Are you debating between cloud-based or standalone equipment maintenance software? As more software solutions move to the "cloud," more and more decision-makers are left in a quandary as to which option is better. As with many decisions, the best solution depends on your needs and how your organization works.
Standalone Equipment Maintenance Software
You're likely familiar with traditional client-server service work order software. In fact, you may even be replacing your existing software with the goal of modernising equipment maintenance operations.
In a traditional client-server system, equipment maintenance software is usually purchased outright (at a significant cost) and installed on a network server. Your team accesses the software from their office computers with client software that communicates with the server. In most cases, these computers and the server are attached to the same network. In some cases, a virtual private network may be created or a frame relay system used to accommodate remote users.
Though traditional and functional, client-server software does have a few disadvantages. For example, if you have remote maintenance technicians, you'll need to devise a way for them to use the software while working on remote jobsites. VPNs and frame relay are costly to implement, and they require IT involvement. Because you own the software, you are responsible for installing any updates from the software developer. Again, this requires IT involvement. In addition, your server and client computers must meet all software specifications in order to run the software.
The Advantages of Cloud-Based Software
Equipment maintenance software is now available "in the cloud." Choosing a cloud-based version of your service work order software may be advantageous. Rather than buying the software outright as you would with a client-server product, you sign up for recurring access to the equipment maintenance software – typically on a per user, per month basis. This means that you do not make a large capital investment. Rather, you incur small monthly operating expenses.
It also means that you pay for access based on how your team uses the software. For example, if your company has just five maintenance employees in need of access to the service work order software, you only need to pay for five users each month. On the other hand, if your company has 50 of them, you'll need to buy more capacity. Cloud-based software allows you to scale up or down as your needs change.
With a cloud-based equipment maintenance software solution, you do not need special hardware or elaborate private networks. Any Internet-connected computer with a Web browser can be used. In fact, depending on the software you select, your remote workers may even be able to access the software from their smartphones or tablets.
Cloud-based equipment maintenance software also reduces your reliance on IT. The developer handles all of the upgrades, patches, and updates. Meanwhile, your team gains access to the same, if not better, features found in client-server software. If you're looking for a robust equipment maintenance software solution that will grow with your maintenance operation, cloud-based software has an affordable advantage over traditional options.
Martin Beckett is a professional business writer and consultant for a number of years working with technology and software companies. He had experience working with cloud-based and equipment maintenance software from various companies and wants to share his experience.