Do You Have to Replace Your Existing ERP System to Accommodate Field Service Management (FSM)?

Apr 06, 2018

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software is an integral part of a company’s operational strategy. ERP solutions often provide the wireframe for managing internal resources of an organization efficiently including inventory, scheduling production, planning, customer success, and supply chain.   

ERP software has been widely adopted throughout the world for decades now, to the point where most companies are using some form of it, or the other.  When it comes to choosing your ERP software, there are two important things to remember:

1) An ERP system is a long-term investment, and you don’t replace your existing system unless it is absolutely necessary

2) Like any software, ERP has limitations too. No ERP software will do everything, or do everything well. But, it is important that your ERP has ways to integrate other solutions like field service management

Growth of Field Service Management (FSM) Software

Field service management, in particular, is a hot topic right now. An IDC study, found that only 9 percent of North American manufacturers will get increased revenue from product sale in coming years. As such, the focus of many manufacturing firms has shifted from looking for growth by additional product sales, to hunting growth through robust aftermarket support services. FSM software is beneficial for strictly service-driven companies too, as they keep looking for ways to increase ‘value’ for customers without increasing their cost.  

One of the hottest debates around Field Service Management (FSM) solutions has always been around its integration capabilities with other key business systems like an existing ERP or CRM system. For a long time, organizations avoided the use of a dedicated FSM system by some laborious, although often clever re-coding to extend the functionality of an existing tool like SAP or Oracle.

However, the growth of Cloud computing and the SaaS revenue model has fueled a much greater and widespread adoption of dedicated FSM solutions in recent years. This in turn has increased product feature enhancements from FSM solution providers in what is turning into a fiercely competitive sector.

For example, IFS the global enterprise applications company has increased flexibility for its users and is frequently integrated with ERP software from SAP or Microsoft. Although, IFS provides a standalone ERP software too, this strategy of integrating IFS Field Service Management with their direct competitor’s ERP products makes sense for IFS customers as it helps them increase service functionality and agility for their organization. This allows them to open up their market to other companies where IFS ERP might not be the ideal fit, but still need field service management to handle asset life-cycles. IFS has focused heavily on their IFS Integration Framework that helps companies seamlessly integrate with ERP systems from a variety of providers. This approach has seen IFS named as a leader in the 2017 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Field Service Management.

So, do you have to replace your existing ERP system to accommodate FSM? Probably not. But, there are several factors to consider for keeping or replacing your existing ERP system.

When Should You Replace Your ERP

Your ERP serves as a backbone for your business, providing the functionality necessary to smoothly run operations and delivering a competitive advantage by being easy and convenient for users. Perhaps one of the strongest reasons for staying with your existing system is the fact that a system replacement is a company-wide project and requires both, significant costs and commitment from employees with proper change management. If your existing ERP is not directly harming the growth or operations of your company, and the system is reliable and affordable, you should not look to replace either.

However, you don’t want to get stuck in the “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it,” mentality. If your current software is harming your bottom-line, you should definitely look at a replacement or risk losing your competitive advantage. Some reasons for replacing your ERP system are:

  • Lack of integration and functionality is hurting business growth or agility
  • Longer response times and lack of transparency in accessing information
  • Unreliable hardware and limited or expensive support for outdated hardware/software
  • Losing market share and competitive advantage due to being incapable of keeping up industry sector standards

ERP is more than just a software purchase, it is a long-term investment for your company that will be a vital part of your company’s success. Ripping out an older system might not always be necessary, with proper integration capabilities from newer tools like IFS-FSM. Download our FREE guide on end-to-end field service management for a comprehensive guide on everything FSM can do for you.

ProV International Inc. is a global IT service delivery company and an award-winning partner for IFS, and have continually collaborated with the IFS-FSM ecosystem and worked to improve its delivery methodologies and procedures. To learn more about how ProV configures FSM tools to meet our clients’ needs and quickly adapt to change, drop a comment below or contact us today.

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Topics: ERP, IFS, FSM, Field Service Management Providers, IFS Partners, IFS Applications, FSM software, field service solutions, field service software, field service management software, workforce management solutions, field service management app, mobile field service software, service offering, service scheduling software, field service scheduling tools, service company software