Research Report: Field Service, Mobility and the Cloud (2015)

Cloud computing has been a key topic in field service circles for some time now.


In fact, it seems every time we read about a company implementing a new service management system it is mentioned that they opted for a Cloud-based solution. Indeed the benefits of the Cloud are well documented. Less reliance on IT, built-in disaster recovery, regular and free updates, lower overheads, and so on and so forth.

And the Cloud is no longer a particularly new technology. It’s not emerging anymore, it’s emerged. In fact, it is now almost twenty years ago that Salesforce, a company born in the Cloud when it was just not more than a wisp of cirrus in the stratosphere, first began evangelizing Cloud computing as the way of the future.


Fast forward to today and Salesforce is the leading player in the CRM sector and despite not having a direct presence within the field service sector, is arguably one of the key driving forces for the adoption of the Cloud in our industry. How often do we hear companies stating that ‘integration with Salesforce’ was a big factor for them when deciding to opt for whichever of the numerous modern service management suites are available?


Certainly, those service management software providers that were savvy enough to develop field service apps for the Salesforce App exchange such as ClickSoftware’s ‘ClickWorkforce’ and ‘Expert’ solutions have gained something of a competitive edge in recent years by doing so.


Yet despite these seemingly all-conquering headlines, the reality highlighted by various research appears to be very different at least for the adoption of the Cloud as a platform for field service management solutions.


Indeed our own 2014 research project showed that only 23% of companies were running their field service management software in the Cloud. So why this discrepancy? Is it a case that we in the trade media are overegging the pudding and putting too much hyperbole around the use of Cloud in field service?


Or is it a case that Cloud looks like a more attractive prospect from a distance, but when companies begin to explore their options when upgrading to a new solution, in reality staying on-premise is the easier and safer option? 


There is of course the argument that it will take time to see a full migration across to the Cloud. This is of course valid and many companies will eke out every last drop of functionality they can from their existing legacy systems rather than face the turmoil of moving a business-critical operational tool from one system to another. But if this is the case surely we should start seeing a growing momentum towards the Cloud year on year?


With this in mind, Field Service News in partnership with ClickSoftware has decided to revisit this area of research some 18 months on. When writing the report for last year’s research we concluded that the Cloud is set to become an established platform for field service technology, and even ultimately become the most commonplace method of distributing field service software.


Is it time we reassessed that statement or is the momentum of the Cloud slowly gathering pace?

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