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Field Services Alternatives

  • 1.  Field Services Alternatives

    GOLD CONTRIBUTOR
    Posted May 04, 2020 11:37 AM
    Good Monday morning, community!

    Our organization is in need of some of the features Field Services for CRM provides; but a full implementation of Field Services in our On-Prem environment is both overkill (would provide way more tools, features, and complexity than we need) and to costly for our available budget

    What other "Field Services-ish" type of products/modules/application/add-ons are out there for CRM, and currently in use by anyone?

    Best,

    ------------------------------
    Erik Guthrie
    IT Data & Business Applications Group Manager
    Spectra Logic
    Boulder CO
    CRMUG-Denver Chapter Leader
    erikg@spectralogic.com
    ------------------------------
    Academy - Online Interactive Learning from Experts


  • 2.  RE: Field Services Alternatives

    Posted May 05, 2020 01:55 AM
    Erik, could you provide a list of the Field Service-ish features that you are looking for?​

    ------------------------------
    Rob Pike
    RSM
    Minneapolis, MN
    ------------------------------

    Academy - Online Interactive Learning from Experts


  • 3.  RE: Field Services Alternatives

    GOLD CONTRIBUTOR
    Posted May 05, 2020 10:29 AM
    Thank you for the follow up question, @Rob Pike​! I suppose that is an important piece of info to know in order to answer.  The top 3 "needs" from a Field Services "lite" type of application are:

    Scheduling on-site visits for technicians or service partners
    Dispatching
    Labor tracking

    And two "nice-to-have" items might be:
    Inventory tracking
    Automated customer follow up surveys

    Does that help steer the solution in a certain direction a little better?

    Thanks,
    Erik

    ------------------------------
    Erik Guthrie
    IT Data & Business Applications Group Manager
    Spectra Logic
    Boulder CO
    CRMUG-Denver Chapter Leader
    erikg@spectralogic.com
    ------------------------------

    Academy - Online Interactive Learning from Experts


  • 4.  RE: Field Services Alternatives

    TOP CONTRIBUTOR
    Posted May 05, 2020 10:37 AM
    As others mentioned:

    * Cases - a service component included in all D365 CRM offerings (including D365 for Sales). It also includes things like a knowledge library, and other service-related features. I believe you should already have this in your install, it may simply need to be examined.

    * D365 for Customer Service - not as heavy of an add-on as Field Service. This includes Universal Resource Scheduling that might take care of some of your other most important needs.

    * Resco - as someone mentioned, this is the backend for the Field Service mobile offering and has a lot of great features.

    * Customization - whatever gap you have may be able to be covered by creating your own custom entities and processes. I'm not a big fan of "build" if there is an option you can "buy" - but if you're down to only a small number of additional entities that the above options won't cover, then D365 is fairly easy to extend with additional capabilities.

    ------------------------------
    Geoff Ables
    Managing Partner
    C5 Insight
    Charlotte NC
    ------------------------------

    Academy - Online Interactive Learning from Experts


  • 5.  RE: Field Services Alternatives

    GOLD CONTRIBUTOR
    Posted May 05, 2020 10:50 AM
    Thanks @Geoff Ables for the suggestions! We do leverage Cases (renamed to Incidents in our deployment).  We have it built out pretty robustly, a high degree of customization in that and other related entities we have created

    We are on-Prem with our deployment, so is the​ D365 for customer service available for us? Or is that an online only option?

    While we are certainly NOT afraid to customize and build our own entities, we would absolutely have to pair up with a partner to build out as sophisticated of a solution as we need.  And that likely could/would get as expensive as buying/implementing FS as is.  Plus, should we ever put on our big boy pants and attempt to migrate to online, a highly customized, internally built FS-like set of entities might not migrate well.  As such, there could be a very large expense in rebuilding the cloud.  That possibility is the most likely deterrent to us building out a customized solution ourselves.

    I appreciate the input!

