Down, Set, Hike! Predictive Playbook for Scheduling, Travel & Dispatch

Undoubtedly, predictive maintenance can be a secret weapon for smart field service teams. But new tools allow savvy professionals to get predictive with more aspects of their operational footprint than ever before. Which means making the right call about how to invest in predictive technology is also tougher than it used to be.

At face value, American football and field service share little common ground. But upon deeper examination, it’s obvious that service and football are both built around the same fundamental truth: unpredictable behavior.

And overcoming unpredictable behavior requires incredible play-calling skills.

For example, if a 300-pound linebacker comes barreling towards a quarterback on a defensive blitz, that quarterback must make split-second play change. Likewise in service, when a customer cancels an appointment at the last minute, the dispatch manager must make a quick decision about how to best utilize a technician’s time.

In field service management, having a predictive service playbook that keeps your team moving towards the goal line can be the difference between winning and losing.

In the following paragraphs we share a few predictive scheduling, travel, dispatch, and maintenance ideas to keep your team sharp.

Play #1: Predictive Travel Option Pass

In football, one of the most tried and true plays is the option pass route, in which the quarterback flanks right or left of play and waits for one of the receivers to open up while remaining on-the-go. This ensures they don’t get tackled, and buys the QB time to throw to an open receiver.

In service, keeping your technicians on the move is also key. Most organizations plan travel routes by accounting for technician location, proximity to a job site, available routes, likely travel times, and the technician’s existing schedule.

But today’s mobile devices and software can track and account for so much more. Everything from route efficiency, drive time, current weather, to traffic and technician skillsets can be incorporated into the travel and dispatch decision-making process.

Which is why the most advanced service organizations are combining all of the data featured above to improve travel and routes for their field techs in real-time.

In fact, modern artificial intelligence (AI) software can predict that heavy traffic will be the result of torrential rain, and proactively re-route a technician to a job within a closer proximity. Instead of sending out a technician to sit in traffic, your software could be aiding in dispatching the technician to work on other tasks at a nearby location until the weather passes and driving efficiency improves.

The results are higher productivity, and lower fuel costs. It’s a first down for your service team.

Play #2: Predictive Dispatch Running Back Blast

Another common, but dirt-simple play in football is the running back blast. In this play, the quarterback hands the ball off to a running back who blasts straight into the middle of the defensive line hoping there’s a weakness, or hole. A quick succession of simple blasts can often speed play, and wear the opposing line down.

In field service, using predictive technology to ensure your technicians are blasting into jobs faster can truly boost your bottom line.

Crunching the numbers on scheduling and dispatch ensures that every field technician has a balanced and reasonable dispatch schedule. By reducing time spent not working (i.e., traveling to a job site), your techs can fit more jobs in an average day.

Predictive travel software uses historical data about traffic–both time of day and day of week–to estimate future travel times. These accurate predictions allow service teams to build a better daily service schedule. Combining predictive intelligence with real-time predictive travel insights, your technicians can effectively notch one or two more jobs completed per day, which across an organization, yields major profit. At the same time, using predictive dispatch intelligence helps you avoid downtime by scheduling jobs during the busiest traffic.

When combined with real-time route optimization, predictive dispatch can mean more customer equipment getting serviced in a given day, more revenue, and happier customers.

And that’s another first down for your service.

Play #3: Predictive IoT Maintenance Dime Zone Defense

In football, a good offense often means having the best defense. A popular approach to defense in professional football is to play in zones, as opposed to using man-to-man coverage. A dime defense means having six defensive backs cover passing routes, or away from the line of scrimmage (as opposed to four, or five). This makes it highly unlikely that the offense will complete a game-changing, or long passing play.

Likewise in field service, taking an aggressive defensive approach often prevents the need for maintenance altogether.

Consider embedding Internet-of-Things sensors on heating, ventilation, air conditioning (HVAC) units, industrial parts and systems, or on environmental monitoring equipment. This allows your service team to track and predict hiccups in performance long before the larger system fails, or the end user notices.

By leveraging AI and the Internet of Things (IoT), you will more accurately predict when these smart devices need service, or how often they might fail. Simply put, combining AI and the ability to process data inputs from IoT-enabled machines allows your organization to accurately predict service and maintenance timeframes.

