One year on from our investigation into the appetite for Cloud Computing as a platform for field service management systems, ClickSoftware and Field Service News return to the topic to see how trends have evolved within the last twelve months and to find out if our prediction of a gradual shift towards Cloud ultimately becoming the norm in field service is starting to come true...
In 2015 Field Service News partnered with leading Field Service Management (FSM) software provider ClickSoftware on a research project, which aimed to take a measure of the feelings toward Cloud computing as a platform for productivity tools amongst field service professionals.
Now one year on both parties have returned to the topic to see if the trends we identified and the developments we predicted have materialised and to build an up-to-date picture of both the adoption and appetite for Cloud computing as a platform for Field Service Management systems.
In this white paper, co-published by Field Service News and ClickSoftware, we shall review the data from our latest research, providing year-on-year comparative analysis to identify what new trends have emerged and how attitudes towards the Cloud have evolved amongst senior management within the field service industry.
Previously identified trends:
To begin let’s briefly recap the findings of last year’s research (which was the second time we had focused on the use of Cloud within a field service context as a subject for our research.)
Whilst the headline findings of that project identified that a large majority of field service companies (74%) were still using on-premise solutions, there was clear evidence that a shift to Cloud was on the horizon.
There were two key findings that supported this hypothesis.
Firstly, there was the overwhelming evidence that the Cloud was proving to be a success amongst those companies that had made the move away from traditional on-premise solutions. In fact, when we asked those respondents who had made such a move ‘would you recommend a Cloud based field service management solution over an on-premise solution?’ 100% of them replied that they would.
However, the findings were perhaps even more telling when we turned to those companies that were still using on-premise solutions.
Amongst this group of respondents, we found that over two-thirds of companies (69%) admitted they would consider moving to the Cloud when they next upgraded their FSM solution.
It was our prediction that we would potentially see a complete pendulum shift, with up to 75% of companies using Cloud based FSM solutions within the next five years.
Last year’s research also identified that concerns around the security of the Cloud were the biggest potential barrier to adoption. In fact, 38% of respondents that were not using a Cloud based FSM solution stated that they felt that security was the greatest issue with Cloud.
Yet that same research also highlighted that this is generally not the case - security issues were less prevalent than both connectivity and integration issues amongst companies actually using a Cloud based FSM tools.
It was our assertion last year that there was a need for greater education and understanding of the security of the Cloud, particularly at the enterprise level amongst executives within the field service sector - so that perception and reality could become more closely aligned. Once this was achieved we would likely see the shift to Cloud becoming the most widely used platform for FSM systems gaining greater momentum.
So how have the opinions of field service professionals changed across the last twelve months?
Has there been the continued trend in the number of companies making the move away from on-premise FSM software to Cloud based equivalents that we predicted we would see? Has the perception of Cloud security improved amongst Field Service Management professionals? And has the appetite for Cloud based FSM systems gained any greater momentum?
Executive Summary: Key findings:
- Over a third of companies are now using Cloud based Field Service Management (FSM) systems
- The rate of adoption of Cloud based FSM systems has increased dramatically year-on-year with almost three times as many companies moving to the Cloud in 2015/2016 than did in 2014/2015
- The move to the Cloud appears to be directly aligned to the move away from legacy systems with over two thirds of companies that are still using on-premise FSM solutions working with FSM systems that are at least three years old
- Similarly, of those using Cloud based FSM solutions, a third have made the move within the last six months - which would suggest that not only is the rate of adoption of Cloud based FSM solutions increasing, but it is doing so at a quicker pace than in previous years
- This is further supported by the fact that over two thirds of companies that are currently using Cloud based FSM solutions would consider the Cloud for the next iteration of their FSM system
- The most common key driver for companies adopting Cloud based FSM solutions is that the Cloud offers greater flexibility. However, once implemented, increased functionality is the number one benefit felt by companies using Cloud based FSM systems
- Amongst those who have implemented Cloud based FSM systems, the move has been overwhelmingly positive with 100% of these companies stating they would recommend a Cloud based FSM system over an on-premise equivalent
- Finally, fears around the security of the Cloud, which was seen to be the biggest barrier to adoption in previous research are abating. Just 6% stated that they felt they wouldn’t trust placing sensitive data in the Cloud whilst over half of respondents felt that the Cloud was the future of enterprise computing.
Read the next part of this research report where we will look drill deeper into the findings of this year's research...