Why and how to integrate IFS Field Service Management software with popular CRM software

Usually, field service management (FSM) software should be integrated with customer relationship management (CRM) because both use customer information. This ensures a customer’s needs and expectations can be addressed regardless of whether they are interacting with a CRM user, a field service technician or someone else in the service organization.

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KEY QUESTIONS: How can I be sure to get a measurable return on my integration? P4 What does field service software do that CRM does not? P2 What is the difference between synchronous and asynchronous integration? When should I use each one? P3 WHY AND HOW TO INTEGRATE IFS FIELD SERVICE MANAGEMENT ™ WITH POPULAR CRM SOFTWARE IFS WHITE PAPER Andrew Lichey, Product Manager, IFS 2 WHY AND HOW TO INTEGRATE IFS FIELD SERVICE MANAGEMENT WITH POPULAR CRM SOFTWARE Ideally, both field service software and CRM are integrated with ERP to avoid duplicate data and data entry, to avoid costly mistakes due to lack of data and to share customer information in real time, improving the customer experience. WHY AND HOW TO INTEGRATE IFS FIELD SERVICE MANAGEMENT WITH POPULAR CRM SOFTWARE BY ANDREW LICHEY, PRODUCT MANAGER, IFS Field service management software and customer relationship management (CRM) are best-of-breed solutions—software separate from enterprise resource planning (ERP) software that goes deeper into specific business processes than ERP does by itself. Ideally, both field service software and CRM are integrated with ERP to avoid duplicate data and data entry, to avoid costly mistakes due to lack of data and to share customer information in real time, improving the customer experience. In many cases, field service management software should also be integrated with CRM because both use customer information. This ensures a customer’s needs and expectations can be addressed regardless of whether they are interacting with a CRM user, a field service technician or someone else in the service organization. That is why IFS has created standard integration methodologies with ERP products, and have packaged integrations with popular CRM packages including Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Field Service. While CRM is designed to manage the customer experience, a powerful field service management software package like IFS Field Service Management™ (IFS FSM) goes deeper into areas of software functionality that ensure customers can be served profitably and successfully in the field, including: • Dispatch and service scheduling including appointment setting, calendar- based scheduling based on a maintenance plan and automated scheduling optimization • The ability to issue and record completion of work orders • Contract management to ensure service agreements are adhered to, even when terms are customer-specific • Service inventory, including inventory on each technician truck • Warranty management so technicians in the field can determine which work is covered by warranty and which carries an additional charge • Tools to enable technicians to upsell new services, issue quotes and secure approval on quotes 3 WHY AND HOW TO INTEGRATE IFS FIELD SERVICE MANAGEMENT WITH POPULAR CRM SOFTWARE …If a sales representative can see in CRM what service has been done to a customer’s equipment in the field, they can record a sales opporunity to potentially replace the equipment and make that business case to the customer… • Reverse logistics to take parts and subcomponents back into inventory and repair or scrap them, as necessary, while tracking ownership of the part and whether the customer or a subcontractor is entitled to a replacement • Service billing, which is usually used to collect details of billable service and pass it to ERP for invoicing and to provide customers visibility into billing activity from the field Even when a CRM package has rudimentary field service capabilities, it cannot enable a company to deliver some or all of these functions, as well as, competitors if those competitors have a more technologically progressive service organization. But even when the most advanced field service software product is run as a standalone entity, there will be holes in the ability to address the entire customer lifecycle to maximize revenue, satisfaction and retention. 360 DEGREE VIEW OF THE CUSTOMER How does this combined view of the customer across both CRM and field service improve customer service and increase revenue? Well, if a sales representative can see in CRM what service has been done to a customer’s equipment in the field, they can record a sales opportunity to potentially replace the equipment and make that business case to the customer, on the basis of frequency of service, cost of service and parts and perhaps predictive analytics. A field service technician may learn the customer site they are at will be expanding, and can create a sales opportunity for additional equipment that might be sold. A company delivers better experience when, regardless of whether a customer deals with the service organization or the sales organization, their contact knows about recent conversations, transactions, service calls, open issues, customer-specific requirements and correspondence. Specific information that should be subject to a bidirectional integration include: • Service history should be visible to CRM so sales and customer service personnel can understand the facts on the ground at the customer • Ongoing sales activity so a technician in the field, when they arrive on site, understands the 360 degree view of the customer • Sales history information can also give a field service technician visibility into products or equipment at a customer site that may not yet be covered by a service agreement as they may represent additional revenue opportunities • Warranty information from field service management provides CRM users a better idea of warranty renewal sales opportunities with each customer • Contract management information from field service will give CRM users an idea of how well the company is performing against contractual requirements 4 WHY AND HOW TO INTEGRATE IFS FIELD SERVICE MANAGEMENT WITH POPULAR CRM