Picture this: Tom is a manager at a small HVAC and plumbing business that wants to increase business revenue and improve KPIs, such as its first-time fix rate.
He and a small team try out a one month free trial of a field service management (FSM) software tool, and it helps them meet their productivity targets and increase profits.
Tom knows that the business needs to implement software to meet the new revenue goals and KPI targets. Excited about the prospect, he makes a business case to the owner to purchase a field service management solution.
Feeling confident, he eagerly awaits a response from the owner.
To his surprise and disappointment, his proposal is rejected. He receives the following feedback from his boss:
- The finance team says they’re not sure whether the profits from the productivity improvement will offset the cost of the software.
- Senior management has concerns about the return on investment (ROI) of a software purchase and wonders whether software is needed at all.
- In a post-proposal survey, it was found that the field service staff is unsure about the productivity improvements and is not open to accepting the changes to their style of work.
What went wrong? Clearly, Tom’s business case lacked proper justification for the ROI on the software purchase. It also failed to address considerations for other important stakeholders, such as the finance and management teams.
By taking a “stakeholders first” approach to creating a business case for new software, field service managers can more effectively communicate ROI and other benefits to relevant parties, and, therefore, have a higher chance for success in having their proposals approved.
In this article we’ll help you build a strong business case for implementing an FSM solution.
4 steps for building an FSM software business case
Step 1: Identify stakeholders and their field service management needs
Software purchase decisions involve multiple stakeholders across different departments. For instance, you may need to consult the finance team for budget approval and the IT team for technical specifications and requirements.
To improve the chance of success for your field service software business case, you need to take into account the requirements of each stakeholder separately.
Here are the common stakeholders involved in an FSM software purchase and their expectations:
|Stakeholder||Expectations from FSM software|
|Field service business owner||The biggest expectation for a field service business owner is the growth of the business. Owners will expect to see improvement in customer ratings, profits, and revenue as a result of the investment.|
|Field service managers||Field service managers are more concerned about their team’s productivity. They expect an FSM solution to help them schedule their team efficiently and track the KPIs of their team and its individual members.|
|Field service staff||These are the daily users of the software. They’ll expect to see productivity improvement from the software and for any new tool to be easy to learn and use.|
|Finance department||The finance department is more concerned with business expenses and therefore expects a good ROI within a realistic timeframe.|
|Information technology (IT)||The IT team is responsible for installation and maintenance of the software. It focuses on ease of deployment, availability of upgrades, integration ability, and the technical specifications of the software.|
|Marketing||This department needs to monitor the activity of current customers to make decisions regarding customer segmentation and targeting in future campaigns. They expect FMS software to provide ROI and profitability reports on existing customers.|
How to use this table
- Use the table provided above as a starting point to identify key stakeholders in your field service business. If you prefer, add another column to the above table to include the names and designations of the key stakeholders.
- Conduct meetings with the stakeholders to identify their expectations from FSM software.
- Customize the table mentioned above based on your business needs. For instance, you may need to consider other expectations or other stakeholders (such as customer service and support).
Step 2: Educate stakeholders about how software features will address business needs
After you’ve identified the key stakeholders and their needs, the next step is to provide them with a list of software features and explain how these will contribute to their business goals.
We recommend using a requirement and features map, as shown below, that highlights the most relevant software features and how they benefit specific stakeholders. This table will help you demonstrate to stakeholders how specific product features will help them achieve their business goals.
This is a sample requirement and features map. You should customize it for your business’s stakeholder requirements.
|Field service business owner||Track business growth||Customizable reporting|
|Field service managers||
|Field service staff||
|Back office staff||Manage customer requests via phone and email||Call center management|
|Finance department||Track ROI on software purchase||Customizable reporting|
|IT||Integration with existing apps||Third-party integrations and APIs|
|Marketing department||Track customer purchase history for upselling and cross-selling campaigns||Customer management|
How to use this table
- In the table, list stakeholder requirements from the “stakeholder expectations” you laid out in Table 1. For instance, if your finance team expects to see ROI within a certain timeframe, your focus area should be ROI, and the corresponding metrics should include profit and loss (P&L) and revenue.
- Use the GetApp Field Service Management guide to identify relevant FSM features for each stakeholder’s requirements and use them to populate your own requirement and features map.
