Mobile Workforce and The Cloud: Five Reasons For Adoption
Guest author: Kerry Doyle
Increasingly, field service workers are using Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) to access cloud-based services independently. Often, they’re relying on tools, such as mobile apps, IM and video, to name a few, that help them perform tasks. And field service companies are seeing the benefits and recognizing the advantages of cloud services.
In the past, issues related to security and data control have caused companies to hesitate in terms of cloud adoption. However, providers are strengthening security through more aggressive protocols, effective Defense-In-Depth strategies and robust Service Level Agreements (SLAs).
In 2014 and beyond, measuring a company’s success will be based on how effectively it uses technology to meet customer expectations as well as harness individual innovation. Without these technological capabilities in place, field service organizations risk losing their competitive edge.
According to recent GigaOm research, the total worldwide addressable market for cloud computing will reach $158.8B by 2014, an increase of 126.5 percent from 2011. Such figures show that organizations from sectors as diverse as energy, heavy industry and healthcare are using cloud computing to meet productivity goals.
As you assess the benefits of cloud services, consider these five reasons for adoption:
Agility & scalability
Cloud features, such as scalability and on-demand resource allocation, are fundamental to why so many small field service companies and large enterprises are incorporating the cloud into their operations. Cloud services represent a fundamentally different architecture compared with that of a client’s on-premise data center. For example, cloud hosting environments are normally made up of hundreds if not thousands of servers that enable instant scalability. This allows clients to meet peak computing demands and pay for computing access on a pro-rated basis. Such capabilities can offer on-demand resources and agility to field service organizations that deal with fluctuations in usage. One example is electric utilities who often enlist high numbers of contract technicians for repair work after major storm outages. They’re able use cloud computing to seamlessly handle a dramatic increase in the number of mobile-equipped users.
User demand for access to cloud-based solutions and apps via mobile devices is constantly on the increase. As mentioned previously, BYOD is one factor. When it comes to field service, the cloud can make a wide range of remote services possible. In fact, the cloud is an ideal enabler. The ability to provision and deploy a wide range of mobile apps and solutions as needed would be difficult for almost any field service organization. A large portion of smaller companies in addition to enterprises adopt the cloud model because it allows them to focus more on the business and leave the IT infrastructure to specialists.
It seems inevitable that the increasing prevalence of a mobile workforce—laptop, smartphone, and tablet users—has led to innovations in the field service industry. These new capabilities reach across a number of verticals common to most field service organizations. A partial list would include the following:
- Remote asset management
- GPS capabilities
- Machine-to-Machine communication
- Social Media/mobile collaborations
- Enterprise 2.0
The fact is that cloud-enabled versatility is a key component to the success of many field service organizations. Having these capabilities in place ensures that a company can maintain high efficiency supporting its workforce and meeting customer demand.
Improved Security & High Availability (HA)
Currently, cloud providers offer security levels that frequently exceed what customers deploy in their own data centers. They can provide the highest levels of security to meet operational challenges and avoid common problems that lead to service interruptions. With cloud-enabled backup and HA measures in place, companies can ensure steady-state operations for both their workforce and for customers. In addition, many cloud providers deliver a policy-driven approach to provisioning or providing additional services and solutions. This method embeds software-defined security and resource consumption controls that mirror their clients’ existing IT standards and policies.
Robust Service Level Agreements (SLAs)
Requisite SLAs provide efficiency and accountability at every layer within a cloud environment. They ensure that a service provider will meet pre-defined computing levels and offer application availability on a consistent basis. SLAs also function as key enablers for both external providers and internal IT groups. They make sure that expectations are clearly spelled out. Because business needs are constantly evolving, SLAs need to be continuously managed and evaluated to maintain a consistent quality of service.
Learn More, Download: Avoiding a Storm in Your Cloud Installation