In one potential scenario, ongoing analysis of data from sensors embedded on an HVAC unit could uncover a specific model of fans that are consistently causing issues. In another, you might find that an Oil & Gas pump is experiencing unnatural vibrations, or temperature spikes that could be a sign of an underlying issue. Obviously, if treated proactively this could save Oil & Gas organizations thousands, if not millions of dollars.

We’ll call that a touchdown for service.

When it comes to predictive maintenance, these tips truly just scratch the surface of what’s possible. Tomorrow’s leading service organizations will embrace artificial intelligence, IoT, and many more technologies to incrementally improve the customer experience, and ultimately win in the broader business arena.

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Why Capital Equipment Is Leading in IoT but Trailing in Customer Experience

When it comes to technology adoption and operational efficiency, capital equipment manufacturers (CEMs) are leaders. More than any other vertical, CEMs have adopted the Internet of Things (IoT) to monitor asset condition, track parts, predict failures, and empower techs with relevant insight. Because of this, they have been able to maintain a higher than average first-time fix rate. According to Aberdeen, while other industries have a 5.3% year-over-year change in first time fix rate, CEMs are leading with 11.4%.

But when it comes to improving customer experiences, CEMs are falling behind other industries. This is a problem, especially as positive customer experience has become a competitive differentiator for service industries. According to Forrester, 63% of U.S. consumers have stopped doing business with a brand due to poor customer service. And poor customer service translates into an estimated $62 billion in lost sales in the U.S. 

You might be wondering why CEMs are trailing in customer experience despite being leaders in tech adoption and first-time fix rates. Here are some challenges that capital equipment manufacturers are facing.

Translating Operational Success into Customer Experience Success

The modern-day consumer has higher expectations for customer service. According to ClickSoftware’s recent research on the Uberization of Service, customers today expect and demand a level of real-time communication, visibility, and convenience. More than a quarter of consumers across all countries surveyed rated direct and live communication about their booking and service visit as their top expectation for field service. Live tracking of the technician came in a close second.

Although CEMs are excelling in operational efficiency and first-time fixes, this hasn’t translated to customer experience. According to Aberdeen, while other industries improved their annual customer satisfaction rates by 8.5%, CEMs only improved 7.9%. And while all other customer retention rates went up 6.6.%, CEMs fell behind at 5.3%. Fortunately, they have been early adopters of the technology that can help them improve. Most CEMs are ahead of others in maturity of using IoT capabilities.

According to Aberdeen, 78% of CEMs use IoT capabilities to track serviceable assets, but only 11% use it to monitor service vehicles. Customers today want to know where their techs are, so they aren’t wasting time for them to arrive. Though they’ve been using IoT to quickly diagnose and resolve issues, they’re missing out on an opportunity to improve customer experience. By tracking service vehicles, CEMs can provide customers with greater transparency into the tech’s location, and allow for timely adjustments to service appointments if the tech is running late.

Managing a Changing Business Model

Historically, CEMs have been product-centric businesses, but have recently made the switch to service-centric to keep up with rising customer expectations. Though service has become a competitive differentiator for all industries, it's especially important for CEMs because their products are mission-critical to their customers' businesses. Whether it’s a heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system, an ATM, or an MRI machine, unplanned downtime is not an option.

But this shift hasn’t been easy. According to Aberdeen, 55% of CEMs say they operate with a reduced service workforce, which is likely because they are still adjusting to the changing business model. This, in addition to a high volume of support requests and a greater complexity of customer demands and assets, makes it difficult for CEMs to compete with other industries.

Think about it. CEMs already face pressure from their customers to keep their businesses running. Now they need adjust to a service-centric business model, which will require determining skill sets, hiring and training new service employees, and forecasting demand.

So What’s Next for Capital Equipment Manufacturers?

Capital equipment manufacturers may be trailing in customer experience, but they certainly have the ability to improve. They already excel in IoT adoption and operational efficiency. Now it’s only a matter of mastering the tech they already know, and shifting to a more customer-centric mindset. Here’s what CEM’s should work on.

Think about what’s best for the customer

Thanks to on-demand services such as Uber, customers have high expectations for service. Operational efficiency is important, but CEMs can’t just focus on perfecting back office systems. They will need to balance their operational mindset with a customer-centric focus. Customers appreciate first-time fixes, but they also want streamlined communication and transparency into their service.