    Best,
    Erik

    ------------------------------
    Erik Guthrie
    IT Data & Business Applications Group Manager
    Spectra Logic
    Boulder CO
    CRMUG-Denver Chapter Leader
    erikg@spectralogic.com
    ------------------------------

    Academy - Online Interactive Learning from Experts


  • 6.  RE: Field Services Alternatives

    TOP CONTRIBUTOR
    Posted May 05, 2020 11:02 AM
    Hi @Erik Guthrie,

    It slipped my mind that you're on-prem. D365 for Customer Service is cloud only. However, D365 for Customer Engagement (which includes Customer Service ... and also Field Service) is available on-prem. Given your description of Field Service, I assume D365CE is not in the cards for you.

    There is the old Service Scheduling module, but that is deprecated and will be removed in a future release. Since you're on-prem, you may be able to hang onto the module a bit longer than most.

    If you're looking for something that integrates with D365, I don't know that there are many other options out there. I seem to recall one that I saw on the expo floor at the last Summit, but my web searches are coming up empty.

    You may also want to check out the PowerApps templates.

    We do customizations and have implemented scheduling, inventory and tracking hours for clients. Happy to chat with you about that if it comes to looking for a partner to help.​​

    ------------------------------
    Geoff Ables
    Managing Partner
    C5 Insight
    Charlotte NC
    ------------------------------

    Academy - Online Interactive Learning from Experts


  • 7.  RE: Field Services Alternatives

    Posted May 05, 2020 01:55 AM


    ------------------------------
    Rob Pike
    RSM
    Minneapolis, MN
    ------------------------------

    Academy - Online Interactive Learning from Experts


  • 8.  RE: Field Services Alternatives

    SILVER CONTRIBUTOR
    Posted May 05, 2020 02:29 AM
    Hi Erik,
    First of all I think the question of Rob is very important. It depends on what you want to achieve.
    However, did you already take resco.net into account? They are providing lots of field service related functionality. Finaly this is the company that has developed the mobile client for MS Field Service but it can also be used as stand alone solution.
    Torsten

    ------------------------------
    Torsten Harden
    Solution Architect
    Sycor-Group
    Goettingen / Germany
    ------------------------------

    Academy - Online Interactive Learning from Experts


  • 9.  RE: Field Services Alternatives

    GOLD CONTRIBUTOR
    Posted May 05, 2020 10:36 AM
    You are correct, @Torsten Harden, knowing our most essential requirements is essential to properly answer the question.  I did respond to Rob's follow up, but for a recap, here are the requirements:

    The top 3 "needs" from a Field Services "lite" type of application are:
    Scheduling on-site visits for technicians or service partners
    Dispatching
    Labor tracking

    "Nice-to-haves":
    Inventory tracking
    Automated customer follow up surveys


    No, we have not investigated resco.net.  Did not know such an option existed.  Do you recommend it is an alternative? If so, what is the best way to get more information and a contact for this option?

    Thanks,
    Erik

    ------------------------------
    Erik Guthrie
    IT Data & Business Applications Group Manager
    Spectra Logic
    Boulder CO
    CRMUG-Denver Chapter Leader
    erikg@spectralogic.com
    ------------------------------

    Academy - Online Interactive Learning from Experts


  • 10.  RE: Field Services Alternatives

    GOLD CONTRIBUTOR
    Posted May 05, 2020 08:15 AM
    What basic features are you looking for?   Have you looked at Cases?  This would help you to manage the calls, but wouldn't have any dispatch board kind of functionality.

    ------------------------------
    Mary Cunningham
    Director - Service Technology
    Comfort Systems USA
    Ocala FL
    ------------------------------

    Academy - Online Interactive Learning from Experts


  • 11.  RE: Field Services Alternatives

    GOLD CONTRIBUTOR
    Posted May 05, 2020 10:40 AM
    Thanks for the follow up, @Mary Cunningham!.  We do currently use the Cases entity, though we have renamed it incidents, to better align with our other, integrated systems.  But it's the Cases entity for all intents and purposes. And yes, we use Cases/Incidents to manage calls and run customer support operations.

