Recently our software went live at ALARM-service AB, Sweden’s longest-standing provider of fire safety and security systems. It got us thinking about different approaches to implementation.
A lot of companies are reluctant to invest in new business software because of fears and anxieties about implementation. They are concerned about processes being disrupted, data being lost, parts of the software not working as they should, service teams not adjusting or adapting properly to the new way of working, or the whole project failing. To counter this, software providers (including us) are always looking for ways of making the deployment process quicker, easier and more effective for everyone involved.
It's important to note that when it comes to implementing new business software, there’s no such thing as one-size-fits-all. Every business has different needs.
Some companies want a fast, waterfall approach, where all the functions of the new system are integrated as quickly as possible. Often that’s because they have an urgent need. Other companies choose a more agile approach, where the new system is delivered in stages and time is allowed for the company to get used to the different functions. When one stage is complete, the company feeds back on what they like and what they don’t like and, where possible, changes are made to accommodate.
ALARM-service AB, who supply and maintain security and fire protection systems including CCTV, burglar and fire alarms, access control, personal/assault alarms and smart home security, needed a new system quickly. So, they decided to take the first of these approaches.
Meeting The Deadline
ALARM-service AB were using an ERP system called Fortnox, which included a CRM platform, and a separate mobility app for their engineers called AddMobile. The Fortnox CRM platform was fast reaching end-of-life and the only option for ALARM-service AB was to migrate to the new Fortnox CRM platform. When they realised that the new platform did not have the required functionality, they were forced to seek an alternative provider. They needed something before the end date for the old Fortnox platform otherwise they would have been completely without a system for service management.
ALARM-service AB chose Asolvi’s WinServ solution for three reasons. Firstly, it is a strong field service management (FSM) platform, offering them a far better structure and workflow than they had previously. Secondly, it has various special features designed to accommodate the fire & security market. Thirdly, it meant that they could have one solution for everything (although they have retained Fortnox for invoicing, so we have integrated WinServ with Fortnox to maintain a seamless flow of data).
The pressure on ALARM-service AB meant that we had to be flexible. They wanted an as-fast-as-possible implementation, so we delivered it. We didn’t dictate the process. We created a road map together. The deployment started on March 27th and ALARM-service AB went live with WinServ three weeks later on April 17th, before the end date of their old platform. We helped them configure the system and import their data (a particular challenge for us because of the outmoded data sources they were using before).
Flexibility Is Key
We wouldn’t necessarily advise a company to take the waterfall approach. With a more agile implementation spanning several months, companies end up with something more bespoke and more suited to their needs, including needs they don’t yet know they have. But since ALARM-service AB needed something urgently, they had to decide quickly what their needs were and look around for solutions that met them. WinServ fitted the bill. A big draw for them was that, unlike their old system, WinServ was a dedicated FSM solution. They would be able to do everything in one system, with far fewer manual and paper-driven processes. Consequently, they were eager to implement all of WinServ’s functions straight away. This is a perfectly valid approach to take, particularly for companies that know what they want.
The key is flexibility. If you and your company are concerned about a long, drawn-out and overly complex implementation, look for software providers that are willing to sit down with you, find out what you want, and be as accommodating as possible to your needs. Providers that have positioned themselves as facilitators of your business’s success and growth, where selling software is just a means to that end.
This is how we approach customers at Asolvi. We talk, we collaborate and we deliver according to our customers’ budgets, schedules and long- and short-term goals. We believe that the more communication, collaboration and flexibility there is, the more straightforward a deployment will be.