By Steve Andrew, VP of marketing, North America IFS, www.ifsworld.com
Subscription-based pricing shouldn’t be your only option when choosing cloud-based software.
Legendary retailer Marshall Field attributed his success to the philosophy of “giving the lady what she wants.” Decades later, in the world of enterprise software, the importance of customer choice remains paramount.
And one important choice is whether you pay for your field service management software on a subscription basis or buy it outright. Just because your software is located on servers in the cloud does not mean you need to pay for it by subscription. Field service management software vendors ought to give you a choice: subscription or buying the license outright. There are pluses and minuses to each approach, but your vendor should not make the decision for you.
Subscription For Low Up-Front Outlay
Purchasing software as a subscription license allows a customer to pay for the software on an expense budget rather than the capital budget. This can be beneficial because the expense may be assigned to a given department’s operating budget and is well below the normal threshold for a capital budget spend.
Subscription pricing makes it cost-effective to start with a smaller number of users and scale up and then scale the number of users back down, which is important if your business is affected by seasonality or project-driven fluctuations in the number of technicians.
Some of our customers start with IFS Field Service Management in a single division or in a single office, as a proof of concept. But even in these cases, where you start small, you should always plan around a wider implementation so you are prepared to scale the solution across a broader number of users encompassing the entire service lifecycle.
Why A Perpetual License?
Some companies will still choose to purchase a perpetual license to the software, which means they have acquired the right to use the software into perpetuity. The perpetual license is usually purchased with a contract for ongoing maintenance and support, but most of the cost comes at initial purchase.
There are a few reasons a company may choose a perpetual license. The fact that the software is a central part of the business seems to be a factor for some of our customers. They want to own the software so they can more confidently build their vital processes around it. Does the software deliver processes that are critical to the core of your business? Would a discontinuation of the subscription be seriously disruptive to your ability to deliver service?
Commitment is a key concept when it comes to organizations opting for a perpetual license. The fact that the license purchase hits the capital budget is important from an organizational standpoint. It means that from the top of the org chart on down, there is buy-in for these new processes and this new tool to maximize the profitability of the service organization.
Different organizations want to buy software differently. So you should hang on to your right to choose. Because your decision to run field service management software in the cloud has nothing to do with how you pay for it.
Functionality Is Most Important
Regardless of how you pay for your field service software, what you are really buying is the functionality, and your software vendor should sell the way you want to buy. And that means that during your selection you can focus on what the software can do instead of how you pay. So ask hard questions not only about how your cloud field service software vendor will facilitate your choice of licensing model but whether they can help you meet and exceed your customers’ expectations.