App or cloud?

App or cloud?

With CAFM from the cloud is a lot of flexibility in the Facility Management have come. Apps are rolling it out to the broad mass of potential users. This is roughly how the elevator pitch for apps and the Cloud read. However, there is still a lot of blurring in perception, especially with regard to the cloud. Because not all clouds are the same.

IaaS, PaaS, SaaS - What?

The cloud - these are three use cases: Infrastructure as a Service, or IaaS for short, where only the hardware is provided and the customer takes care of software and dates takes care of. With Platform as a Service (PaaS), the service provider provides a platform on which the customer can manage his FM-applications are developed and used. Finally, Software as a Service (SaaS) usually delivers software and hardware ready to use to the customer's door, so that the customer only has to fill it to be able to work.

What all variants have in common is that they are hosted off-site in a server farm and the user has to work with the Maintenance has nothing to do with the machines. The IT service provider also takes care of the backup, as well as the protection of the server against hackers, viruses and other evils. This makes a cloud solution quite secure.


In general, a cloud solution is easy to use, but some aspects should still be considered. For example, for CAFM from the cloud of browserthat is to be worked with, HTML5-be capable.

Then the device used should have a good internet connection - FM data is sometimes somewhat larger.

In-house should also be looked at closely. Do CAD, SAP or ERP be integrated? Then the CAFM system have corresponding interfaces, which must be checked in advance.

If personal data are processed, a look at the General Data Protection Regulation EU-GDPR which has been mandatory since 25 May 2018.

Or maybe apps?

Apps (Apple / Android) are small flexible programmes for specific tasks and a supplement to, but not a replacement for, a CAFM system. Typical fields of application are meter reading, cleaning documentation (here the suitable contribution), inventory, fault reporting or order processing within the framework of the maintenance (also a blog post here).

It is important that each app is available for the two relevant mobile operating systems, i.e. for Android and Apple iOS. Often the vote is in favour of Apple because the app shop and the system are considered more secure. However, private app shops for Android and professional device management can compensate for this.

...and what do I need now?

Those who already use a CAFM system and would like to have more flexibility for clearly defined tasks in the field will do best with a suitable app.

Anyone who wants to make their existing CAFM more flexible with a similar range of functions, for example to include locations, employees from the home office or external service providers such as measurement providers, will be well advised to use a cloud application.

Even those who first want to introduce a CAFM system and do not want to or cannot also provide administration, maintenance and servicing of the servers make the better choice with a cloud system.

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

By the way, I described the topic of cloud and apps in more detail in issue 1-2018 of the trade journal "Der Facility Manager". Please feel free to contact 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 self-confessed BVB fan prefers to spend his free time - if he has any - with his family: football with his sons, tennis with his daughter and relaxed chats with his wife.

RIB Software SE new strategic partner of IMS
IMS donates extensive updates to its apps