From The Editor | October 26, 2015

Is The Cloud Taking Over Field Service?

By Sarah Nicastro, publisher/editor in chief, Field Technologies
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The Service Council recently released a report that indicated 84 percent of service executives have little or no reservations about using a cloud-based offering to run their field service operations. A metric like this illustrates a huge shift that’s occurred over the past handful of years. When I started with Field Technologies in 2008, companies I interviewed talked about the cloud, but there were a lot of reservations including security, lack of control, inability to customize, and so on.

Fast forward seven years and the majority of the companies I interview are deploying cloud-based solutions, as The Service Council’s metric represents. Sure, there are exceptions to the rule — some (typically large) organizations prefer to maintain more control with an on-premise solution. In some instances this makes sense, but for many, cloud-based field service solutions are becoming a far more practical choice. This is especially true for small businesses that don’t typically have the labor or financial resources that it takes to deploy an on-premise solution. Cloud solutions have enabled small businesses to reap the same benefits from field service solutions as large companies have been doing for years. There are now solutions that fit companies of all shapes and sizes.

Why Cloud Adoption Is Growing
Why are cloud-based field service solutions experiencing such growth? They provide a couple of big benefits that make them appealing: First, they don’t require a large capital expenditure. Most cloud-based solutions are paid for on a monthly basis, often per user. Organizations often set this payment up as an operational expenditure, which is easier for many organizations to handle than a large upfront cost. Second, cloud-based solutions can typically be deployed faster than on-premise solutions can. Length of deployment varies based on the level of customization and integration you require, but many cloud solutions can be up in running and as little as 30 days. Finally, cloud-based solutions require far less IT management than on-premise solutions do. This can be especially appealing to small and midsize businesses that don’t have the bench of IT resources larger organizations do — but even large organizations find value in being able to leverage those IT resources for things other than the management of a field service software solution.

Beyond the benefits, I think that we’re seeing increased use of cloud-based solutions because many of the concerns that existed a few years ago have been eased or even eliminated. Companies now see that it’s possible to maintain control over a cloud-based solution, at least to the degree that they need to. And many of the security concerns of the cloud have been reduced as usage grows and companies see how secure a cloud solution can be.

There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to software, and I’m not saying that a cloud-based field service solution is for everyone. But the technology certainly provides options for organizations that don’t have the time, resources, or capital to manage an on-premise deployment, and even for larger organizations that would prefer to allocate their resources in other ways.