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25 Oct 2017

Fieldmotion the Mini-ERP

in Technical Blog by Kae Verens

We were talking to some people recently about how the system works, and one of them said something that got us thinking. He said “This is so much more than just a field service management system. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but there’s something else there”. I turns out the something else is that we’ve been gradually growing the system well beyond its original humble beginnings as the best FSM on the market, and are now pushing for world dominance in the ERP world (enterprise resource planning).
It wasn’t intentional, really. We just respond to market needs and give our customers what they want, but in the course of doing this, we went further and further into total business management than we originally intended.
A few years ago, we drew a concept map on a whiteboard to represent what we currently do and what we intended to cover over the next few years. A few of the ideas we scrubbed were things like purchase orders, inventory management, personnel management, but it turns out that these subjects have been growing in FieldMotion’s ecosphere despite us not intentionally planning them as major features. We simply add a little thing here or there because they make sense to do, and suddenly we have a whole new feature we can tout.
From a development perspective, we develop FieldMotion in two ways

  1. From a top-down way. Eg: we deliberately added Xero integration, both public and private API versions. For this, we start with the high-end concept “integrate with Xero”, then break that down into the tens of steps needed to accomplish this.
  2. From a bottom-up way. Eg: by fixing an issue that meant rewriting a workflow management system import script that was a little “off”, we grew an SFTP file importer that can import XLS/XLSX/CSV files and “map” them into objects we have in our database. The power this gave us meant that we suddenly had a new large feature where we were just supposed to fix a small annoyance.

The bottom-up way is what has brought us towards ERP. We didn’t deliberately strategise about entering the ERP sphere. It just happened.
In a very correct way, it’s like biological evolution. We started out trying to make better service management software, and accidentally created an enterprise resource planner. This is similar to how insects developed little nubs to dissipate heat, that grew through trial and error until eventually they discovered they could fly with them and they were no longer land-bound.
We thought we were right at the pinnacle of the hill of Field Service. We’re now discovering that we’re half-way up Mount ERP.
This is thrilling for me, because I can now look at every other ERP out there and start expanding our field worker software to do whatever they do, but cheaper and better! Talk to us to find out how.
First, though, let’s finish off the next few months of planned development – can’t go running off into the future yet!