Let's talk
By clicking the button you agree with our Privacy Policy
Thank you!
We will get back to you shortly
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Fieldmnan work management platform for asset maintenance and emergency jobs
Contact us
By clicking the button you agree with our Privacy Policy
Thank you!
We will get back to you shortly
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Fieldmnan work management platform for asset maintenance and emergency jobs
Join us for the webinar
on Thu, Feb 15, 12:30 PM ET:‚Ä®
‚ÄúRevolutionizing Utility Field Service Management with New Technology‚ÄĚ
Register
Join us for the webinar
on Thu, Feb 15, 12:30 PM ET:‚Ä®
‚ÄúRevolutionizing Utility Field Service Management with New Technology‚ÄĚ
Register
Join us for the webinar
on Thu, Feb 15, 12:30 PM ET:‚Ä®
‚ÄúRevolutionizing Utility Field Service Management with New Technology‚ÄĚ
Register
19 Jul 2023
11 min
Other

Best Free and Licensed Project & Service Management Software

Deploying AMI project on the budget

Project & Service Management Software is an incredible tool that helps teams accomplish work in a specified order, do it efficiently, and collect project data in the process. Spreadsheets and sticky notes can help to organize your work; however, spreadsheets are only practical for smaller projects with a few assigned workers and minimal data collection.

As projects become more complex and require service management, more advanced tools are needed, like special software that prevents crew downtime, repeat visits, and data loss. Today, technologies can do even more: they can support vendors and companies in transforming their businesses and drive organizations toward innovation and digitization.

Shoulda company go with generic software designed for all industries or look for a solution tailored toward utility projects? Is it possible to find a free project or service software that helps municipalities and utility vendors minimize spending and, at the same time, increases team efficiency by the desired 20-30%?

Let's take a closer look at the three types of project management software available on the market.

Free project & field service management software

Free (or almost free) generic project management platforms 

There are around two dozen generic project & service management apps and platforms. For teams who have never used project management software before or have limited resources, the best way to get started is to try one of these. These types of online collaborative apps are designed for all kinds of projects, from bathroom remodeling to creating marketing campaigns.

Everyone working on a specific project can log in and see what they're supposed to do and when. These employees can also record their progress on their allocated tasks and add relevant information. With the appropriate permission level, people can also see what everyone else is doing, what requirements must be met for them to get tasks done, and when they need to be completed.

The very best project management apps detect problems before they happen. By tracking the progress of work and individual tasks, project management apps can display a notification when a deadline is in danger of slipping before it actually happens.

The most powerful project management apps can automatically reflow the project schedule when tasks fall off course. They can also generate reports that give managers insights into which workers have too much or too little work assigned to them. 

The most powerful project management apps can automatically reflow the project schedule when tasks fall off course. They canal so generate reports that give managers insights into which workers have too much or too little work assigned to them.

We believe these apps can be helpful for planning modestly sized electric or water meter deployment projects. In such cases, a municipality has to locate, select, and purchase new meters, involve a vendor for replacement, and notify residents about the project.

Most of these free products offer introductory trials or have a basic version that does not require monthly payments. Some apps are free for a few users and offer paid subscriptions for larger teams. 

Experts review these apps on a yearly basis. The most respected IT media outlets that publish such reviews are PC Magazine and Cloudwards. In a recent chart of the best project management apps by Cloudwards, the top performers are Monday.com andAsana.

  1. Monday.com - the most popular and awarded project management solution, but the free plan doesn't have a lot of features.
  2. ClickUp - Robust task management and communication features.
  3. Asana - one of the best platforms on the market, with a great free plan for beginners.
  4. Zoho Projects - feature-packed, affordable and suitable for many projects.
  5. Trello - the best kanban platform, but with scalability issues.
  6. Wrike - one of the oldest platforms with excellent reporting features.
  7. Notion - ideal for project managers and teams in creative industries
  8. Task - inexpensive and durable project management software.
  9. Airtable -  a powerful spreadsheet-inspired tool for marketers and more.
  10. Leantime - an open-source tool that mixes Lean and Agile methodologies.

All these apps are great as introductions to project management software. For utility field service projects, field workers are often required to collect large volumes of specific data, such as old meter serial numbers and new meter numbers. The best field management software should have an exact workflow tailored for this type of job with the ability to accumulate all meter data.

License-based software for utility projects

The second category of project and service management software is created specifically for mobile workforce management for utility field service projects and gives companies visibility into all operations across the back office, dispatch centers, and workers in the field. Most utility vendors have been relying on this kind of service software for years. 

