Crises Averted: Avoiding the Risks of an Off-Platform Tech Solution

Sage wisdom tells us that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. What it fails to mention is this: the weakest link is rarely obvious. 

For an infamous example of this oversight in action, look to the 1986 disaster at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. On the surface, the plant appeared perfect in every way. It relied on state-of-the-art technology run by the brightest minds around and generated enough electricity for almost an entire state. Chernobyl was an engineering marvel. 

But it had a hidden weak link. When the plant’s top scientists took the night off, they assumed their replacements knew how to run a routine test scheduled for that evening. They did not. Human errors during the test led to a series of cascading failures that resulted in a nuclear reactor meltdown. Hundreds of thousands of people evacuated, dozens of first responders perished, and the area around the plant remains a wasteland decades later – all because of a knowledge gap no one knew existed. 

On a much smaller scale, field service management businesses suffer from a similar issue. They overlook weak links that can lead to disasters – especially one in particular.

Beware of Off-Platform Tech Solutions

One example of an off-platform tech solution is a field service management software that runs separate from the ERP software used to manage the broader business. On the surface, this does not seem like an issue, but the officials at Chernobyl assumed the same thing. 

Off-platform tech solutions rely on an API to keep data moving between the FSM and ERP systems. This setup works well under perfect conditions. However, the minute there is a change in the status quo, the link between two critical systems can fall apart and bring the business down with it. 

Again, the risk of an API disaster might sound remote, but there are plenty of potential causes: someone leaving the company with irreplaceable knowledge about the API; someone without adequate training changing settings; or some kind of cyber-attack or technical issue. The point is that an API alone is an inherently weak link. For businesses with an off-platform FSM solution, that weak link is propping up everything. 

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Avoiding Disaster with Seamless Technology

When an off-platform solution goes haywire, this creates a disconnect between the FSM system and the ERP system that throws data out of sync and makes sound decision-making impossible. It can even suspend operations in the worst instances – the proverbial meltdown in field service. 

So how is this outcome avoided? By relying on FSM software that runs on the same platform as the ERP. That way, the link is built in, not bolted on, creating resilience against failure. On a more optimistic note, having FSM and ERP run on the same platform replaces a narrow data pipeline (the API) with a dynamic data ecosystem where all insights live in one place. The weakest link becomes the strongest. 

Keep the hidden risks of an off-platform solution in mind when selecting FSM software. And schedule a demo with NextService to explore the potential of a one-system field service management solution built in, on, and for NetSuite.