictable Upfront Costs
earch shows about 2/3 of IT projects run over budget — some by as much as 100%. Additionally, only 1/4 of projects reach release while staying within 25% of the original budget. Spending money on something that doesn’t exist yet is a stressful gamble because there’s no guarantee of the product’s effectiveness.
Near-Constant Changes and Updates
As is true with nearly any software, an in-house WFM program will inevitably require ongoing troubleshooting, maintenance and updates. As such, the financial burden does not end with the upfront costs. Rather, you will need to pay for IT teams that can monitor and maintain the software and its programs.
When building WFM software or a customer relationship management (CRM) platform in-house, most businesses will rely on their current practices and workflows to inform the software. As a result, your company could miss out on industry innovations and other software best practices that naturally come along with reputable, third-party software vendors.
Your company can benefit greatly when it remains aware of and open to integrating emerging industry best practices and software updates. Staying abreast of these new trends is a full-time job itself. Your business will likely need to employ third-party professionals to monitor and incorporate new tech and changing practices. Keeping that in mind, it often makes more sense to trust an existing third-party software from the beginning.
Why In-House Workforce Management Software Tends to Fail
There are many reasons why in-house workforce management software often fails. Many companies, business owners and managers significantly underestimate the time and money that building software requires. In most cases, there is little to no guarantee that the final product will meet company needs or expectations.
While your company waits for the WFM software to be built, tested and rolled out, your employees may be forced to continue using paper documentation and invoicing, old-school time clocks and manual scheduling — all of which can impact your bottom line, productivity and customer satisfaction.
Other considerations to keep in mind include your software’s hosting provider and data storage, as well as cybersecurity. If those concepts themselves seem overwhelming or completely foreign to you as you read this, that may be a good sign that building in-house WFM software may be better suited to a knowledgeable professional.
Cybersecurity is an especially important facet of software creation and management. As a manager or business owner, you have a duty to both your employees and clients to ensure their work devices and personal information are secure. In-house software will require a significant investment of your time and money if you seek to build a secure, safe platform and mobile app.
Luckily, you can easily rely on vetted and experienced preexisting software vendors such as Dataforma. We can alleviate and simplify nearly every aspect of choosing and customizing the right field service workforce management software solution for your company.
Dataforma Is the Perfect Solution for Your Workforce Management Software Needs
Dataforma is a proven industry leader in the creation, development, management and maintenance of workforce management software. Your business will greatly benefit from using our management software and many other products.
Dataforma offers a comprehensive array of products and services that optimize your business and create effective, cost-friendly solutions that will serve your employees, vendors and clients in equal measure. Highly efficient and user-friendly, our products can easily combine with each other, blending all your favorite and most-used tools into one simple, easy-to-use program.
Our dynamic, state-of-the-art products can help businesses of all sizes streamline many aspects of their work. Whether you manage employee schedules, track leads, run reports or use a mobile app, Dataforma offers these product solutions:
As its name suggests, the Core CRM forms the basis, or core, of nearly all our other product and service offerings. Core CRM allows business owners and managers to track all information pertinent to everyday task management and client relationships. This information includes job scheduling, invoicing, lead and sales tracking, paperless service management, customer relationship management and more.
Given its extensive uses, users can implement the Core CRM in many departments. These departments can be the following: service and sales, project management, executive management, human resources, and administrative and IT support.
Field Service Management Software
Along with our Core CRM, our Field Service Management Software has shown proven results in increasing efficiency and, as a result, client satisfaction and timely payments. Some benefits of using this software include daily job and productivity reports, invoice integration and simple, easy documentation. Field technicians benefit immensely from the Dataforma mobile app, which allows them easy access to all necessary information while they are on the job and in the field.
Mobile Time Clock
When using Dataforma’s mobile time clock, employees can feel empowered and secure in the accuracy of their time-tracking and resulting pay. This completely paper-free mobile option is hassle-free for both employees and payroll administrators. Studies show 75% of field workers want to use mobile reporting apps as much as possible. Incorporating a mobile time clock can improve employee satisfaction and increase time reporting accuracy. This benefits everyone from managers to workers on the ground.
Most clients today don’t want to have to contact service technicians by phone. However, they want the most reliable information when it comes to the services they need and the technicians they use. Dataforma’s Customer Portal gives clients a secure way to communicate with administrators and field technicians alike and receive regular work updates and accurate, paperless invoicing options.
Request a Demo From Dataforma Today
All of our products have been carefully designed to be used in tandem with one another. These products are customizable and can adjust to fit the exact needs of your company, field technicians and clients. By relying on Dataforma’s state-of-the-art product offerings and technical expertise, your company can focus on the work it does best.
Additionally, we offer advanced training for businesses that use our software. We incorporate a multi-discipline approach to ensure you and your employees always know exactly how to run your programs. If you ever need assistance using Dataforma, reach out to us for client support.
Contact Dataforma today for a free demo and learn more about our services and product offerings.