The interconnected global economy that has developed over the last five decades, since companies first began outsourcing labor, has changed how businesses and organizations meet their goals. Outsourcing became a hot-button topic in that time, as this new era of connectivity allowed people to find qualified, effective workers anywhere in the world. This, in no small part, led to organizations outsourcing IT field service management (among other things) to third parties and their groups of workers and technicians.
Fast forward to today and we see companies from mid-sized enterprises to giant Fortune 100 companies relying on a complicated network of third party providers to accomplish anything IT-related. While many of those providers may add benefits through specialization, the involvement of so many different independent entities can hurt the efficiency of your organization’s overall IT deployment process.
This prompted the development of online workforce and field service management platforms. These software suites returned autonomous control of IT deployments and management to the organizations that originally outsourced it to third party providers, without compounding the work or cost for those parent organizations.
Why make this transition? Over-reliance on third parties can lead to disjointed project execution, misaligned strategy, and poor KPIs. The bottom line is that mistakes that lead to failed projects and customer dissatisfaction are avoidable with the oversight of an online labor platform.
If any of the following examples apply to your organization’s IT field services, it’s time to ditch your third-party provider for one.
1. Inefficient project management/project coordination
The most common and primary motivator for changing IT field service solutions is underperforming project management and coordination (PM/PC). When PM/PC is causing headaches instead of smoothly guiding IT deployments to completion, it’s a sign that you should revisit your organizational processes for this pillar of field services.
Very quickly, complying with regulations and maintaining the scope and cost of projects can spiral out of hand.
Utilizing third-party labor providers can complicate fixing PM/PC shortcomings. If you continue to handle project coordination in-house, communicating vital information to technicians sourced by your provider can be difficult. This is especially true if information has to be passed from you to your provider and then on to the techs instead of directly. If your provider also handles some share of PM/PC, issues can be even more inscrutable if you don’t have consistent, open, and transparent dialogue with your provider.
Leveraging a field service management (FSM) platform can help remove these barriers to improvement. Online workforce platforms are powerful solutions for not only managing independent technicians but also for automating routine PM/PC processes. Tapping into the pool of contingent workers, scheduling and dispatching them, monitoring the progress of their work, and automating work ticket generation are all inherent to modern FSM platform software. This allows your organization to quickly make your project management and coordination more streamlined and efficient.
In the same vein, the involvement of multiple parties in each project creates a different kind of barrier to improving your global IT deployment processes. It’s difficult to guarantee a successfu loutcome at a set price and timeline when you rely too much on third-party providers to execute a deployment.
It can be an uphill battle to execute projects effectively while maintaining compliance with your service-level agreements. With your goals, your client’s (or your own organization’s) IT needs, your third-party vendor’s capabilities, and the quality of the technicians all in play, getting everyone on the same page and working to hit the same benchmarks can be a nightmare. Very quickly, complying with regulations and maintaining the scope and cost of projects can spiral out of hand.
Online workforce platforms are designed to prevent this through unified communication and ease-of-access to a shared knowledge base. On your platform, your statements of work, project documentation, resources, schedules, and progressive goals are kept together and can be accessed by anyone you see fit. Not only is this crucial to improving PM/PC, but it also places a hard cap on project costs through a thoroughly-defined and visible statement of work. This way, you can set the parameters of each project, make your contingent workers and project coordinators aware of them, and then require everyone to adhere to these expectations through the last mile.
3. A disconnect in vision
We’ve discussed the bottom-line actions necessary to maintain customer satisfaction, hit your KPI benchmarks, and establish a stable, repeatable process for delivering successful outcomes. But enterprise-level IT management involves plenty of forward thinking in addition to the projects at hand. Strategic alignment is a less concrete measurement of your relationship with a third-party provider, but of equal importance to solidifying long-term solutions.
Another benefit of online workforce platforms is the field service management partner that comes with them. A valuable FSM platform partner wants to build a platform tailored to your specific needs, both for the present and the future. Whether your long-term organizational IT goals involve wide-reaching global expansion or simply improving other service offerings for your clients, an FSM partner and the platform they help you build can be the key to confidently achieving them.
Full ownership of your platform — combined with the ability to add contingent workers through it to scale appropriately to demand — provide much of the solution. Finding a platform partner who is connected with global resources and transparent in building a solution for your needs unlocks the rest of it.
If you know your organization can execute global IT deployments better and can achieve more in new markets or specialties, it’s time to consider moving on from a third-party workforce provider and implementing an online labor and project management platform. An FSM platform gives your organization greater command and control of each project, which in turn provides greater agility, confidence, and overall success in your deployments.