What would happen if you brought a floppy disk into a big client meeting. For starters, you wouldn’t be able to load your presentation. You’d also probably get laughed out of the room. You’re essentially doing the same thing by managing your field services technicians with spreadsheets.

In a hyper-competitive service ecosystem, more and more IT service providers are turning to technology to efficiently find and manage their field service technicians. VARs, MSPs and other service providers that continue using dated technology to manage key service functions – recruitment, dispatching, scheduling – will be at a significant disadvantage.

The keys to success in a fast-paced service world? Speed and agility. Today’s top service providers are ditching their spreadsheets in favor of Freelance Management Systems (FMS) in order to more efficiently manage their 1099 field technicians and become more responsive to customer needs. Here are some more reasons you should consider using an FMS to transform your field service operation:

Premier Contractor Marketplaces

One of the biggest concerns that service providers express when leveraging contractors is that they might sacrifice quality. But this doesn’t have to be the case. Take the eBay model as an example – You check seller ratings before making a purchase on eBay, so shouldn’t you at least do the same thing when looking for field service technician to represent your brand or company? FMS technology helps IT service providers benefit from eBay-like marketplace ratings so you can search and find the best technicians for your business.

Once you onboard your contractors and route work, you will be able to pinpoint exactly which technicians are your top-performers, and conversely those who were late or performed sub-par work. While these tasks can be done on a spreadsheet, it would require a significant amount of time to manually rate and rank all of your contractors, and you would be limited to just the information that your organization provides.

FMS software gives you dynamic information (real-time ratings, past performance, etc.) as opposed to data stored in a static spreadsheet, and that information can be parsed by your company ratings, or the entire marketplace at large. You can also leverage software to screen your techs and check for credentials, certifications, insurance policies and work experience. Spreadsheets are only as good as the person reviewing the data, and humans make errors.

Enhanced Cost Management

When was the last time projected your annual labor costs accurately? Because of the variability and unpredictability around managing service events, it’s hard to accurately forecast costs, resources, etc. Now take a second and imagine you could get in-depth analytics and insights into the breakdown of all your service costs. How much are you spending on Cisco technicians in California? What portion of your overall service spend was allocated towards 1099 contractors? Until now, that kind of intelligence has been almost impossible to glean. Fortunately, FMS software is giving field service managers a much better estimation of service costs than a spreadsheet ever could and allowing them to implement tighter cost controls.

Moreover, by building out your bench of available technicians, you can actually control your costs, instead of being beholden to the one contact you have in a particular region or for a particular skill set.

Real-Time Intelligence

Suffice it to say, there are many moving parts when it comes to managing a 1099 workforce of service techs. Using spreadsheets and email to manage your workforce can be problematic for a number of reasons. With spreadsheets, the details of the jobs are often dispersed in different documents, tabs, etc.

Software allows you to aggregate everything under a single interface and makes searching for information infinitely easier. At a glance, you can quickly discern the status of every single project, understand where you are completing tasks in time and under budget, and alternatively identify where things are degrading so you can take action before its too late. And since most techs are equipped with a smartphone, they can use their mobile device to upload assignment information in the field. This gives you real time intelligence you need to be responsive to customers and adaptive to market opportunities.

Powerful Workforce Analytics

What service company isn’t looking to drive additional revenue. Each service call represents an opportunity and a chance to delight your customers, secure repeat business and establish your reputation as an elite service provider. By using powerful workforce analytics inherent in an FMS, you can analyze a myriad of data points to better understand your customer’s behavior, begin anticipating their needs and proactively deploy service resources to better serve them. FMS workforce analytics can help your business identify those opportunities and prepare accordingly. Even the most sophisticated spreadsheets simply can’t connect the dots.

Intelligent Service Routing

Time is money. By using an FMS to more intelligently uncover your team’s availability and route work to your service technicians, you can save hours of time and benefit from a more nimble and responsive workforce. FMS software is helping today’s IT service providers get tighter control over their workforce, be more proactive and reduce customer response times.

Spreadsheets simply can’t provide you the dynamic capabilities that FMS software can. You wouldn’t send your technicians into the field with outdated tools. So why are you using the same type of tools to manage them? Kiss your rows and columns goodbye and learn how an FMS can transform your service delivery model!