Gartner, the global research and advisory behemoth, claimed back in 2016 that "By 2020, a Corporate "No-Cloud" Policy Will Be as Rare as a "No-Internet" Policy Is Today"
Are we there yet?
Almost. Perhaps 5, even 3 years ago, we regularly had conversations around the merits of on-premise vs. cloud-based Fault Detection and Diagnostics (FDD) solutions. While these conversations do still occur, they have been reduced to a small percentage of what they used to be.
Why has the thinking evolved so rapidly? Here are 5 thoughts:
1) Ubiquitous Cloud Services - We see the benefits of cloud-based services in our personal and work lives more than ever before. Gone are the days of buying Microsoft Office to be installed locally, Office 365 has taken over. There’s no more Blockbuster, it's a Netflix world now (and Prime Video). We do our taxes on Turbotax while listening to Spotify.
2) Pace of Innovation - 5 years ago, autonomous driving seemed like a cool Sci-Fi movie, not a societal transformation on the cusp of reality. When it comes to analytics, on premise providers, and single server software applications that one has to host on a cloud server appear to be on the wrong side of innovation. The benefits of rapid deployment, and agile release cycles means that developers can focus on constantly pushing the envelope, responding rapidly to customer feedback, and innovating at a pace never seen before. If those engineering resources had to be focused on upgrading everyone from last year’s version to this years, this pace of development would slow to a crawl in comparison. Any on-premise analytics application will be antiquated within two years. Multi-tenant Software as a Service (SaaS) means that you get whats new constantly. No reluctantly paying for upgrades, only continuous improvement.
3) Interoperability – We firmly believe that there will be use cases in the future that we haven’t thought of today. And if the last 5 years is any indicator, the next 5 will go just as fast. This means that future-proofing your investment is now essential. API’s and support for data integration and interoperability with other software platforms, now and in the future, should be baseline criteria when selecting a building analytics platform.
4) Security - Questions around the security of the cloud seem to have diminished now that most American’s have chosen the convenience of App’s for even the most sensitive information like finances. There seems to be a broader recognition that Microsoft has more security engineers protecting the integrity of your data hosted in an Azure data center than your internal IT organization could ever assemble. Gartner puts it best, "Security concerns are most frequently the reason organizations avoid public cloud services. The reality is that cloud service providers typically have the ability to support more effective security systems and platforms than are practical for most individual businesses."
5) Life-Cycle Cost - Those who have experience as end users of both scenarios know that if you compare the one-time development costs to implement an on-premise Fault Detection and Diagnostics platform vs. the costs of a Software as a Service solution, this is an apples and oranges comparison. "One-time" development costs are an illusion. Buildings are dynamic, mechanical and controls systems are dynamic, and FDD algorithms need to be at least as dynamic and extensible to stay relevant.
6) Support - Waiting for a technician to show up on site to debug an issue or make changes to FDD algorithms is sub-optimal to say the least. SaaS support is more straightforward and immediately available. Click a button, send a message, receive a response that day. Simple.
Thanks for reading!
The KGS Buildings Team
Automated Analytics. Smarter Facilities.