Last week, I had a call from one of the bosses, who had just been talking to a potential client who had built up a large spreadsheet of 42 field service management systems active in the UK, and whittled the list right down based on features and demos to just us and SalesForce through a few rounds of elimination.
We both agreed that this was great, for a few important reasons
- If someone makes the effort to compile a large spreadsheet, then they are well-informed on the generally published information about the products and therefore their opinion bears weight.
- Any product on that list which is in the top two is obviously better than at least half of the 40 products, and probably better than nearly every other one as well.
- I can’t think of a single instance where we’ve been up against SalesForce in a proposal and lost to them.
- Therefore we’re brilliant!
Obviously that’s anecdotal. One data point does not a research paper make.
But, we’ve recently been agreeing more and more that we’ve reached a satisfying list of features that cover the needs of 95% of all people we talk to. The other 5% are either looking for completely bespoke work, or are just totally unsuitable for what we do.
So, by working solidly and carefully for five years (I think I can, I know I can!), we’ve finally reached the pinnacle of the excellence hill, where we are now consolidating the system around those points and making sure we definitely cover that 95% comfortably.
That’s why it was decided weeks ago that the next round of development (first half of next year) is completely around making sure that the system is rock solid and easy to use.
For ease of use, we are working towards an eventual SAAS model where clients sign themselves up to our field service engineer software and walk-through an onboarding “wizard” of sorts that teaches them everything they need to know. We have videos of all parts of the system. We’re writing a book about the system that will be split-tested to make sure it is extremely easy to read. We’re also considering a community forum where clients can ask questions and be answered either by ourselves, or by other experts (like how Stack Overflow works).
For rock-solidness, we have a load of techie tricks we’re working on which I’d love to tell you all about but (shhh!) they’re secret. Basically, we’re trying to get to the point that the system grows automatically as needed, that our development process allows us to push new developments into production as soon as possible (continuous integration), and that every single line of code that’s written and every issue pointed out by any client is tested automatically before being allowed anywhere near a production server.
From what we hear from our clients, we are the best field services management software on the market. This is from clients that have used other FSMs. We want to increase that lead and be the best that we can.