Master how to use IoT effectively

Technology adoption is a step in the right direction, but mastery of the technology should be the end goal. To many, IoT is an unfamiliar concept—especially to aging technicians. CEMs should train their employees on using IoT in the context of their jobs. And they should implement processes to ensure they’re getting the most out of the technology investments.

Likewise, CEMs should focus on getting more out of the technology they have. They’re already using IoT for predictive capabilities and monitoring asset condition. They should also think about how to use this technology to improve customer satisfaction. They could implement things like location tracking, notifications, streamlined appointments, and automated follow-up surveys.

Because of their operational success, capital equipment manufacturers are well on their way to improving customer experience. If they can shift their focus to customer experience and leverage their existing technology, they should have no problem competing for customer satisfaction.

Optimizing Service Schedules and Managing the Unexpected

Delivering consistent service day after day begins with a plan. Field service organizations need to track their field employees, vehicles, equipment and parts, and a myriad of other factors to keep getting work done as expected. Of course, when a plan meets reality, they don’t always align. Factors beyond the technician’s or dispatcher’s control will inevitably crop up and disrupt the best of plans. The difference between great and not-so-great service operations is the ability to manage the unexpected and adjust around same-day disruptions.

Service suppliers are still struggling to understand customer expectations, found a recent field service report by ClickSoftware. Without that insight, it’s impossible to meet these expectations. With customer satisfaction being closely tied to revenue, delivering on the expected service plan is essential.   

The good news is that anyone can master optimized scheduling and minimize the impact of unplanned changes. These four steps, mixing technology and process, will help keep service jobs on track—and your customers happy.

When in Doubt, Over-communicate

The most effective dispatchers, whether aided by technology or their experience, have access to critical information about every job planned for the day. They can combine intelligent automation with their own insights to adjust on the fly.

It’s also expected that the dispatcher and field service technician will be in regular communication, with the most important information for each party being provided as needed. But that visibility isn’t always extended to the customer.

While customer communication preferences vary by country and region, lack of visibility is a common frustration. Being able to share an accurate arrival times, information about the technician, and their progress towards their destination in real time will reduce customer no-shows and last-minute cancellations. In the absence of these Uber-like capabilities, the customer should still receive phone or SMS notifications and see what’s happening.

In addition, showing up for a job unprepared due to insufficient information and requiring a follow up visit will also frustrate a customer who already took time off for the service. Enabling the customer to proactively share information like photos of broken equipment, environmental notes (e.g. don’t knock, the baby is sleeping), and other insights ensures the technician can be successful the first time around.

Get Real Results from Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Having the capacity to automate scheduling decisions is a game changer for field service teams. Artificial intelligence-driven technology can use predictive data to reduce idle time, better anticipate travel time, and allow for back up resources to step in quickly when necessary.

For instance, instead of leaving white space in the schedule when a customer cancels, the idle time can be used for other jobs. The system can take the tech's location into account and send them to another nearby job, without delaying other scheduled work. This makes for a more productive day and satisfied customers.

These smart systems can also record disruption data over time to help with future planning. It can track trends, such as weather conditions throughout the year. In the months when there’s a higher probability for snow, the system can schedule more low-priority jobs in case there’s a storm and the tech needs to cancel. It could also look at typical traffic conditions during this weather and account for potential delays.

Finally, schedule elasticity leaves room for high priority and emergency work, without affecting the overall flow of job assignments. The system can fill a technician’s day with a mix of high and low priority work, so there’s room to be flexible. If an emergency comes up, low priority jobs can be rescheduled without upsetting the customer.

Hope for the Best, but Plan for the Worst

Regardless of how experienced your dispatchers and technicians, or how sophisticated your workforce management software, both human and technology decisions should stem from a clearly defined process.

Accept that factors like surprise cancellations, changing weather conditions, and traffic patterns will always remain out of your control, and will inevitably impact field service operations. But having predictive, flexible policies in place will help prepare your team to manage any disruption. For instance, using predictive travel times, especially for the first job of the day, can eliminate repeated delays throughout the day due to traffic. And scheduling technicians with a mix of high and low priority jobs allows for schedule reshuffling.

Remember that the success of both policies and systems hinges on how well you connect your field technicians to the dispatch team. Mobile devices allow techs to check in with the team back in the office. That way if the tech’s vehicle breaks down and must end the day early, the dispatch team can make other arrangements.

