NextService + SuiteProjects: Taking Field Service to New Heights
The Best of the NetSuite Ecosystem
NetSuite has become one of the preeminent ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) offerings on the market. Just as impressive as the software itself, however, is the ecosystem around it.
As NetSuite has grown in popularity, developers have built complementary apps that run within NetSuite. So not only do they work in perfect sync with the ERP at the center, but the apps in the ecosystem also work well with each other.
Two great examples of that robust ecosystem are NextService and SuiteProjects. In this article, Next Technik Solutions Consultants Ben Castles and Susan Thompson discuss the advantages of pairing these two systems to manage bigger projects in the field.
NextService offers field service businesses a comprehensive toolkit for managing day-to-day operations. With a powerful scheduling tool, intuitive inventory management capabilities, and deep mobile functionality, NextService equips any field service provider with the technology to operate more efficiently, productively, and profitably. Not only is it an innovative and effective field service management solution – it is one of the few that runs natively inside NetSuite.
SuiteProjects—NetSuite’s project management module—automates some of the most important (and overwhelming) obligations facing a professional services provider: project management, resource management, time and expense management, billing, project revenue, project accounting, and reporting. With SuiteProjects in the mix, service providers can streamline and improve upon the processes that keep their business afloat while gaining (and acting upon) significant strategic insights hidden inside the data.
As Impressive as these two apps are in their respective categories – field service management (FSM) and professional services automation (PSA) – what sets them far apart from the competition is the fact that both run inside the same ecosystem. With NetSuite as the common denominator, NextService and SuiteProjects take field service to new heights in ways that every provider should be aware of … and extremely excited about.
Understanding What On-Platform Means
This article will frequently reference the fact that NextService and SuiteProjects each run ‘on-platform’ within NetSuite. This is a subject we have explored before in the articles linked below, but it deserves a quick review because the concept is central to what makes these apps unique.
- 7 Ways NextService Improves Operational Efficiency & Increases Revenue
- Why It Makes Sense to Choose a Native NetSuite FSM APP
- Crisis Averted: Avoiding the Risks of an Off-Platform Tech Solutions
To run on-platform means that NextService and SuiteProjects share the same database and use NetSuite functions to create their features. Since they are both inside NetSuite, there is perfect alignment between how they share data and combine features. Furthermore, NextService has earned the Built for NetSuite badge, which means that NextService does things the NetSuite way. In other words, NetSuite has approved the process flows that NextService adds to NetSuite’s native functionality. Other solutions can integrate with NetSuite or with one another through an API, but those integrations will always be limited by the need for field mapping, middleware, and a reliable internet connection to send data back and forth between the two systems. The fact that NextService and SuiteProjects run on-platform means they have the broadest and deepest collaborative capabilities possible and resilience against anything breaking that link.
How Does SuiteProjects Enhance NextService?
Field service providers, especially in certain industries, often take on projects that last longer than a day and involve multiple steps to complete. A standard service record is not enough because completing the work may involve multiple trips on-site, extensive parts and equipment, and different techs, as necessary. SuiteProjects gives providers the project management tools necessary to keep these longer, more complex activities on track and within budget.
This enhances NextService in two straightforward but significant ways. First, it informs schedulers about upcoming project obligations so they can provision the right resources and assign techs accordingly. Without this feature, schedulers would have to monitor project timelines independently and manually bring tasks into the scheduling tool – which is inefficient and error-prone.
The second way SuiteProjects enhances NextService is by making more robust accounting and reporting features available for project tasks completed in the field. For instance, SuiteProjects adds milestone billing and revenue recognition. On the reporting side, SuiteProjects provides budget vs. actual, actual, and planned utilization by project and by resource to name a few.
The standard features of NextService give providers fine-tuned control over where and how they direct their resources. The addition of SuiteProjects lets them deploy resources in the service of longer, bigger, and more profitable projects without losing a step. Field service management and project management become inextricably and seamlessly linked with one another.
How Does NextService Enhance SuiteProjects?
