This is a guest post from Andrew Crowe at simPRO.
When people think of industries revolutionised by cloud computing, they might consider banking and finance, telecommunications, or online entertainment. But what about the trade and service industries?
While hands-on trades may seem a world away from office workers, the truth is that cloud computing – where software and data is stored in the internet ‘cloud’ instead of in a physical computer – is having a much bigger impact on the worldwide, multibillion-dollar field services sector than many people realise.
Why the Cloud?
The cloud has become popular for many reasons, though centralised data accessible from anywhere with an internet connection is possibly the most popular advantage. A close second is the reduced cost; cloud-based solutions save money. They require little capital outlay for equipment and take no space on the company’s property, yet they offer access to massive data storage and computing power.
Similar to a power or water company, cloud services are priced by usage. The pay-as-you-go model turns computing from a risky, front-loaded capital expense to an ongoing operating expense, which greatly simplifies budgeting and ties it to revenues.
It spares companies the expense and disruption of the need to update installed software company-wide and the cost of maintaining secure servers in a corporate data room. In most cases, cloud-based software updates itself automatically at little or no charge to users.
The Cloud and the Field Service Industry
Around the world, field service contractors such as plumbers, electricians, maintenance technicians and even security guards are using cloud-based software to become more efficient and boost their business’s profitability.
Typically, a cloud-based job management solution helps a field service contractor by automating many aspects of their business workflow, such as scheduling, quoting, invoicing and more. Ensuring the right field technicians can be at a site on time, with the right materials, and with the ability to issue an invoice and take payment as soon as a job is complete, can dramatically boost customer satisfaction, as well as a business’s cash flow.
More complex projects can be handled confidently with job management software through automated scheduling and invoicing, as well as extensive estimating and project management features. The ideal cloud-based job management solution also offers the ability to integrate with