Why It Makes Sense to Choose a Native NetSuite FSM App
The advent of business software starting in the late 1970s revolutionized every industry on earth. Now, an equal and arguably even greater revolution is underway … and field service will never be the same.
Software once again promises to make businesses more efficient, productive, insightful, and agile. But this time, the focus is not on applying software to individual departments, roles, or processes – it is about creating seamless digital processes across an entire company. The collective capabilities of software matter as much if not more than the individual features of a particular app.
The implications of connected apps are hard to overstate. When separate apps work together to share data, combine tools, and shift workflows between business functions, this transforms everything an organization does for the better. Speed and visibility are the first things to improve since data moves between systems automatically – no more moving data manually. And when more people have access to more comprehensive, accurate, and updated information, they make better decisions on all matters large, small — ordinary or extraordinary.
Field service companies in particular stand to benefit from weaving together the various software tools they use. Field service operations are inherently siloed and require a concerted effort by companies to effectively integrate field service processes and data into the entire operational equation. The service delivery side of the equation involves multiple techs each traveling to a different location to perform work that is unique to the customer, site, and/or assets. Meanwhile, administrative operations must continue functioning, as finance, human resources, sales, and other departments operate from a static and central location. As a result, capturing valuable data gathered out in the field and integrating that data with other business intelligence can prove to be quite challenging. Field service operations have many moving pieces that can become disjointed from a field service company’s overall operation if not properly addressed and managed. A unified software ecosystem can alleviate this challenge and deliver 360-degree visibility of data — in the field, at HQ, and at the ever-growing number of remote home offices.
To what degree, however, depends on how well-unified the software platform and its parts are. The term ‘integrated software’ is often used indiscriminately to describe any two apps that collaborate in some way. But the extent of that collaboration can fall into one of three categories: hybrid, integrated, and native. There are major differences between these designations with important consequences for what the software can and cannot do.
In this article, we explain the difference between hybrid, integrated, and native software – and make it clear why choosing native makes the most sense for companies with field service operations.
Defining Apps in Terms of NetSuite
With nearly 30,000 customers and counting, NetSuite has become both a popular enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution and the centerpiece of many businesses. A broad and deep toolkit gives users the means to capture, store, organize, and analyze more of their data from one location and use the data to guide nimble business decisions
As powerful as NetSuite may be on its own, the hundreds of quality solutions built using the SuiteCloud platform extend the capabilities of the system to meet the unique requirements of various industries. A vast and growing collection of solutions such as a native NetSuite FSM app, work in sync with the ERP, joining capabilities and sharing data to extend what both products can do.
For field service providers that use NetSuite (or plan to), it will be necessary to also acquire a field service management (FSM) application that works with NetSuite. The level of interoperability and alignment between NetSuite and a field service application are key factors to consider in choosing the right NetSuite FSM app for your business.
NetSuite ranks the apps in its ecosystem based on how they work with NetSuite. Here are how the three categories break down:
- Native – Native apps run inside the NetSuite platform, sharing the same records and validation tools for instant access to data in either piece of software. Native apps are built on the same architecture as NetSuite so there is no friction when the two solutions interact. Furthermore, native apps undergo a full evaluation by the NetSuite team to ensure complete compatibility. The term ‘native app’ describes the relationship well; they are not integrated with NetSuite; they are the same as NetSuite.
- Integrated – Integrated apps house most of the solution outside the NetSuite platform and use either a custom-built integration or a generic connector to send data back and forth. NetSuite will certify the integrations but not the solution being integrated, leaving unknowns as to how the solution will react when NetSuite updates or makes complicated data requests.
- Hybrid – Hybrid apps combine features of native and integrated apps, but they are still characterized as apps that run ‘off-platform’ and connect to NetSuite through a third-party pipeline.
Any of these options are better than software that does not link to NetSuite at all. With field service management (FSM) software, for example, important data about the costs and revenues related to each truck roll needs to get into NetSuite, both for accounting purposes and for decision-makers to have a high-resolution picture of profitability. Absent any connection between the FSM and NetSuite, additional resources are required to move the data over manually, which takes time, money, and careful keystrokes and causes more business blindness than many realize. Connected software such as a native NetSuite FSM app represents a huge, game-changing upgrade over the alternatives. But not all connected software is created equally.