Surprises will always be part of field service delivery. Smart technology solutions and even smarter policies can help you mitigate their impact on each technician, job, and customer–and your bottom line.

6 Ways to Master Operational Reliability in Field Service

Improving efficiency and reducing costs are stock goals for anyone managing field service operations. But to really impact the top line and the bottom line in your business, you need to think bigger and establish more aggressive targets. In order to become a top quartile performer in operational reliability and project delivery, you have to implement the right mix of process, people, and technology. With attainable targets of reducing operating costs by 10 to 30% and increasing resource utilization by 20 to 40%, its well worth the effort. Less tangible benefits like increasing operational awareness to make better strategic and tactical decisions as well as addressing critical health, safety, and environment (HSE) compliance are waiting to be captured. But what is the most direct path?

Improving your ability to measure, benchmark, and improve all these key metrics relies heavily on the tools you use. While technology can’t do everything, it can—and should—help you address these six areas, and reach that top quartile bracket.

1. Optimize Resource Utilization

Increasing the level of precision when defining and collecting field resource details (i.e. people, equipment, tools, crews), and evaluating to that level of precision at all stages in your operational processes ensures reality is always addressed.  With tools available in the market, the results include immediate and precise access to available resources so commitments can be made that consider the wide range of varying work requirements against the ever shifting availability of resources. This increased operational awareness and accessibility leads to improved prioritization and utilization. Commitments are better made and met, with a clear awareness of all operational demands, what resources are available, are needed and where to shift capacity to meet exact needs.

2. Provide Operational Awareness

Capture knowledge, improve training, and report on the results to increase profit and competitive advantage. Knowing exactly what is happening where and when while comparing it with what resources you have available and where is just the first stage of operational awareness. Complete operational awareness requires the ability to assess what has happened and expose potential areas to improve as well as assess what is required in the future and target how best to address those needs with the resources at hand. Properly addressed, true operational awareness supports the ability to evaluate the past, present and future and institute a process to continually improve the performance of the business.

3. Consolidate Solutions

Support a consolidated and centralized approach to management of all field resources: distribution of work, collection of field details, and dissemination of details across corporate systems to include the ability to accommodate variability within the single centralized solution. A consolidated view of all field resources and work provides the ability to break down historic boundaries and leverage all the resources to address each and every job. Quickly assess what is, has and should occur within your field operations as well as instantly access availability considering everything about each individual resource, work needs, as well as all outstanding commitments. In addition to the benefits of one operational system to view the exact truth of what is, has and should happen, the obvious benefits of reduced administration efforts and IT infrastructure exist.

4. Improve Process Adherence & Compliance

Ensure standard work instructions (SWIs) and standard operating procedures (SOPs) are adhered to by field personnel along with other defined processes to improve consistency across the operation.  Likewise, ensuring compliance with external mandates from regulators and customer established regulations helps ensure consistent delivery of work to improve an organizations professional reputation while reducing penalties and the need for unproductive re-work. The baseline established with consistency aids in taking the guesswork out of where and how best to improve the business. Management can no count on consistent delivery based on the defined strategy, providing a solid foundation to adapt and refine toward the desired strategy.

5. Streamline Operational Processes

Incorporate a field resource management system that can bolt onto your ERP, HR, CRM and EAM solutions, to expose and enhance information across the operation seamlessly. No matter what system you are in, you have an up to date view of what is, should and has gone on. This will reduce administrative efforts like double/triple entry, allowing each system of record to maintain ownership, while sharing details and accepting in updates as desired. The resulting increased operational velocity reduces lags in awareness while also supporting a culture that values clarity and speed.

6. Design Adaptable, Extendable Infrastructure

Expect changes, everywhere. With the right technology, the business is equipped to adjust quickly and easily to inevitable changes in market or operational needs. Today’s competitive environments demand agility as customers, competitors, regulators, as well as the business’ desire to innovate is revealed. New systems, business acquisitions, or process changes don’t have to disrupt all your operations or require your users to work around static operational systems. Select solutions with flexibility in mind to ensure the business needs are addressed, users are kept engaged, and you don’t find yourself looking for a new system every few years.

