For the past few years, the term “cloud computing” has become more and more mainstream. When referring to technology and the cloud, the acronym SaaS (Software as a Service) is usually uttered in the same breath. While more people are becoming familiar with the cloud and SaaS offerings, many organizations still struggle with understanding how SaaS fits into their landscape and how they would benefit from “moving to the cloud.” Let’s look at what it means to move to the cloud and think about some of the points to consider when tasked with making that decision.
Are We Really Moving?
No, moving to the cloud will not mean you need to pack your winter jacket and sunglasses, nor does it mean you’ll be living and working in Cloud City with Lando Calrissian. (Full disclaimer here, I am a big Star Wars fan!) In simple terms, moving to the cloud simply refers to using computers, servers, and applications that run on virtual machines residing on the Internet – or in the cloud – rather than on physical machines located in a dark corner of your office building. Does the way you interact with these virtual machines change? Does it change the way your end users receive data, reports and applications? No, not really. For most organizations – and, more specifically, the users within organizations – the ways in which they interact with applications and data does not change at all. In fact, many users are not even aware that their IT departments have migrated to the cloud.
“As organizations enter digital transformations, the Cloud plays a leading role in most of those strategies.”
2017 Field Service Benchmark Report
Moving to the cloud is not a scary and ethereal undertaking, but we need to understand what benefits, if any, are associated with migrating to the cloud. While some experts still feel that the benefits do not offset the drawbacks when converting organizations to a cloud environment, most people agree that the benefits and positive aspects of moving to the cloud far outweigh the obstacles and negatives. Let’s take a look at some of the biggest benefits of using, or working in, a SaaS environment.
With traditional physical servers located in server rooms (known as on-premise systems), the costs are high for organizations to purchase the infrastructure needed to run these servers. The costs are not just for the servers, but also for everything else associated with making those servers run and ensuring data is processed properly: cables, electricity, backup drives, cooling systems, rack mounts, and more. The cost of all of that equipment adds up. And let’s not forget about the manpower required to maintain the servers. (This is where the need for an IT department and server engineers originated.) Conversely, with cloud environments, a large third-party company – such as Microsoft, IBM, Oracle, Amazon, etc. – buys all the hardware and maintains it. They buy in bulk, spread the cost of using the equipment among multiple customers, and pass the savings to end-user organizations that have migrated to the cloud.
Historically, when an organization set up a new computer environment, it was a long, drawn-out process. It took considerable time to find the right equipment; then the equipment needed to be ordered and installed; and, finally, the equipment needed to be configured and optimized to suit that organization’s individual needs. Cloud environments – and environments set up as SaaS offerings – can be established and configured in a matter of days. Think of it as similar to ordering off a fast-food menu: once you make your selection and hit submit, your order will be ready in a matter of minutes! (Well, setting up your SaaS environment may take longer than mere minutes, but the time and resources saved as compared to on-premise systems are similar to the difference between ordering off a fast-food menu and going to the grocery store for ingredients, cooking the food at home, and cleaning up afterward.
Just a few short years ago, as organizations grew, they would need to go to their IT departments and say, “We have more users, so we need more servers.” This inevitably resulted in another drawn-out back-and-forth process: How many servers do we need? Do we buy just enough for today? Will we outgrow the servers in six months? Do we buy enough to cover our needs for the next five years? Or maybe somewhere in between? In a cloud environment, with a few clicks of a mouse, organizations are able to allocate more virtual servers, more memory and more CPU power – or any combination thereof that they feel is necessary to meet their current needs. With such an easy process, scaling up can be done as needed, and scaling down is just as easy.
Many Field Service Organizations Thrive in the Cloud
While some organizations like to maintain on-premise solutions to keep tight control over all aspects of their IT departments, other organizations recognize the many benefits of moving to the cloud and using SaaS applications. Specifically, we’ve seen many Field service organizations with cloud-based solutions realize considerable advantages when moving to the cloud. Research supports our internal experiences and observations: The 2017 Field Service Benchmark Report revealed that 72% of executives surveyed have either already embraced cloud-based solutions or they are interested in implementing them in the near future. Among the many positive aspects of SaaS solutions are these:
- SaaS applications tend to be lightweight and designed to run on today’s mobile phones and tablets.
- Technicians can use their own mobile phones, they can install specific apps from the app store, and users are up and running in days. The term BYOD (bring your own device) is a whole different topic we can tackle in a future blog, but it’s important to mention it here because it fits very nicely into the current technology used by field organizations.
- BYOD and SaaS let you cut the time involved in launching a new solution to days instead of months (or even years, in the experience of some on-premise systems), when you work with a reputable, reliable SaaS vendor to configure and maintain your cloud-based solution.
- Remember the cost savings and scalability benefits. It doesn’t matter if you are a large organization or a small mom-and-pop shop. A SaaS vendor can scale and maintain your environment for you quickly and efficiently at a fraction of the cost of on-premise solutions.
Here at Gomocha, we’re big fans of cloud environments, but we also understand that one size does not fit all. That’s why we offer SaaS as well as on-premise solutions. So, whether you’re ready to make the switch to the cloud or are still content with your existing IT infrastructure, we’ve got you covered! Contact us today to see how we can help get your field service crew up and running quickly with our ‘zero-coding’ approach.