Step 3: Define the metrics you’ll use to track the impact of the FSM software
One of the biggest advantages of an FSM solution is the number of reports it includes. The software makes it possible to track different business metrics, such as customer details, first-time fix rate, revenue, and more.
In addition to providing management with important inputs for decision-making, these reports will also help your field service business measure the impact of the software deployment itself.
This in turn will make your business case stronger. Below is a step-by-step approach you can use to achieve this goal:
- For each stakeholder, list the focus areas individually and the business metrics that will help you track them.
- Gather the 12-month historical data on the business metrics. You can get this data from different sources, such as accounting data, historical reports, and Excel Spreadsheets.
- Compare quarter-over-quarter performance impact for each of these metrics with the historical data.
To identify business metrics to track, we recommend creating a table similar to the one listed below:
|Stakeholder||Focus area||Business metrics|
|Field service managers||Technician effectiveness||First-time fix rate, utilization rate, time-to-repair|
|Field service managers||Customer responsiveness||Travel time, time to invoice|
|Field service managers||Customer feedback||Recommendation rate, quality-of-service ratings|
|Marketing department||Customer trends||Revenue per customer, customer attrition rate|
|Finance department||ROI||Profit and loss, revenue, business expense summary|
Note: You will also use this table to execute on Step 4 in the next section.
How to use this table
- Customize the table above based on your business needs and the types of business metrics you can measure.
- Select only those metrics for which 12-month historical records are available. This will provide you with a baseline for demonstrating performance improvement after FSM software deployment.
Step 4: Set realistic improvement goals for each of the defined metrics
If you want to present a strong business case, you need to set challenging—yet achievable—targets for the FSM software deployment. Setting realistic expectations before purchasing the software will:
- Provide realistic expectations to management on the performance improvement associated with a field service software deployment.
- Help you secure budget more quickly, as the finance team will be able to estimate a realistic timeframe for achieving ROI on the FSM software investment.
To set realistic expectations for your software deployment, we recommend that you use the following approach:
- Case study analysis: You can refer to case studies, which are often available on software vendor websites. This will help you to estimate the percentage improvement in business metrics that you can expect from a field service management solution.
- Product reviews: You can also analyze GetApp reviews to study the impact of software use in your line of business.
- Surveys: You can conduct short surveys of other field service businesses to understand the effects of using field service software. An easy way to post a survey is using social media. Post your questions on channels such as LinkedIn and Quora to get views from the industry peers.
After you have defined the targets for your business metrics, we recommend that you present the following table for monitoring the impact on metrics on a monthly, quarterly, and annual basis. The tracker will help you communicate to the stakeholders how you’ll measure the performance improvement across multiple areas:
Disclaimer: Data in the following table is for the purpose of giving an example. Customize the “Target change (%)” based on your research.
|Business metric||Stakeholder||Target change(%)*||Actual change(%)**||Target achieved (%)***|
|First-time fix rate||Field service managers||+10%||+9%||90%|
|Recommendation rate||Field service managers||+20%||+20%||100%|
|Customer attrition rate||Marketing department||-20%||-25%||125%|
* Target change = Target increase or decrease as decided upon by the stakeholder(s)
**Actual change = Change measured in the metric in the 12-month historical charts you’ve created in step 3
***Target achieved = (Target change – Actual Change)/Target Change x 100
How to use this table
- Go through case studies and GetApp reviews to set realistic goals from field service management software deployment. Populate the goals in the “Target Change (%)” column of the table.
- Customize the table given to include the business metrics selected in Step 3.
- Keep the “Actual Change (%)” and “Target Achieved (%)” columns blank in the case presentation. The purpose of these is to present a mechanism to track improvement in business metrics.
- Negotiate the targets with each of the stakeholders so that there is an agreement between the stakeholders on stated targets.
After you’ve gone through each of the points mentioned above, the next step is to create a business case presentation for field service presentation.
Following are the steps that you should follow to present a strong business case to the management and other stakeholders:
- Coordinate with the stakeholders: A strong business case requires you to reach a point of agreement among stakeholders. As you proceed with the approach mentioned above, you need to gather inputs from each of the involved stakeholders. You can start by setting up meetings with the stakeholders and understanding their requirements.
- Include tables in your case presentation: Including the four tables mentioned in the article ensures that all the stakeholders are on the same page as well as effectively communicates the expected benefits of the FSM software deployment.
- Include a separate section for success stories: Success stories are an important part of a business case. These will help you support your claims on the performance improvement with real-world examples.