SuiteProjects gives users robust tools for planning, tracking, and reporting on projects. What it does not come with are tools to execute those plans or capture data from the field. This is where NextService comes in.
NextService has standout features for both scheduling and inventory management. So, when a project calls for certain techs and specific equipment to be onsite at an exact time and date, NextService communicates these requirements as part of the normal scheduling flow. Turning project management into actual service delivery is simplified thanks to NextService.
Another way NextService makes SuiteProjects better is by collecting real-time data in the field. Techs record their activities, measurements, and observations into the NextService app while they are on-site, and that data immediately flows into the relevant parts of SuiteProjects. As a result, project managers know exactly how much progress has been made, what parts/materials have been used, how many hours techs have worked, and other data points they may want to track. Checklists including safety forms can also be made mandatory on the NextService mobile. Managing projects becomes vastly easier once there is a clear picture – provided by NextService – of what is happening on the ground.
Without the features NextService brings to the table, SuiteProjects users would have to create their own systems for service delivery, which quickly becomes complicated. And even with a different FSM tool in place, one that does not run on-platform with SuiteProjects means moving data manually, waiting for updated information, and contending with tech issues. NextService adds a vital component to SuiteProjects – the ability to deliver what has been promised and planned for.
How Do NextService + SuiteProjects Enhance Businesses?
The tools are impressive on their own and even better when running on-platform with each other. Most importantly, synchronized features and shared data (a single source of truth) lead to significant business benefits for any provider:
- Cost Savings – When projects do not go as planned, this leads to underutilized resources at best and serious fines or penalties at worst. Having a seamless platform on which to plan, execute, and analyze projects ensures that projects do not result in unnecessary costs or busted budgets. Furthermore, careful coordination between project management and service delivery helps providers consistently meet ambitious targets for profitability instead of letting profit margins bleed away in the form of hidden costs and repeated mistakes.
- Efficiency Improvements – Data moves automatically, instantaneously, and completely in-between NextService and SuiteProjects. Gone is the need for manual data transfer and all the labor, error, and inefficiency that entails. Decision-making efficiency improves as well since everyone from schedulers to techs to project managers have all the information they need precisely when and where they need it. The real-time data from the field that NextService brings allows the NetSuite dashboards to support continuous collaboration, giving everyone at the table a common data set for planning and analysis.
- Scalable Growth – The combined efforts of NextService and SuiteProjects allow providers to start taking on projects for the first time or start completing bigger, more frequent projects than they could before. Revenues and profitability both have the potential to grow – and with two smart solutions working like interlocking gears, the business can scale upwards faster and with less disruption and risk involved.
- Productivity Gains – A field service provider can do more with the resources it already has when it can automate administrative tasks, better utilize technicians, and manage inventory strategically. A cycle of continuous improvement develops whereby providers can analyze their project performance, identify anything lacking, devise a solution, and put it in place on all future projects.
An Example in Action
Imagine a hypothetical company that sells, installs, and services industrial equipment. Installation can take anywhere from a week to a year, so, the company uses SuiteProjects to plan the tasks, build the budget, handle the billing, and report on the results.
Each task a technician needs to complete goes automatically into the scheduling tool in NextService. Then, when the assigned tech(s) reaches the site, they have the project requirements on their mobile phone in a simple checklist format. Completing exactly what is expected becomes a simple matter of checking off each box – to the benefit of techs, project managers, and clients alike.
Upon checking those boxes, data about what techs are doing in the field travels from the NextService app into SuiteProjects. If the data indicates a milestone has been reached – like a completed installation – it initiates automatic billing. Or that data is used for reporting on everything from profitability to utilization, giving insight into the performance of service delivery and project management.
Not only can the equipment company improve how they handle installations – they can turn those improvements into tangible business benefits with a direct impact on the bottom line.
Take Advantage of the Possibilities
If you already have SuiteProjects, no other FSM on the market complements it better than NextService. And if you already have NetSuite (or plan to), adding NextService and SuiteProjects to the platform creates an unmatched solution for field service. See why it pays to work inside the NetSuite ecosystem – set up a demo with the team from NextService.