5 Big Reasons To Move To A Cloud Based Job Management Software
So first up, what is this cloud thing anyway? The Cloud has become a major buzzword in the business world these last few years. To put it simply, cloud-based software is a way to use computing services over the Internet. Instead of your company maintaining its own software and dedicated hardware, that software is available to you as a service that you can access over the Internet. The service is also responsible for storing and protecting your data.
As long as you have an Internet connection, you have any-time, anywhere access to the software and your data. In most cases, this is true even if you are using a mobile device like a tablet or a smartphone. Switching a business over to run on cloud computing services is often referred to as “moving to the cloud.”
So why should I use a cloud-based software? More importantly, why should I move my quotes, job management, employee scheduling, job cards and invoicing into the cloud? Here are 5 good reasons you need to use cloud-based software such as simPRO Enterprise to manage your trade or services business.
1. Real time information
In this day and age knowing the current status of a job, whether a quote has been submitted to a customer, if a technician has arrived onsite and who is available to do a job next Monday (all in a matter of seconds) is a must. Businesses that cannot operate at high speed get left behind. Being a good manager goes a long way, but the ability to have real time data and make real time decisions enhances business management even further.
With a good cloud-based job management system your team can quote, enter job data, invoice and even take payment from site and all of this information is available to both office and field staff simultaneously. Similarly, office staff can book and send job information to field techs and have full visibility of every job and every customer past, present or future at any time from anywhere.
2. Speed of service
A good system should allow you to provide your customers with exceptional service. If a customer called you about a job that was done 2 years ago, would you be able to look up the required information without having to call the customer back? You should even be able to invoice your service jobs either on the spot or at least the same day.
The faster you invoice, the faster you get paid but there’s more to it than that. It has been proven that the faster you invoice the more likely you are to get paid. Additionally, the speed of response to customers, whether it be quotes, information requested or an invoice after work is completed increases confidence in your company and your brand.
Speed of service is becoming increasingly more important than quality. Fast food, frozen meals, interest-free periods, streaming movies to mobile devices all have something in common; they offer instant results albeit at a cost of quality. But what if you could offer both speed of service and quality workmanship?
Software such as simPRO will allow you to look up all data on the fly while the customer is still on the phone and your field staff can provide professional quotes on the spot and invoice instantly once the work has been completed. In fact, your customers can even pay on the spot or pay online by credit card, even after hours, by clicking a link on the emailed invoice.
3. Safety and security of your information
Another good reason to run your service and trade software in the cloud is to prevent data loss. There are many ways that data could be lost but a few common issues are hardware or software failure such as a server or hard drive failure, paperwork being physically lost such as job cards, timesheets or purchase orders, key documentation such as photos or marked up plans being lost.
A cloud-based ERP (a fancy acronym meaning business management software such as simPRO) keeps all your data safe behind security protected encryption and is backed up by the service provider to prevent data loss. Your own computer can completely crash and you can just move to a new computer and continue working. When there are natural disasters such as large-scale power outages or even flooding many businesses must close down. Those running cloud software can work from any computer with an internet connection.
A cloud-based software will also allow field technicians to take photos, receive signed acceptance of quotes or job completion and fill in safety audits and send them directly to the cloud-based software instantaneously. This means that even if a vehicle is stolen (as happened to a customer not long ago) all the information on completed work up to that moment is safe. Previously when they were using service books the full week of job information would have been lost.
Most software will also have security options per employee to prevent users from seeing data they shouldn’t such as employee pay rates or company profits and should prevent users from deleting data accidentally.
4. Transparency and freedom
The ability to see everything that’s happening in your business from anywhere at any time is something that seems like a pipe dream to some but it is just standard practice for an estimation, job and project management software worth its salt.
The transparency of all field staff and for them to be accountable for their time, to be able to see all quote information and pricing and for estimators to be accountable for the profitability of their quotes and to have office staff be accountable for their work is very important if you are to manage your staff and your business effectively. Have you ever asked “Where is that job file?” or “Who deleted that document from the server?” Every action performed in the software will be logged. If an invoice is deleted or materials removed from a job it should be possible to find out which user performed the action and when.
But to get live reports of every project job, to see your current WIP (a fancy acronym for Work In Progress which is the work you have on at the moment, what the cost is and what the invoiceable value is) and to know that staff are taking care of business is important to be able to manage your company.
Transitioning to cloud based software means you can log in from anywhere in the world and offers business owners and managers the freedom to finally be able to take a break and go on that holiday while still being able to keep tabs on the business from afar.
5. Efficiency and productivity
Efficiency from a cloud-based field service management system comes from so many angles. On a basic level, because one system has all information relating to quotes and jobs which are being updated live there are fewer interruptions with questions going backwards and forwards between staff members. An estimator can enter the materials required, notes and add attachments to a quote ready for the project manager reducing or eliminating handover time.
Information such as a customer’s contact details can be entered into the system once at quote stage and it will flow to all areas including to the project manager, site supervisor and on the invoice. A materials list entered on the quote will flow through to the job for the project manager and should be able to be used to place a purchase order to a supplier in just a few clicks.
All key information such as customers, suppliers, invoices and payments should also flow through to an accounting system as well. In the case of simPRO, there are many choices including MYOB, QBO and Xero to name a few.
I’m sure there are many more reasons than outlined above but hopefully the benefits are starting to shine through. There’s no need to be scared about the move. Careful planning can ensure a smooth transition with little if any disruption to your business.
There are many cloud based job management systems out there but one of the best in the feild is simPRO Enterprise. If you’d like to get more information, register for a demo or just have a chat, please feel free to contact me directly. We can grab a coffee and run through how simPRO works and if it would be right for your business.
I have worked with over 400 businesses to implement cloud based job management software. Making sure the software is the right fit for your business is extremely important and not always an easy task. I can help guide you through the maze and determine if simPRO is a good fit. So, give me a call or email and lets take a look.