Buying job management software? About to make one of these mistakes?

Cristina Maria
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For field service companies like you, competing in an increasingly congested marketplace, any tool that can provide you with operational efficiency represents an opportunity to edge ahead of your rivals. Job management software is just that - a system which can revolutionise day-to-day tasks.

But choosing a software is not an easy task with so many options out there. Some of the most common mistakes people make are these:

#1 The software does not fit the business.

#2 The team is not shown how to use the software.

#3 Results are not measured.

How do you avoid these mistakes?

Consider the buying process and think of the three steps involved:

#1. Choosing the right job management software
#2. Implementing your software
#3. Using it post-installation

Let's be clear: there can be potential pitfalls but take on board these rules of thumb before you make your final decision.

 Step 1 when choosing job management software

Step #1. Choosing the right software

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1. What are your business goals?
2. Step back and see the bigger picture of your company
3. What are your technical requirements?
4. Does it integrate with other solutions?
5. Demo different solutions
6. Cheaper is not always better! Think about the ROI
7. Training is there for a reason

1. What are your business goals?

What do you want to achieve as a company? Before you can align your organisation perfectly with the ideal system, you need to have a clear idea of what your goals are. Think also of your current and future challenges when it comes to your workforce.

2. Step back and look at the bigger picture of your company

Your employees can act as a fantastic sounding board when it comes to giving you advice in your search. Try to involve them in the buying process.

  • What would employees expect from the system? And most importantly, why?
  • How will it affect them day-to-day?
  • Which features would be more of a hindrance than a help?

This is your opportunity to find out. Stepping back and getting some fresh insights will always be a good strategy. 

3. What are your technical requirements?

Once you’ve been through a mapping process and reviewed it, make a practical and realistic technical requirement list. This list will help you to evaluate different providers and tick off available features against those needs. Are these features included or do they need custom work? And if so, how feasible is custom development work for your company?

Elements which are often overlooked are security control, back-ups and service level agreement (SLA) options, so make sure you take them all into consideration!

4. Does it integrate with other solutions?

Typically there are many add-ons, or integrations as they're known. Different job management software work with different integrations, some of which you might be already using. For example, if you have a QuickBooks package for your accounting, it would be easiest to go for a software that integrates with it. Look out for other compatible packages such as payment or communication solutions.

5. Demo different solutions

To build up a good idea about which system would best fit your business, it's advisable to review at least five different options.

Narrow this number down to a shortlist of three and ask these software providers for a demo. Don’t hesitate to use the free trial option.

It’s only when it comes to using it that you can see if it truly matches your requirements.

6. Cheaper is not always better! Think about the ROI

What you want is a return on your investment (ROI) so it makes no sense at all to jump on a cheap option with no real long-term value. Remember, what you pay now should be weighed up against future rewards. Your company is bound to grow so make sure your software is capable of growing with you so you don't need to repeat the same investment - rendering the current one null - 6 months from now. 

7. Training is there for a reason

Using software without training can be like driving a car without learning - asking for trouble! If you are going to consolidate your business operations onto one system then your workforce needs to get to understand how. As we'll see later, the smoothest implementations work best with the right training.

Ensure your package comes with access to training, webinars, videos or even a knowledge base to guide your employees.

Read also: Why Job Management Software Training is Good for Your Business

Step 2 when choosing job management software

 Step 2. Implementing your job management software

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8. Keep the same team involved
9. Don't rush, take your time

8. Keep the same team involved

Just as before, try to keep a broad cross-section of employees in the implementation team. This will help in getting accurate feedback on how the software is being used and how effective it is in the early stages. Not to be dramatic but at the end of the day, your team will be the one who will have to live with your choice. 

9. Don't rush, take your time

On average, small and medium businesses spend a month in the researching and choosing part of the buying process and two months in total to start using a system in its entirety. Make sure you write down all the common problems you encounter as a field service business and keep them in mind.

You shouldn't feel like you need to implement it all at once. On the contrary, a gradual introduction into existing work processes can make more sense and lead to fewer mistakes as you progress.

Step 3 when choosing job management software

Step 3: Using the software post-installation

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10. Don’t forget to use it!
11. Measure progress and results
12. Be prepared to go it alone
13. You can't replace employees

10. Don’t forget to use it!

There may be an initial resistance from employees, especially those on the front line. That's completely normal.

Your workforce may need several reminders to use the new system, on top of their training; remind them it's there to make their life easier! 

11. Measure progress and results

Just as you weighed up the different solutions before buying, the measurement shouldn't stop at the point of purchase.

You should track both the take-up of the new software and the results you have achieved since. Compare these with your company's initial objectives. A good example would be: "Have I reduced the time my office workers spend on scheduling?".

12. Be prepared to go at it alone

Work on the basis that the customer service of your software package will not be able to help you with the use of the software. You need to know how to respond to difficulties internally.

13. You can't replace employees

Don’t forget that job management software is here to support your business, not to do your employees' jobs. It might be said that software is only as good as the employees who use it, so bear in mind that your training could be the most important piece in the jigsaw.

So there you have it, 13 points to bear in mind on your way to a new job management system. Purchasing certainly isn't as simple as going to the shop for a pint of milk, but with the potential benefits on the table, what can be a slow process, will be worthwhile in the end.

Ready to take your business to the next level? Read these three articles if you want to learn how:

3 reasons why a job management software is your best asset

> 5 steps to go paperless in 24 hours

> What are the best mobile phones for engineers?

> 10 Key FSM Features to Look for in 2019


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