App or cloud?

App or cloud?

With CAFM from the cloud Flexibility has come to facility management. Apps roll it out to the masses of potential users. Something like that could be the elevator pitch for apps and the cloud. Whereby, with regard to the cloud, there is still a lot of blurring in the perception. Because cloud is not the same cloud.

IaaS, PaaS, SaaS - Waas?

The cloud - these are three use cases: Infrastructure as a Service, IaaS for short, in which only the hardware is provided and the customer himself takes care of software and data. At Platform as a Service (PaaS), the service provider provides a platform on which the customer develops and uses his FM applications. After all, Software as a Service (SaaS) usually delivers software and hardware right on the doorstep so that the customer only has to fill them up in order to work.

Common to all variants is that you are hosted away from home in a server farm and the user has nothing to do with the maintenance of the machines. The IT service provider also takes over the backup, as well as the protection of the servers against hackers, viruses and other evils. That makes a cloud solution pretty secure.


In general, a cloud solution is easy to use, but some aspects should be considered. For example, for CAFM from the cloud, the browser you want to work with should be HTML5-enabled.

Then the device used should have a good internet connection - FM data may be slightly larger.

Also inhouse should be looked closely. Do you need to integrate CAD, SAP or ERP? Then that has to be CAFM system have appropriate interfaces, which must be checked in advance.

If personal data is processed, it is advisable to take a look at the General Data Protection Regulation EU-DSGVO, which has been binding since 25 May 2018.

Or maybe apps?

Apps (Apple / Android) are small flexible programs for specific tasks and a supplement, but not a substitute for a CAFM system. Typical fields of application include meter reading, cleaning documentation (here the appropriate contribution), inventory, fault notification or order processing in the context of maintenance (also a blog post here).

It is important that each app is available for the two relevant mobile operating systems, ie for Android and Apple iOS. Often the vote falls per Apple, because the app shop and the system are considered safer. Private app shops for Android and a professional device management can compensate for that.

... and what do I need now?

Anyone who already uses a CAFM system and would like to have more flexibility for clearly defined tasks in the field is best off with a suitable app.

If you want to make your existing CAFM more flexible with similar functionalities, for example to integrate locations, employees from the home office or external service providers such as survey providers, you will be well advised to use a cloud application.

Even those who want to introduce a CAFM system first and do not want to be able to afford the administration, maintenance and care of the server also make the better choice with a cloud system.

Only when high performance, security requirements or company policy demand a server in your own cellar, is the on-premise system first choice. But it is also more expensive.

By the way, I have described the topic cloud and apps in more detail in issue 1-2018 of the journal "Der Facility Manager". Talk to me about this.

Best regards

Lars Hilsmann

IMS team Lars-Hilsmann-
Contribution recorded by: Lars Hilsmann

Lars is a consultant at IMS, responsible for app development and parts of product management. The avowed BVB fan spends his free time - as he once has it - with the family: football with the sons, tennis with the daughter and relaxed chat with his wife.

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