Cloud services, the Cloud, big data. Everyone has been talking about these terms for some time now. What it means for the ECM business, and what advantages companies can gain from the Cloud and content services, is shown in the following example.
A little backstory
A well-known chocolate manufacturer had to do without the urgently awaited hazelnut harvest. The year was 1986: Chernobyl had happened; the hazelnut harvest in Turkey had been irradiated.
As a result of this experience, the chocolate manufacturer founded an ecological heating company as a subsidiary. The goal was to do without atomic energy and to rely instead on energy from renewable resources. Lesson learned. EASY gained that company as a customer in 2015, a relationship which is still ongoing today. The company used standard ECM components. A good ECM system.
Field service apps work – metaphorically described – as a kind of extended brain: All the necessary information on a maintenance case have their place here, the service employee no longer has to think about it, he already has it in the service app.
Without app and Cloud service – back to the past
Back in the 1990s – no one had ever heard of Cloud services and digital transformation – work looked different than it does today. To clarify – when the customer wanted technical support, the technician would set out. And this is the point: he or she always carried a
- technical manuals for the item to be checked, its case history,
- checklists for performing the work,
and much more. All of that was part of the standard equipment a technician had to have for inspection or maintenance on site. It sounds strange, but that’s the way it was in the 80s and 90s and still is today in many places. You can imagine how error-prone that was, and still is.
Maybe the technician forgot something important, maybe the item’s history wasn’t fully legible, and so on and so forth. That sort of error generally led not just to the technician working longer hours. Subsequent errors in data recording could also creep in. The financial disadvantage is obvious.
Back to the present: In the field with the service app – and the EASY Cloud Platform in the background
Change of scene. The year is 2016 – and we’re at the heating company. The staff there was familiar with the problems described, and looking for a solution. And so EASY SOFTWARE AG, with the EASY Cloud Platform, was hired to expand the existing system with a mobile maintenance and service app. That was a step towards content services. The app was implemented in just a few months, due to the special design of the EASY Cloud Platform.
Cloud services as a permanent component of ECM
What makes the EASY Cloud Platform so interesting in this context? Flexibility and mobility are permanent components of the concept. The Cloud Platform consists of three components:
App -> Cloud-Platform -> Business interfaces,
such as SAP or Microsoft. Those three components guarantee maximum flexibility for content services.
Let’s start with the most visible part, the application for the technicians – that is, the apps. The favored apps can run on standard operating systems, iOS and Android. To realize these apps, we have a software development toolkit (SDK), which greatly simplifies work for the developers. Thus, a company’s CI/CD can be implemented with no trouble. Furthermore – and especially important at this point – the app connects to a variety of backend systems through well-defined programming interfaces (APIs) via the Cloud Platform. Of course, the development of an app like this is possible with an in-house team of developers. If necessary, we develop the app with our own developer team. Another advantage is the simple adaptation of additional services via the API in the EASY Cloud. Because, if there is a request for interfaces which are not yet available, it is easy to implement them.
Maximum flexibility in connecting through Cloud services
In the case of the ecological heating manufacturer, who is active in solar energy today, the development of the service and maintenance app meant establishing a modern communications center. The app now manages maintenance orders, logs all work and makes sure that all data are recorded in the in-house system. The days of paper-based processes are over. A real joy for the back office and the field service. Thanks to the service app, everyone has access to the most up-to-date information – anytime and anywhere. That’s how cloud services and mobility work.