These six directives provide a good starting point on what to look for and consider as you evaluate solutions. The first step towards improving field service delivery is establishing what your targets are. Oddly enough, many confuse this as the last time targets are evaluated. With the clear truth that change is inevitable, these goals will adapt and new targets will arise, a solution that supports transparency and flexibility on a granular level will position a field service operation to focus on their goals and allow the solution to support the strategy and tactics needed to get them.

Field Service Spring Fever: How Utilities Pros Can Overcome Seasonal Demands

You’ve likely heard a thousand times how social, mobile, the cloud, IoT and M2M are completely changing the field service management industry. And like us, you’ve grown accustomed to letting out a long sigh, and asking for some specific examples. That’s not to say these new technologies aren’t game-changing. They most certainly are. With predicting the field service sector will balloon from around $2 Billion to $5 Billion by 2020, there’s no doubt technology will play a huge role in the success or failure of seasonal field service operations.

But the truth is many technological changes will take years to penetrate all aspects of the field service economy. And with or without future technologies, there are some fundamental ways field service pros in the HVAC, AC repair, construction, electrical and other utilities industries can deal with seasonal demands to remain profitable. Because all technology aside, we’re facing an even bigger disruption in field service; a sheer lack of qualified field technicians.

The State of Seasonal Utilities

Without major changes, we will struggle in the coming years to find skilled seasonal workers, fulfill jobs on time, and keep customers happy. Take the HVAC industry as an example. There are roughly 450,000 heating and air-conditioning professionals working in the US today, according to IBIS World. Additional reports from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show a projected 21% rise in HVAC industry jobs through 2022. With half of the current technicians poised to retire in the next 10 years, we will soon be facing a major workforce shortage. Simply put, we need to run our businesses more efficiently if we’re going to face this talent shortage head on. As talent thins out in the coming years, the following three planning tips will help you succeed amidst all the peaks and valleys.

1. Forecast More Accurately

Forecasting demand is a big challenge for seasonal businesses. After all, who can predict when the next heat wave or snowstorm will hit? But, some simple math can quickly solve seasonal fluctuations. By tracking basic account-level information month-over-month and year-over-year, utilities pros can forecast business-based patterns that will help them better plan for their highs and lows.

Forecasting 101

Naive forecasts, otherwise known as time series forecasts, are the simplest method for tracking and forecasting seasonal demands. This includes logging (at first, in Excel) fiscal data like contract value, date and duration for each job performed. Then, map one fiscal period to the next assuming things will be roughly the same. As you compare each fiscal period, you can begin to treat the calendar year in broader strokes, instead of months.

Depending on your high and low seasons, consider adjusting your fiscal year to reflect your business model. Pay as much of your annual expenses during busy season to alleviate offseason financial burden.

Of course, if you simply don’t have time to forecast, consider trying out some basic financial software.

2. Train, Retain, Attain

As discussed above, a primary challenge the field service industry will face in the coming years is sheer lack of talented workers. Which means an already complicated staffing game is about to get worse. Putting all technology aside, there are three basic human resources hacks that can help you remain profitable, and keep your business running smoothly, whether you’re installing AC units, or repairing a short circuit.

Train Faster

Many small companies fail to develop and document best practices. Sure, there are certifications for specific industries, but that’s not the same thing as training. You likely have a specific way of talking to customers and unique skills that have made you successful. If you can replicate yourself, your business will grow.

Take the time to document your way of doing business—whether on paper, via video, or via mentoring. The more you get this training out of your head and onto paper means the more your new hires can learn without you there to constantly coach them. This will ultimately speed up the training process, and get you back to running the business.

Retain Workers

Whether it’s a summer landscaping operation, or snow removal business, the more returning talent you can rely on, all the better. Keep in touch with your staff while they are away. Send cards. Treat them to a meal. Most of all, find a way to reward your most talented workers. If you can afford to offer a pay increase for returning each season, you should most certainly do this. Especially if you want to reduce training time, and scale up the business quickly. For more on keeping field service employees motivated and engaged, click here.

Attain Knowledge

Never get so busy that you don’t have line of sight on every aspect of the business. It’s crucial that you attain knowledge on employee performance, profit, time each job takes, and other profit makers and breakers. If you’re collecting this knowledge during busy season, you can use down time in the offseason to evaluate performance. Come up with a plan to optimize the business, and kick butt in the following rush.

3. Optimize Communication

No matter the size of your team and customer base, communication is key to overcoming seasonal field service demand. Track email, phone and face-to-face communication as much as possible, looking for ways to improve both customer and internal communication. Time is money, and communication takes up a lot of time.