    Our requirements are as follows:
    The top 3 "needs" from a Field Services "lite" type of application are:
    Scheduling on-site visits for technicians or service partners
    Dispatching
    Labor tracking

    And two "nice-to-have" items might be:
    Inventory tracking
    Automated customer follow up surveys

    Thanks,
    Erik



    ------------------------------
    Erik Guthrie
    IT Data & Business Applications Group Manager
    Spectra Logic
    Boulder CO
    CRMUG-Denver Chapter Leader
    erikg@spectralogic.com
    ------------------------------

    Academy - Online Interactive Learning from Experts


  • 12.  RE: Field Services Alternatives

    TOP CONTRIBUTOR
    Posted May 05, 2020 12:02 PM
    Hi Erik-

    Just throwing things out here -- am a fan of possibly using what you have first before buying something else.

    Is your email system on-prem or O365?

    Scheduling visits: Could the Bookings app in your O365 apps work? This will read the calendar of all your users you set up for it and then scheduling them can either be a web form it provides or someone adding items to their calendars.

    Dispatching: Visibility through the D365 app on the phones.

    Labor tracking: A couple of modifications to the appointment entity with some fields to track hours worked, travel time, etc.

    Automated surveys: check out Forms in your O365 apps. You can create a survey there, grab the link and then use workflow to send an email after the tech visit.

    Joe




    ------------------------------
    Joseph C. Markovich
    IT Manager
    Okaya Electric America
    Valparaiso IN
    ------------------------------

    Academy - Online Interactive Learning from Experts


  • 13.  RE: Field Services Alternatives

    GOLD CONTRIBUTOR
    Posted 29 days ago
    Hey @Joseph C. Markovich,

    Thank you for the input by way of questions; here are a few answers, lets see where it leads us:

     - Email is On-Prem (at least, all of our Exchange infrastructure is); we do use webmail through MS, though, but the does not provide the same apps to leverage as O365, correct?​

     - If not using O365, we do not have access to the Bookings app, correct?

     - Since our CRM deployment is on-prem, we have almost zero usage of CRM through mobile devices (phones, tablets or otherwise).  Would it be worth starting to use more mobile devices to leverage some Dispatching visibility service?

     - Would love to hear more about the modifications to the appointment entity to initiate labor tracking!  We do make some small usage of the Appt. entity in our Sales Dept. with customers.  Will that present complications?

     - Automated surveys: again, we do not have O365 proper, but we do send out surveys randomly upon completing and resolving customer support cases.  Would we be better off to build automated survey delivery along the framework that we currently have for support cases?

    Best,
    Erik Guthrie

    ------------------------------
    Erik Guthrie
    IT Data & Business Applications Group Manager
    Spectra Logic
    Boulder CO
    CRMUG-Denver Chapter Leader
    erikg@spectralogic.com
    ------------------------------

    Academy - Online Interactive Learning from Experts


  • 14.  RE: Field Services Alternatives

    TOP CONTRIBUTOR
    Posted 22 days ago
    Hey Erik!

    - On-prem email: No, unfortunately. No access to the Bookings or Forms apps.

    - Since both your D365 and Exchange is on-prem, you could think about rolling out the D365 mobile app. It is going to be a bit of work to set up D365 to be Internet-facing and there would be a cost in terms of servers/Windows server licensing/your time, but then you'll also be able to use the Outlook app along with having the D365 app be able to work on the mobile devices.

    - So, if you wanted to use the appointment entity for other tracking options and information, you could customize it and add the fields you're looking to track. You can assign security to the form the users need to access. The sales dept could see one form and the field techs another form based on their security roles. Or do something that extends out the Case (Incidents) entity. Just thinking out loud here.

    - Is the survey information being captured in a separate entity? I am sure you could use the same framework for field service surveys too.

    I don't know if my rambling thoughts help, but this is an intriguing project to me.

    We should start a SIG for all of us still using on-prem D365. :)

    Joe

    -

    ------------------------------
    Joseph C. Markovich
    IT Manager
    Okaya Electric America
    Valparaiso IN
    ------------------------------

    Academy - Online Interactive Learning from Experts


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