SOFTWARE In order to avoid the expense and risk associated with some enterprise software integrations, IFS has used its integration architecture—IFS Connect— to create standard, but configurable, integrations to both Microsoft Dynamics 365 for CRM and Salesforce Sales Cloud. • Current sales promotions so field technicians can see opportunities that are relevant to the customer and use that to upsell or give appropriate discounts HOW WE DO IT In order to avoid the expense and risk associated with some enterprise software integrations, IFS has used its integration architecture—IFS Connect—to create standard, but configurable, integrations to both Microsoft Dynamics 365 for CRM and Salesforce Sales Cloud. No two implementations of either of these CRM products is truly the same, which means that each integration will be somewhat unique. That is why the integration, like IFS FSM itself, is configurable. The end user customer can use a drag-and-drop tool to add fields, repurpose fields and add tables. The integration framework expands to include these fields and tables with no custom programming. This streamlined approach to integration also increases enterprise agility. As the way you do business changes and those changes are reflected in Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics 365 for CRM or in IFS FSM, the integration can change with you without custom programming or external consulting fees. DECISIONS TO MAKE In planning your integration, there are a few decisions to make about how you want to handle transactions as they are passed between systems. Some fields are typically integrated synchronously, which means before a transaction against the field is recorded in one system, it must be confirmed by, and recorded in, the other. Others are handled asynchronously, which means the transaction is recorded in one of the two systems immediately without any acknowledgement that it has been received and approved by the other system. Some fields are typically handled synchronously, including: • Quotes and estimates, which need to tie back to current pricing in CRM or ERP • Inventory commitments, to ensure available-to-promise status of parts • Credit approvals, which need to be checked against payment history and credit limits in CRM or ERP Asynchronous integration is typically used to make the full customer list from CRM available in field service. This is valuable to a field service technician so they can see all contacts at a company and have an idea of their role in the organization. The service history can also be made available in a periodic update to CRM to keep customer service and sales people informed of the nature of the total service relationship. 5 WHY AND HOW TO INTEGRATE IFS FIELD SERVICE MANAGEMENT WITH POPULAR CRM SOFTWARE It is critical for the various software products you rely on to share data where it makes sense. But don’t look at integration as something that must be done without a sound business case. DO YOU REALLY NEED AN INTEGRATION? It is critical for the various software products you rely on to share data where it makes sense. But don’t look at integration as something that must be done without a sound business case. And in identifying that business case, ask yourself these questions: • What do we want this integration to enable us to do differently? • What value can we place on customer satisfaction? How could we improve the customer experience by increasing the customer insights available to our field staff? • How could customer insight in the field help your technicians sell more products or services? • What disconnects between sales and services result in tasks or processes falling between chairs? What is the financial upside to eliminating these problems? • Are your customers telling your service people things that you wish were passed onto your sales people? What increase in sales opportunities or improved service could you expect from closing this communication gap? • How could you increase the success of sales promotions or sales by enlisting the help of field service technicians that interact directly with customers? • How successful are you in respecting customer-specific pricing, service level agreements or unique requirements? How could improving visibility of specific customer requests improve service? CONCLUSION Field service management software should not be an island unto itself. It should extend other enterprise software including CRM and ERP. Integrations can increase solution expense and complexity, so standard integrations that easily accommodate your unique solution set are extremely valuable. And make sure to identify a few problems you want to fix, so you can reap the rewards of a high-quality enterprise solution. IFS Product Manager Andrew Lichey is responsible for developing and evolving the IFS Field Service Management software product. He has been leading field service management software development projects since 1996. Prior to that, he served as an intelligence analyst for the U.S. Army. He holds a degree in computer science from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. E n6 0 1 5 -1 P ro du ct io n: I FS C or p or at e M ar ke ti ng , M ar ch 2 0 1 8 . IFSworld.com COPYRIGHT © 2018 INDUSTRIAL AND FINANCIAL SYSTEMS, IFS AB. IFS AND ALL IFS PRODUCTS AND SERVICES NAMES ARE TRADEMARKS OF IFS. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. THIS DOCUMENT MAY CONTAIN STATEMENTS OF POSSIBLE FUTURE FUNCTIONALIT Y FOR IFS’S PRODUCTS AND TECHNOLOGY. SUCH STATEMENTS ARE FOR INFORMATION PURPOSES ONLY AND SHOULD NOT BE INTERPRETED AS ANY COMMITMENT OR REPRESENTATION. THE NAMES OF ACTUAL COMPANIES AND PRODUCTS MENTIONED HEREIN MAY BE THE TRADEMARKS OF THEIR RESPECTIVE OWNERS. IFS AB ©2018 IFS develops and delivers enterprise software for customers around the world who manufacture and distribute goods, maintain assets, and manage service-focused operations. The industry expertise of our people and solutions, together with commitment to our customers, has made us a recognized leader and the most recommended supplier in our sector. Our team of 3,500 employees supports more than one million users worldwide from a network of local offices and through our growing ecosystem of partners. 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