Advantages of a Native NetSuite FSM App
Comparing native and integrated (including hybrid) apps can feel like a distinction without a difference. After all, both types of apps will share data and combine capabilities with NetSuite to form a sum that exceeds the parts. Does it really matter whether an app is native or integrated?
Absolutely. Significant differences between native and integrated apps are apparent immediately, daily, and for the entire life cycle of the software:
- Accessibility – Native apps are built inside the NetSuite platform. There is no need for integration. Once implemented properly, it takes little if any time and input for native FSM software and NetSuite to begin working inside a single data ecosystem. With an integrated app, users will first need to pay for an integration/connector, adding cost to the project, and then invest further time (and possibly money too) to get the link up and running. Native apps work perfectly together on day one, whereas integrated apps require a great deal more resources to get up and running.
- Integration – Since native apps are built on the same platform as NetSuite, literally sharing the same digital building blocks around a combined data reservoir, they operate as perfect complements to one another. The developers have designed it that way, and NetSuite has given their seal of approval. Integrated apps, by contrast, will always be separate from NetSuite. Regardless of the integration quality, it still represents a weak point and bottleneck between the two solutions. Native apps work inside NetSuite while integrated apps work alongside
- Speed – When a native app shares data sources with NetSuite, data moves automatically between systems at real-time speeds. The minute data enters the FSM it appears in the appropriate parts of NetSuite as well. Integrated apps move much slower, synchronizing data according to a set schedule (i.e., daily, hourly, etc. API calls). Because data must literally move from one system into another, it will always be a slower, more error-prone process that gets more complicated the more data that is involved. Native apps share all the same data, while integrated apps pass data back and forth. The difference in efficiency is huge.
- Durability – Native apps were built, from the beginning, with the requirements of NetSuite in mind. That makes the connection between native apps robust and resilient in the face of everything from cyber-attacks to IT errors. Integrated apps connected by a data pipeline do not have this same durability. The pipeline could break down for any number of reasons, many of them up to the vendor, making the link between NetSuite and the FSM a tenuous one.
Today’s field service providers understand the importance of technology, prompting a wave of ERP and FSM implementations. But in an increasingly tech-driven field service industry, success will not come just from having the right tools in place – it will come from using those tools together in efficient, intelligent, and innovative ways.
Native apps are in a unique position to facilitate that effort. First, they forgo the integration process and deliver perfect synchronicity with NetSuite out of the box. They deliver on the full promise of connected software by bringing all the data (financial, operational, and otherwise) relevant to a field service company onto the same powerful platform; digital transformation made simple. Efficiency and productivity improve, which drives revenue and company growth — sustainable growth made possible by 360-degree visibility of real-time data.
All other things being equal, native apps are preferable to integrated apps. But this is true even when things are not equal because being native to NetSuite can make up for deficiencies in other areas. For example, FSM software does not need built-in accounting capabilities when NetSuite can provide a much better version of the same thing.
Native apps should always be the first choice when possible and being native should weigh heavily in determining a solution’s advantage. Do not just evaluate what a solution can do – imagine what it can do in sync with NetSuite.
NextService – FSM Software Native to NetSuite
In addition to being a comprehensive NetSuite FSM app built by a team with bona fide experience delivering field service, NextService is native to NetSuite – one of the very few options to have this distinction.
The synergy between the two solutions feels extensive and effortless as if they truly work as one. And since NextService FSM SuiteApp was built for NetSuite customers, they merge into an unparalleled solution for field service that takes every process to the next level. Other FSM vendors can improve aspects of service delivery. NextService, by virtue of being native to NetSuite, goes further, helping users engage customers, drive growth, capture new markets, bypass competitors, and evolve organically.
Want to learn more about our native NetSuite FSM app? Schedule a demo to see NextService in action.