No matter how much momentum your IT strategy may have, you always have to confront that immovable object: budgeting. How do you know precisely what any given IT deployment will cost — and stick to it?
Controlling project costs is the name of the game, so that jobs of any scope or scale will have a predictable expenditure. That, in turn, allows for more confident budgeting. But that confidence must come from reliable planning, field service management, and project coordination. Otherwise the costs involved with global IT deployments can spiral out of control.
The key is to go a step beyond that, having everyone involved collaborate to delineate every key parameter of the deployment.
Fortunately, all these elements of controlling costs are under your organization’s control. All it takes is a little more forethought and understanding of how to leverage your use of contingent labor and a field service management platform.
1. Know local market costs beforehand
Utilizing contingent IT workers allows for field service flexibility. Tapping into the on-demand workforce in any region in which you’re executing a project means better response times and more accurate staffing. But another element to using local technicians on your project sites is keeping tabs on the standard pay rates for techs or specialists in different cities, states, or countries.
Pricing standards can fluctuate erratically, even daily. Gain an awareness of what a qualified tech should cost in a certain part of the world and use that knowledge to pay contingent workers a commensurate rate without overpaying. This awareness can do a lot to keep this cornerstone project expense predictable and palatable. This becomes all the more important with international IT deployments, where you may not be as familiar with the accepted standard pay scales.
2. Eliminate “scope creep”
If there’s one factor that can inflate project costs more than any other, it’s expecting to pay for a specific scope of work only to have it gradually widen over time, making the delivered outcome more expensive than predicted.
The dreaded "scope creep" is something many field service and IT professionals are painfully familiar with, and it can be tough to avoid when you have vendors and freelancers all contributing during deployments. Work with your field service partners to rigorously define project scope before any work begins. It starts with setting a solid timeframe for delivery, then establishing realistic project milestones to be tracked. The key is to go a step beyond that, having everyone involved collaborate to delineate every key parameter of the deployment. Set clear expectations for what needs to get done and enumerate processes for change management should anything unexpected arise.
One the best ways to prevent scope creep is through effective project coordination, which leads us directly to the next point of advice.
Once a deployment begins, the burden falls squarely on the project coordinators to keep it progressing in the right direction and on time. Beginning with smartly sourcing technicians through a good FSM platform, it takes constant attention to ensure the right number of qualified techs are on the job to accomplish it in a timely manner while providing the on-site talent with the information and details to deliver a successful managed outcome.
Workforce scheduling and budgeting go hand-in-hand, so it makes sense that the better a field service organization can schedule their technicians, the more easily they can control costs. Ideally, you have a partner whose project coordination and field services management platform can effectively staff and schedule your global IT deployments. Through experience, smart monitoring of workflow, and utilization of independent workers to provide adequate project coverage, your field services can hit their productivity and project deadline targets without inflating the overall cost.
4. Lean on a transparent field service management platform partner
At the heart of this is a solution provider you can trust. With a trusted partner, your organization doesn’t have to spend additional time (and, subsequently, money) to ensure an alignment of goals and procedures. This way you avoid the costly delays in your global IT deployments that are caused by having to reestablish project parameters or best practices. Clear, constant communication builds this trust and quickly gets everyone on the same page.
It’s important to have the right platform partner—namely, one that’s transparent about what is required to execute global deployments from start to finish for each and every project. A partner that is willing and able to provide an itemized, detailed project plan up front and establish with you a comprehensively defined statement of work and service-level agreement takes much of the guesswork out of managing IT project costs. The more information and insight your FSM platform partner shares with you, the more confidently you can approach new or larger projects.
In global IT deployments, a partner who can provide an effective platform for utilizing contingent workers all over the world, oversee project management, define processes for each job, and monitor workflow is essential. An FSM platform partner is a powerful ally to have for both improving project efficiency and establishing predictable costs. Both of these result in preventing unforeseen expenses that can easily cause a global IT deployment to creep over budget and, in the end, build your confidence in replicating that cost-controlled success in future projects anywhere in the world.