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Field service and maintenance software from the cloud

Software from the cloud – also known as SaaS (Software as a Service) – has now established itself for many different applications in companies. Cloud software is also becoming increasingly popular in the field of deployment planning and mobile order processing for technical service and maintenance of plant and machinery. Read our guide to find out which advantages and features field service and maintenance software from the cloud offers and which companies and users benefit most from it.

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What is field service and maintenance software from the cloud?

A field service management or maintenance software from the cloud is a web-based application for resource planning and mobile order processing for technical service or maintenance.

A company does not purchase software in the conventional sense, which it then has to install on its server and integrate into its systems; instead, it obtains the application from the Internet. The provider takes care of operation and maintenance, and the customer pays a monthly fee that covers the rental of the software, support, maintenance and updates.

When users are online, they can use the field service and maintenance software from the cloud anytime, anywhere. Even the type of end device or operating system no longer plays a role.

What are the delivery models for field service and maintenance software from the cloud?

The three most common SaaS models include the private cloud, the public cloud and the hybrid cloud.

In a private cloud model, the provider hosts its customer’s data and software exclusively in a dedicated infrastructure, so to speak. This offers a high degree of individualization and very high data security. However, due to the effort required for the dedicated provision and management of resources, this model is also more cost-intensive than a public cloud model. In this multi-tenancy approach, all users share the same infrastructure and software. Updates are always available to all customers at the same time. The individualization options and thus the effort on the provider side are considerably reduced here, which is reflected in significantly lower costs.

A hybrid cloud is a combination of a public and a private cloud. The core processes usually run in a private cloud, while other processes run on flexibly scalable public clouds. A hybrid model is often used to compensate for the increased resource requirements of a private cloud. At first glance, the hybrid cloud appears to be an ideal combination, but it brings with it a large number of disadvantages, such as compatibility problems, greater complexity and therefore also more susceptibility to errors, and higher costs.


What kind of functionality does field service and maintenance software from the cloud offer?

Field service and maintenance software from the cloud basically offers the same or similar functionality as on-premise field service and maintenance software.

Dispatchers log in via the browser from any location and with any end device and can then start planning the deployment of orders for the service technicians and maintenance staff. Commissioning, damage repair and planned maintenance can thus be easily and quickly scheduled digitally – even via subcontractors.

The technicians receive the new orders on their mobile device – smartphone or tablet. In it, they find all the information about the job, the location of the plant and the customer. They can create the documentation of their work directly on site on the mobile device, including service report and signature from the customer. The feedback is then automatically transferred to the backend for further processing.

In addition to the standard functionality of field service and maintenance software from the cloud, which is the same for all users, there is still the option for companies to make individual adjustments to their specific requirements. This includes, for example, individualizations in the interface when displaying data or the creation of new use cases and processes.

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Who uses field service and maintenance software from the cloud?

A field service and maintenance software from the cloud should be a complete solution for the digital processing of field service and maintenance orders and map these from the creation or creation of the order to the assignment of the technicians, order processing and documentation on site to archiving in the backend system or further processing by the office staff. Accordingly, such a public cloud solution connects all parties involved, from the dispatcher to the technicians and maintenance staff. External forces such as subcontractors can also be easily integrated beyond the boundaries of the company.

Service and maintenance managers can also draw evaluations and dashboards from the solution and use these as the basis for their capacity planning.

Field service management software from the cloud can also include a customer or self-service portal as an extension. This allows the company’s customers to access information and instructions for repairs around the clock or to make a service appointment.

For which companies is field service and maintenance software from the cloud suitable?

On the one hand, field service and maintenance software from the cloud is suitable for companies that want to digitize their paper-based deployment planning and order processing in technical service and maintenance. Companies that already use on-premise software can also switch to a cloud application to benefit from advantages such as greater efficiency and convenience.

It does not matter how large the company is. It makes sense to use field service and maintenance software from the cloud for as few as ten users. There are no upper limits here and companies can register more users at any time.

Typical industries that benefit from the use of field service and maintenance software from the cloud are mechanical and plant engineering, facility management and industrial services, telecommunications and energy suppliers, as well as medical technology and healthcare.

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What are the benefits of field service and maintenance software from the cloud?

Field service and maintenance software from the cloud offers numerous advantages compared to on-premise software – whether for newcomers or switchers:

  • Operation and support from a professional source: Particularly small and medium-sized companies whose value creation lies in production or services, cloud computing offers the opportunity to professionalize the operation of their IT. Thanks to the optimum technical equipment and broadband network connection of a cloud provider’s data center, they benefit from higher performance and availability of their service applications.
  • Manageable costs: With a cloud solution, there is no need to invest in the purchase of licenses, server infrastructure, updates, operation and maintenance. The monthly subscription fees are transparent and calculable. This saves companies additional and unexpected costs.
  • Flexible use and scalability: Field service or maintenance software from the cloud adapts to the requirements and changes of companies. This allows them to adjust the number of users up or down on a monthly basis to suit their individual needs.
  • Rapid deployment: instead of spending months on specification, integration with third-party systems, and staff training as with traditional on-premise software projects, users can get started right after they sign up. A data import and export feature eliminates the need for a time-consuming integration project with back-end systems.
  • Ease of use: Most cloud applications for field service and maintenance offer an intuitive interface, so users can get started without any training.
  • Connection of external forces: A cloud solution makes it much easier to connect external forces, such as technical service subcontractors, than to an on-premise solution. The cloud provides a unified yet shareable infrastructure, so cross-enterprise data exchange can be implemented faster and more efficiently.
  • High availability: Cloud applications for field service and maintenance offer users 24/7 availability. Typical availability is 99.9 percent weekly. This is more than IT departments in small and medium-sized enterprises can provide, as their employees are not on duty around the clock.
  • Individual adaptability: In addition to standard software, providers of field service and maintenance software from the cloud also offer tools and plug-ins with which companies can quickly and easily adapt the interface, use cases and processes to their individual requirements. In this way, extensions and individualizations can be created centrally and distributed to the technicians.
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What about the security of data in the cloud?

The security of data in the cloud is one of the main reasons why many European companies have long hesitated to use cloud applications. In the meantime, this skepticism has given way to knowledge of the high security standards and possibilities for securing cloud applications:

  • Data storage location: SaaS providers with a European data center are subject to the strict guidelines of the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) and should be certified according to ISO 27001. The location of the data is precisely defined in the contract with a cloud service provider. This prevents data from being moved abroad without the users’ knowledge.
  • Encryption and authentication: When using mobile apps for order processing, customer data is particularly frequently moved outside a secure company network. For this reason, secure transport encryption such as HTTPS/TLS is particularly important here. For secure access to data on the server, users must first authenticate themselves. This provides proof of their identity and authorization to access the cloud solution. Two- or multi-factor authentication – i.e., a combination of two or more factors for logging in – further increases security here.
  • Network security: In contrast to private cloud approaches, public cloud platforms are usually operated as multi-tenancy, which of course has resource and cost reasons. That is, multiple customers share the same infrastructure, but this creates new challenges in terms of security.
    A zero trust approach here treats the internal infrastructure with the same caution as the external one. That is why services on the same network within the cloud platform are constantly checked and authenticated, e.g., via mTLS. In this way, providers can guarantee customers the greatest possible security in the public cloud.
  • Physical security measures: In addition to the technological measures to protect data from unauthorized access, cloud providers must of course also ensure that no unauthorized persons gain access to their on-site data center and cause damage. Strict access controls, video surveillance, UPS systems should be a matter of course here, as should continuous and redundant data backup at two locations.

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