It should be obvious to everyone by this point that cloud is not the future anymore; it’s the present. That’s fine in theory, but when it comes to systems that you’ve invested time and physical real estate in, it can be a messy divorce. There’s a few major deviation points when it comes to Field Service and the cloud, and it’s important to be aware of them. Let’s take a few minutes to break it down.

In Service, Not All Clouds are the Same

The benefits of moving from on-prem to cloud are, at this point, fairly obvious:

  • It offers dynamic consumption, allowing employees to access tools across desktop and mobile devices
  • If literally saves server space
  • It means you’re always running the latest software build
  • It allows greater flexibility for implementation
That’s just to name a few reasons, and with 5G on the horizon, the functionality, capabilities, and ease of use of cloud-based applications will continue to grow. That’s not to say all cloud applications are the same, though.

There are a few points of divergence when it comes to cloud. These divergence points typically fall into two categories: Architectural, or Functional. Let’s start with architectural.

Architectural differences in the cloud typically come down to host, security, or distribution, but one particular area of inflection is whether a cloud instance is single- or multi-tenant. The difference is subtle, but key for some businesses. Multi-tenant cloud software means that multiple organizations are running off the same instance of an application (It should be noted, however, that organizations are not able to see one another’s’ data or configurations). Single-tenant, as its name implies, is when an organization’s software instance is used exclusively for them. While organizations will need to weigh the pros and cons of both, some Service Management vendors force your hand one way or another by only offering one implementation option.

When it comes to the industry at-large, Garter’s recent Magic Quadrant report has shown that most cloud implementations now are single-tenant. As noted in the report, “Fifty-four percent of the respondents indicated that they utilize a dedicated instance hosted by their vendor (34%) or a third party (20%). The figure for multitenant was unchanged at 24%.”

The other piece—the functional, will differ from application to application, but let’s take mobility as an example. Organizations often struggle with downsizing their applications to a mobile form-factor. This means that certain functions, certain views, and certain processes may be unavailable on mobile, while they remain available on the desktop. While in the immediate this may seem like a way to preserve the aesthetic integrity of your platform, with the current trend towards a shrinking back-office, and the need to maximize efficiency, fully mobile field service applications are increasingly becoming an imperative.

These are just a few examples, but they help illustrate that nuanced differences in your cloud software, both architectural and functional, can have devastating effects on your business, so if you’ve already deployed in the cloud, now would be a great time to audit those systems to make sure they’re working right for you. If you are still on-prem, or haven’t invested in end-to-end service management, it’s more imperative now than ever to start seriously looking at a cloud solution.

Tom Paquin

Contributor, Future of Field Service