Welcome to this fourth and final instalment in our series that has explored a research project run in partnership with ClickSoftware that was focussed on the usage and appetite for Cloud based computing as a platform for field service management systems.
In this final section we take a look at opinions towards Cloud and Mobility and draw some conclusion to the research on the whole…
Missed the other features in this series? Find Part One here and Part Two here and Part Three
MOBILITY AND THE CLOUD
Of course when it comes to field service whilst the Cloud is in many ways an enabler, another modern technology development has had an even bigger impact – namely the emergence of modern mobile computing systems be it laptop, tablet or smartphone.
So how important is it for mobile apps for field service to be on the Cloud?
We asked our respondents “Do you think it is important that the mobility applications used by your field engineers are Cloud based?”
Again the move towards the Cloud was apparent with 56% stating that it is preferred for their mobile apps to be Cloud based, with 40% stating that it doesn’t really matter and just 4% stating that they don’t want their mobile apps on the Cloud.
When we consider that 43% of companies were now on at least their second iteration of a field service app and that 47% of companies state that they will update their mobile apps at least once every three years (14% state they will update every 18 months) this would seem to add further incentive for field service companies to eventually move at least part of their field service solution to the Cloud.
With this in mind it could certainly be argued that there is further incentive for the continuing shift from on premise to the Cloud, as in this age of Big Data where integration is key, it is important to have a smooth flow of data from office to the field and back – which would be easier to achieve if both sides of the solution are feeding into one database simultaneously.
It seems that the Cloud is definitely gaining momentum.
Nearly two thirds (63%) of field service organisations are more open to the idea of the cloud today than in 2014. Add this to the almost one quarter (24%) who always thought the Cloud was a good thing, and we can see that nearly 90% of organisations feel open or positive about Cloud-based Field Service Management solutions. In addition, over half (56%) cite Cloud as their preferred option.
As suggested earlier it is perhaps expected for the largest companies to be, as a group, slower in moving from one system to another due to the larger size of such a project.
“43% of companies were now on at least their second iteration of a field service app and that 47% of companies state that they will update their mobile apps at least once every three years”
However it is amongst the smaller companies that there is perhaps the biggest surprise of this research.
It is here we see greater reluctance for the Cloud which appears to sit in direct contrast to the fact that for many smaller companies the Cloud could offer a much more manageable cost via a SaaS model alongside other benefits such as less reliance on IT, and built in disaster recovery – again something that would presumably be appealing to smaller companies.
Yet despite the fact that smaller companies are not taking to the Cloud as much as would have perhaps have been expected, the research also reveals that whilst the biggest concern around moving to the Cloud remains security (closely followed by connectivity issues) other concerns such as integration with legacy systems and a lack of Cloud offerings do seem to be lessening.
And with the admission by 63% of respondents that they have become more open to the idea of the Cloud being used in business, plus the increase in both mid-size and enterprise sized companies that are now using a Cloud based field service management solution, there remain strong indications that the Cloud will continue to grow in stature as a platform for field service management solutions in the next few years as more companies move from their existing legacy systems to newer solutions.
Whilst the headline statistics of Cloud vs. On-Premise may be taking time to reflect the trend, the Cloud is definitely gaining momentum and this is sure to continue as more and more as more and more companies upgrade their field service management systems.