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Join us for the webinar
on Thu, Feb 15, 12:30 PM ET:‚Ä®
‚ÄúRevolutionizing Utility Field Service Management with New Technology‚ÄĚ
Register
Join us for the webinar
on Thu, Feb 15, 12:30 PM ET:‚Ä®
‚ÄúRevolutionizing Utility Field Service Management with New Technology‚ÄĚ
Register
Join us for the webinar
on Thu, Feb 15, 12:30 PM ET:‚Ä®
‚ÄúRevolutionizing Utility Field Service Management with New Technology‚ÄĚ
Register
5 Jul 2023
5 min
Technology

5 Reasons Why SaaS Platforms are the Best for Utility Field Service Projects

Deploying AMI project on the budget

In today's fast-paced digital world, deciding between SaaS service software and old-school legacy software providers is very important. The difference between them is huge, and whichever path a utility vendor or municipality chooses can have a lasting impact on their operations for years to come.

At Fieldman, we are confident that the software as a service (SaaS) model is the best, but our clients often wonder why we are so sure? Isn't it easier to stick with field management software that was pioneered many years ago, proven and still has been used for field service projects by 60 % of utility vendors? Why invest time and resources into switching from legacy field management systems to SaaS field service platforms?

What is SaaS Field Management Software?‚Äć

"Organizations today view cloud as a highly strategic platform for digital transformation, which is requiring cloud providers to offer more sophisticated capabilities as the competition for digital services heats up", Gartner states in a report. 

A SaaS platform is the most advanced and ready-to-use solution for any type of operation, including field management projects. Most of the popular IT services people use for business or personal lives are SaaS services. For example, well-known Salesforce and HubSpot enterprises are SaaS applications. Dropbox and Google Apps, including email and maps, Netflix, Spotify, Slack are other SaaS configuration leaders. 

There are a few reasons why many popular IT services were able to become new leaders in their markets, leaving traditional IT software behind. 

A SaaS platform is the most advanced and ready-to-use solution for any type of operation, including field management projects. Most of the popular IT services people use for business or personal lives are SaaS services. For example, well-known Salesforce and HubSpot enterprises are SaaS applications. Dropbox and Google Apps, including email and maps, Netflix, Spotify, Slack are other SaaS configuration leaders.¬†‚Äć

1) Service software lower costs‚Äć

The core advantage of Fieldman or any 'as a service' solution is lower cost: a client or user can access the IT features it needs for a project at a predictable cost, without purchasing and maintaining everything in its own data center. Maintenance costs are also reduced since Fieldman or other SaaS providers own the environment and share it among all customers who use the platform.

Compare this with traditional IT: to start a project, a company would need to spend on hardware and software licenses, invest in a data center, and, last but not least, have its own IT department. With 'software as a service', a company doesn't need to hire a single IT specialist.

‚Äć2) SaaS provider handles everything¬†‚Äć

The crucial benefit of SaaS is that it offloads all infrastructure management and application development to the IT platform provider. All the utility vendor has to do is create an account, pay the fee, and start using the application (just like Netflix!). SaaS providers take care of everything else, from maintaining the cloud infrastructure and software to managing user access and security, storing and managing data, implementing upgrades and patches, and more. Now, even small utility vendors who used to rely on spreadsheets due to resource constraints can operate efficiently by using Fieldman SaaS software for field management projects.
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Compare this with traditional IT: a company has to allocate resources to installation, maintenance, and upgrades of field service software.‚Äć

3) Minimal risk in implementing field management software¬†‚Äć

For many SaaS field service products it is common to offer a free trial period or low monthly fees. Fieldman's business model is to charge for Mass Meter Deployment Software per transaction or meter installation. We often upgrade our basic configuration for the specifics of each field project. Free trial or pay-as-you-go models let customers try the software to see if it will meet company needs, with little or no financial risk.

Compare this with traditional field service software: there are no free trials or "cancel anytime" options. Traditional IT demands significant upfront investments, and reversing the decision to use such software can be a painful process for any company. Often, companies continue using traditional IT not because it helps them run projects efficiently and smoothly, but because they have already invested significant resources in its installation a long time ago. Does this sound familiar?‚Äć

4) Field service platform easy scalability¬†‚Äć

In most cases, adding a new user to legacy software is expensive and painful. The company has to buy additional licenses, which could cost hundreds of dollars for a single user, involve its own IT department to install software, and create a user profile. Typically it takes 2-4 weeks. 

SaaS platforms can scale easily and quickly without impacting performance, and it is one of the most valuable and principal features of cloud computing. Utility vendors can scale up or down (vertically) and out or in (horizontally) any field projects. 

For example, when there is a need to add more users to speed up a field service project's pace, it can be done in seconds without additional costs or time loss. Similarly, during the final stages of a field service project, when fewer field workers are typically required, the company can swiftly reduce the number of platform users. 

Such scalability enables organizations to optimize their operations, enhance productivity, and effectively manage growth.‚Äć

5) Harnessing the power of evolving AI‚Äć

Integrating new AI models is much simpler with SaaS platforms, and it saves companies significantly more money than implementing those models into older software systems. Why is the cost difference so significant? Organizations relying on traditional software for field management would need to invest in additional hardware and assemble a team of IT specialists responsible for uploading, extracting data, and training the AI model. In cloud-based computing, the hosting and integration burden lies with the cloud provider.

Early adopters, including some utility vendors and municipalities, are leveraging AI models to enhance their operations. They harness the power of cloud-stored data to train AI systems that can effectively check and inspect the current status of their infrastructure and identify any potential issues. 

By utilizing cloud-stored data to train AI, companies can leverage technology to monitor and assess the infrastructure's condition, enabling proactive problem identification and resolution. This approach empowers organizations to streamline their operations and ensure the optimal performance and reliability of their infrastructure.

Unveiling hidden costs in traditional vs. SaaS software field management

There is a great iceberg visual created by IBM engineers that illustrates the customer's and cloud provider's management responsibilities for traditional IT and cloud platform services. The price for traditional and SaaS software might be the same, but the main difference lies in the hidden costs.

traditional software vs. Sass for field service management
© Fieldman

In traditional IT, a utility vendor consumes IT assets - system software, development tools, hardware, applications - by purchasing, installing, managing, and maintaining them in-house in its own data center.

In cloud computing (SaaS), the cloud platform provider, like Fieldman, owns, manages, and maintains the assets. The utility vendor consumes them via an Internet connection and often pays for them on a pay-as-you-go basis.

"If an end user or organization can find a SaaS solution with the required functionality, in most cases it will provide a significantly simpler, more scalable and more cost-effective alternative to on-premises software," suggests IBM Cloud Education crew in their IT tutorial. 

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