Free project & field service management software

The oldest and best-known software in this field is Clevest. Established in 2002 byCanadian entrepreneur Thomas Ligocki, it was acquired by Swedish corporation IFS in 2020. IFS is known for developing and delivering software for customers from manufacturers to distributors, has a team of 4,000 employees, and serves more than 10,000 customers. According to a press release, IFS's intent was to enter the utility field service market by adding Clevest to its portfolio. 

AsThomas Ligocki said in an official statement, "We will undoubtedly be able to offer the best [...] solutions on the market. It also brings new opportunities and clear benefits to Clevest partners and customers as they seek new ways to scale globally.‚ÄĚ

IFS - Clevest is a recognized software that has been around for twenty years. When it was first released, it offered a unique IT solution and a customizable field workflow. The software can take a photo of an old meter, collect meter readings, replace the old meter with a new one, and, finally, collect the meter ID. We believe that Clevest has made a huge impact on the industry, shaping the way vendors approach meter exchange projects and establishing high standards for vendors' IT teams.

EnsightPlus is another license-based field project management software for utilities. It started as an IT division at Utility Partners of America, a utility vendor based inSouth Carolina, where the IT team created in-house software for field projects.In 2016, this software became available to everyone else in the utility industry. EnsightPlus is an ambitious company with a passion for helping utility vendors with their digital transformations. It follows the Clevest-IFS path by offering a customizable workflow and tracking each step of the meter exchange process.

Both Clevest-IFS and EnsightPlus offer a well-known, license-based pricing model.After signing a contract, clients pay a yearly fee for the software and are usually required to purchase a license per user. For example, if a project requires ten field workers, a vendor would have to purchase a license for each of them. Both software solutions have basic, ready-to-use field workflows, and if a client wants to make changes, they can be applied by a company IT team a tan additional cost.

Free project & field service management software

Cloud-based platforms for utility projects

Around 2010, the IT industry underwent a fundamental change when leaders like Amazon, IBM, and Google created public cloud services.Today, we all use cloud services to store photos, emails, and stream videos on demand. This shift also affected project and service management software for utility projects.

It all started in 2006 when Amazon launched AmazonWeb Services, and Google introduced Google Docs services. In 2007, Netflix introduced its cloud-based streaming video service. Later, a few universities, including The University of Washington, MIT, Stanford, and Carnegie Mellon, signed up to use resources provided by IBM and Google and discovered that computer experiments could be done faster and for less money.

New technology has allowed customers to pay significantly less for IT services. 

Mass migration to the cloud had begun. By 2020, most leading IT players didn't have an option but to recreate software offerings for the cloud. Typically, this is a very time-consuming and massively expensive project. Imagine you have to settle into a new house and leave all your belongings behind. Most significantly, you are supposed to build a new house, but you can’t use a ready-to-build plan; rather, you have to create a custom-made design by hiring an architect.

This is very similar to software migration to the cloud - companies have to code new platforms from scratch. Due to the cost, migration has been very challenging for medium and small IT software providers.

Deloitte predicted that revenue growth from cloud services will remain at or above 2019 levels (i.e., greater than 30%) from 2021 through 2025 as companies move to the cloud to save money, become more agile, and drive innovation.

Fieldman field service management platform was created in 2020, and our mass meter deployment software has been cloud-based since the beginning. We didn't have to rewrite code, build a new house, and relocate all existing projects. Fieldman is like Netflix, which didn’t exist in the pre-cloud era.

Why should the location of field service software matter for a municipality or utility vendor?

  1. Cloud costs are considerably lower compared to traditional field service software.
  2. The field service software is scalable, meaning that adding new field workers to a project takes an hour rather than the days required by traditional field service software.
  3. There are no additional hidden expenses and no payments for data centers or     servers, etc.

The most significant features that cloud platforms are capable of are speed and adaptivity. It is like changing your house style but only taking a few hours instead of weeks of remodeling.

With cloud architecture, changes in a project workflow can bed one in seconds!

Undoubtedly, project & service management software has changed how businesses and crews achieve their goals, and with the shift from old styles of planning to digitization, new IT solutions are becoming necessary for all companies, including small municipalities, utility vendors, and meter manufacturers.

It doesn't matter which type of software your company chooses; it will be taken to a new level of performance, and team members will appreciate what the right IT tools are capable of.