Start by developing scripts for your field force. It doesn’t have to be lengthy, but even a basic script for how to deal with customers can help new workers stay consistent and reflect your business positively.

Next, make sure you follow up with customers. Sounds pretty basic, right? You’d be surprised how few field service techs and employees think to double check with the customer that they received adequate time and attention.

Finally, develop a feedback loop. Find a way to improve your communication incrementally. Use your downtime in between busy days and weeks to come up with improved communication. Use customer insights, employee feedback, and good old-fashioned common sense. Implementing even a few small changes each year will reap long-term rewards. And if you get to the point where your organization is too big for small small communication tweaks, it’s time to explore software options.

4 Ways Field Service Solution Implementations Are Different

Every time your team is tasked with rolling out a new technology or platform for the business, you go through a similar process. Someone articulates the business driver, IT translates business concerns into technology requirements, vendors try to teach you how to buy their product, and as soon as you select a solution, you’re already worried about how to drive adoption of the new system even before the ink is dry on the purchase order.

Even if you’re likely to encounter a lot of similarities among implementation projects, it’s important to recognize that seeing one such projects means you’ve seen them all. In fact, if you’re implementing field service management software—or any tools for a mobile workforce—here are four key considerations that are less salient when rolling out a CRM or ERP.

1. Accommodating Ongoing Change

Whether one of your behemoth systems of record is an ERP, a CRM, a EAM, or any combination of the above, you can trust they will remain relatively static once implemented. In contrast, mobile workforce management solutions are intended to adapt and adjust to changing conditions. Deriving the full benefit of a field service management solution depends on its ability to maximize efficiency and quality of job delivery in unpredictable circumstances, and in real time. Anticipating these changes requires investigating various aspects of your business and the factors that can reshape them—it begins with understanding your business and designing processes and policies that balance flexibility and predictability. Your FSM toolkit should be equally nimble and not limited to best-case scenarios. This flexibility to adapt applies to the implementation process as well, where an agile delivery approach helps accommodate the learning and adjutment that must happen when deploying FSM solutions.

2. Addressing Operational Variability

For all service operations, there is a tidal shift toward an intense focus on being customer centric. Even customers who might not have an alternate vendor to choose can make their dissatisfaction very public—impacting your position in the market. Delivering exceptional customer experiences requires greater precision in all interactions and the ability to target processes, service policies, exposure of data, and mandates for user entry, among others, to attain the proper level of precision. FSM systems provide the touch point within operations where customers meet service, and can become the tool to address these very granular needs. Supporting varied work processes by type of job; interacting with a customer in their context (individualizing service); addressing inevitable changes in the work schedule that require varied processes (emergent work, traffic conditions, cancellations, changes in field service professional’s availability, etc.). Accounting for this level of variability in service of delighting the customer increases the sophistication of deployment.

3. Supporting a Broad Spectrum of Users

Business operations and sales are heavy users of your CRM. Marketing probaby doesn’t need or want to access your accounting software. But with field service management software, you support a broad range of users within the service operation, all with varying levels of experience and distinct role-based access and concerns. Training users and maintaining an interaction with them to collect feedback and support adapting the solution is key. With this broader user base, change management challenges require more thought and action to address, as well as the previously noted agility. The shift from legacy systems (typically providing more individualized decisions on what to do, when and how) adds to this challenge.

4. Keeps Critical Business Functions Running

While unplanned downtime from a back office system will not grind all business activity to a halt (just whatever else IT is trying to do), when a MWFM system goes down, the flow of work and collection of details is no longer available, effectively stopping field service operations. Even if the power goes out in your office building, your mobile workforce needs to trust they are fully supported to keep delivering service to customers. It’s also essential to your reputation and keeping costs and profits in balance. Your customers will not have a direct interaction with your ERP or CRM system, but they will be the first to feel the impact of a poor schedule, delayed technicians, or incomplete job information.

Does this mean that field service solution implementations are more difficult to conduct than other systems? Not necessarily. Each accurately scoped and well-thought out technology project will reveal its own challenges and complexities. There is no implement-by-numbers guide that will apply to all software. Understanding the unique requirements of each solution type and their ramifications will help you plan better for implementing and adopting new solutions, and deliver more business value once the system is up and running.