The ROI of Streamlined Reporting
Our continuing series on the ROI of field service management (FSM) software – the most comprehensive resource of its kind – has touched on many topics thus far, from the cost savings of improving scheduling, to the business benefits of upgrading customer engagement. One of the themes to emerge from each piece is that the right software delivers returns that can be hard to identify or quantify yet are still real and significant.
A great example is the subject of our next piece in the series: the ROI of streamlined reporting. Any field service provider that has prepared performance reports knows there is plenty of room to improve this process, from how the reports get created to how they get used. That said, it can be hard to link inefficient reporting with any particular problem or appreciate how much could improve with better reporting capabilities.
We have a unique perspective on this issue and lots of first-hand insights gleaned from our users about how, and how much, a revitalized reporting process transforms their organization. Not only are the returns impressive and surprising – they may exceed every other aspect of improved FSM software.
NextService software runs on-platform with NetSuite, one of the top business management platforms in the world, and one that is equipped with powerful, flexible, and accessible reporting tools. Running “on-platform” means that NextService and NetSuite share the same databases and technical architecture. They do not exchange data, they utilize common data sources, meaning NetSuite can report on all the data in NextService without anyone having to move the data over manually.
Other FSM offerings have reporting capabilities, but they are not on par with what NextService + NetSuite can do in terms of organizing, analyzing, and visualizing data for reporting purposes. There are also FSM solutions that integrate with NetSuite, but that is not the same as running on-platform. With an integration, field service data moves slowly, awkwardly, or insufficiently into NetSuite, resulting in an underwhelming reporting process.
And while that might not sound especially exciting at first, the next sections will highlight how streamlined reporting can result in huge returns by improving (literally) everything.
The Returns of Streamlined Reporting
Calculating the ROI of streamlined reporting starts by understanding all the ways the NextService FSM software helps providers become more efficient, productive, and profitable:
- Reducing Resources Spent on Reporting – Regardless of whether reporting happens often or just occasionally, without the right systems in place, it can takes large amounts of time, staff, and manual data entry to get the final document complete and in the hands of the right people. In many cases, the reporting process involves collecting data from various sources, integrating it together in one location (often an Excel spreadsheet), cleaning up the inevitable errors, then trying to crunch the numbers. It is a distraction from other things and a drain on vital resources – but reporting is too important to neglect or ignore. NextService accelerates and automates this work so that providers get the reports they need without consuming limited resources they would rather use elsewhere.
- Getting Better Insights in Less Time – With an automated and streamlined reporting process that makes it easier to build, customize, and distribute reports, decision makers have the best information at their disposal at all times. They do not need to wait on reports, make due with shallow, untrustworthy insights, or leave important questions unanswered. On the contrary, they can take a deep dive into any subject – from the promptness of service delivery to the profitability of parts sales – whenever they want. Knowledge is power. And with streamlined reporting, every decision maker has the knowledge they need to act wisely, plan smarter, innovate better, and achieve (or exceed) their desired outcomes around anything. Reports cannot guarantee things go right, of course. They do, however, create the best possible odds by adding data-driven insights into every decision making process.
- Eliminating the Need for Integrations – Integrating FSM software with other business management tools means paying to set the integration up and keep it functional. There is also a risk involved because if the integration breaks down (for many possible reasons) it makes reporting inefficient or even impossible, which effectively leaves the organization driving blind. NextService, unlike most other FSM software, does not rely on an integration to leverage NetSuite’s reporting capabilities, thereby eliminating any integration costs. More importantly, when FSM and ERP run on the same platform it means that field service data and robust reporting capabilities are never cut off from each other. As such, visibility never suffers, and decision-making is never compromised by a lack of good insights or information.
Putting a Number on ROI
The hard part about calculating the ROI of streamlined reporting is assigning a value to improved decision making. But how do you put a dollar amount on these activities, especially when you cannot see what the alternatives would have been?
One way is to look at real companies that have streamlined their reporting with NextService. What have their returns been? Fortunately, we have a lot of that data.
Let’s start with STH, a pump systems installer and maintenance provider based in Maryland. STH saw opportunities to grow, but disjointed software systems made it hard to scale processes upwards in an effective way. They also made it hard to report effectively or in-depth because so much of the relevant data was siloed between systems. The introduction of NextService brought everything – data and reporting – onto one platform, leading to huge time savings. By their own estimate, streamlined reporting has saved the key administrative staff 20% of their working hours and eliminated the need to add another full-time staff member. The time they save, which is equivalent to one full day every week, they spend finding ways to make STH more profitable.
Southeast Banking Systems (SBS), a Kentucky-based installer of on-site banking technologies, was another provider struggling to get the reports it required. Rudimentary capabilities meant that reports were slow and laborious to create, often leaving decision-makers in the dark. After SBS implemented NextService and began experimenting with the reporting tools in NetSuite, that all changed. The company began doing sophisticated performance reporting to understand, objectively, what worked and what did not about their field service operations. Streamlined reporting also led SBS to use reports where it had not in the past for things like strategic planning, forecasting, staffing analysis, and asset tracking. Even the sales team got onboard: they began using reports to show customers when their equipment needed replacing.
The final company we want to highlight is Ellis Air Systems, an HVAC company in Texas that is one of several businesses owned by the Ellis Family. What those businesses lacked was a consolidated system for accounting and reporting, which made the conjoined capabilities of NextService and NetSuite especially compelling. With those systems in place, consolidated reporting became possible. The future of Ellis Air Systems has never looked brighter now that reports help them think collectively and, strategically about everything they do.
In the examples outlined above, each company saved money in some ways, generated more revenue in others, and put the company in a stronger position overall. ROI will vary, of course, but it is not unreasonable for the returns to top six figures annually. And when reports call attention to critical problems or overlooked opportunities, the returns could be multiples larger. That is all to say that the ROI of streamlined reporting quickly exceeds the cost of the NextService FSM Software.
Reporting and the Future of Field Service
The field service industry is changing fast. Established players are consolidating into giant providers, new startups are experimenting with innovative ideas, and the green economy is altering customer and investor expectations. Every provider, across verticals, needs to adapt to survive – and that will take regular, robust reporting in order to plan, execute, and track the changes. Already vital, reporting will soon become more important than ever, which means the ROI of streamlined reporting will only grow greater over time.
But only with the help of the right FSM software vendor. NextService offers unmatched reporting capabilities that turn field service providers into data-driven organizations. We also have an exemplary customer success team committed to helping every user make the most of streamlined reporting (and everything else NextService can do) to see immediate returns, quickly recoup investments, and continue growing the ROI over time.
We have one piece left in our series, and it is about an issue that matters to everyone – safety and compliance. What is the ROI of preventing accidents and avoiding violations using FSM software? We break down the numbers in an upcoming blog that contains more than a few surprising figures.
Until then, see what a smarter, simpler, more streamlined reporting process looks like – get a demo of NextService.