Most people know that there is more to the cost of software than the upfront sticker price. There are recurring licensing fees, support costs, hardware and infrastructure to consider and many more variables. The financial havoc that these factors might wreak upon your business can be difficult to assess, making any major software purchase a difficult choice. And now the recent influx of mobile apps in the service business software scene may further complicate assessing the total cost of ownership of software. Evaluating the TCO of a mobile app can be both similar and different than looking into the TCO of on-site, server based software. As a potential buyer of service management software you might want to examine some of the factors below…
1) Integration Costs
The first thing that many people overlook is how new software will integrate (or not integrate) with their existing software. Mobile apps are meant to excel at one facet of business, and most do just that. But software purchasers should make sure that add-ons and apps integrate nicely with their other software, otherwise they’ll be looking at costly integration customizations. It pays to look for a suite of software solutions from the company that you buy most of your other software from, as your apps will all play nicely with your mainstay software.
2) The Cost of Customization
In addition to choosing apps that integrate correctly, the best way to keep customization costs to a minimum is to search for software that is specific to your industry. That’s why High 5 Software has been working solely with service management businesses for over 25 years. We know who our software works for and we’re dedicated to the industry now more than ever with our coming release of a suite of mobile apps designed specifically for service businesses in all industries.
3) The Proficiency Cost
One difference between cloud based and on-site, server based software is in the on boarding process. On-site software might be the backbone of your business, taking care of inventory management, CRM and a host of other more complicated and robust tasks. As such, it’s going to have a more prolonged training period. Changes or upgrades to your enterprise software might affect all of the users of that software. Mobile apps on the other hand are generally specialized for one department.
There are time tracking apps for technicians in the field, dispatch apps for dispatchers, bar code scanner apps for shipping and receiving employees in the warehouse and so on. New apps only affect one department at a time, allowing the other departments to focus on their jobs. Plus mobile apps allow constant exposure to the software so that employees are gaining experience whether they’re in the field or back in the office.
4) The Cost of a Broken Customer Experience
What is the cost to your business when a customer isn’t impressed by your software’s onsite functionality? Let’s say that Bill the Technician arrives at a job site and wants to verify some details of the work order with his customer. Except…the application that provides these details is sluggish…and it’s not very user friendly…so Bill is still looking at a loading screen when the customer decides it’s not worth waiting for and walks away unimpressed with your disconnected application and subsequently their broken customer experience? Customers nowadays want to see transparency in your software system, which usually means some kind of service order search, the ability to edit a service order on site and more. Customers want to see a sleek and efficient mobile application. Showing off top notch software is a great way to impress customers, build their faith in your business and showcase job site flexibility and transparency.
5) The Cost of Being Out of Sync
A contributing factor to the TCO of any software is the amount of time saved by synchronizing your back office operations with your field technicians. It’s difficult to grow your business when there is no communication between the field and the office. Mobile apps facilitate that communication and save you time and money.
Make sure you always examine the TCO of new software and take the above factors into account when adding on new mobile applications. The new wave of mobile apps is sure to benefit your business but in order to choose the right app you have to do your homework first.
For a look at Time Tracker for SME, just one of many mobile apps on the way in 2014, follow the link below:
High 5 Software’s vision is creating software that is efficient, dependable and logical. At High 5 Software we believe that using the right software package will make your business more efficient and profitable. Everyone at High 5 Software understands how important this type of software is to your daily business and we are committed to helping you “Run A Better Service Business”.