When Salesforce acquired ClickSoftware in 2019, the product roadmap changed, and the on-premises offering from ClickSoftware changed to a SaaS-based offering on Salesforce FSL.
The recent announcement of ClickSoftware sunsetting by 2023-end has put existing customers, who may be left without any product support services, in a quandary: to flog the soon-to-be-legacy software beyond end-of-life (EoL) or migrate to the next-gen application.
Most ClickSoftware customers are either on a path of adapting to Salesforce FSL or have successfully migrated to the Salesforce FSL solution.
The transformation has not been easy. Transformation projects in this period have faced disruption due to COVID-19’s global economic impact. As per Forbes, there was a significant delay in budget allocation and a priority shift in the first half of 2020 in the case of transformation projects. Most organizations were busy enhancing collaborative tools and adopting and adapting to the work-from-home (WFH) culture. Understandably, service management was a top priority for CIOs after employee engagement and AI/ML.
Successful FSL transformations in the past two years or so came down to different choices customers made and how they consider vendor selections. Here is a look at a few potential challenges and options customers face if they seriously consider a backup plan for their Click Software to overcome EoL difficulties.
According to an August 2020 McKinsey article, The Next Normal: The Recovery Will Be Digital-almost 70% of executives agree that the pandemic is accelerating digital presence across industries and geographies. The figure is highly accurate, considering customer expectations in aftermarket and field services changed from visibility and timely updates to an insistence on more predictive services delivered via remote assistance.
Fulfilling changing customer requirements in the digital era will be tough for businesses that may not get the required product enhancements from the vendor—for example, addressing the demand for VR/AR-enabled field service platforms which are key to optimizing the workforce.
2020 brought the world to a standstill, but not the job market. Digitization opened up opportunities like never before, both for job-seekers and organizations. Consequently, skilled talent has become costly and scarce. In light of this, keeping the existing workforce on a legacy application poses the risk of losing them to competition in the cloud and SaaS world.
Getting specific skills from your trusted vendors or the job market as a replacement will be difficult, especially for outdated technology. This will increase TCO over a period of time just to keep the lights on.
The world is changing swiftly, and ensuring your field service technology platform is up to speed is difficult without support from the product vendor.
Your IT team may struggle to keep the system competent with technology for business needs. Short-term solutions will eventually lead to greater technical debt, and managing these quick-fix solutions in a dynamic business landscape will be a real challenge for IT managers.
To add to the above complexities, additional challenges from compatibility within application stack (DB, Web/integration standards), browser versions, and OS/Infra, including iOS and Android, may create a lot of havoc, and over a period of time the customer may end up running not just one but multiple EoL applications, OS, platform side in the short term. Customers must therefore consider how best to get covered for the long term and stay ahead of the crowd.
Stricter data privacy regimes from governments across the globe and growing cyber-attacks necessitate keeping your IT infrastructure and applications constantly upgraded.
Applications outside the warranty period clearly risk missing timely security updates; fixes not applied to the application make them more vulnerable to attacks.
CX and UX
Satisfying and exceeding customer expectations are crucial to thriving in a competitive landscape. Running legacy applications in a world focused on 5G networks and advanced technologies may affect the ease of application usability and flexibility. Customer loyalty is directly dependent on the overall user experience. Being responsive to market demand and customer needs enhances the brand value and stabilizes your market position.
This needs a sophisticated platform that helps in accelerated development with continuous improvement to address ever-changing customer demands.
Alternatives and Tradeoffs
Continue v/s Transform
To continue or not with existing legacy apps and attendant challenges is a call the customer must take. To be sure, transformation to enterprise-grade digital service platforms, especially SaaS-based applications, comes with challenges. However, being in a SaaS-based environment covers your technology roadmap and keeps you protected from forceful application upgrades by providing automatic upgrades 2-3 times annually without significant downtime. These upgrades are controlled and may not require your SI vendor to run a costly project-based application upgrade.
SaaS v/s Cloud v/s On-premises
Salesforce provides only SaaS-based applications; there is no option of running it on-premises as it is a pure, multi-tenant application. From a service management perspective, user-based licensing will have an advantage, considering the unpredictable nature of workforce demand and forecasting.
Moving your application to a cloud IaaS is another option. This may enable elasticity on the infrastructure side and offload operational costs on the infrastructure management side. However, existing ClickSoftware customers may still face challenges of application-level limitations of security, customer experience, TCO, and more.
Running the application on an on-premises infrastructure over the cloud will bring additional operational costs and right-sizing difficulties. Considering the unpredictable nature of the workforce and user base, a native on-premises application will not give you the desired user experience.
Salesforce v/s Other Product Vendors
For ClickSoftware customers, the natural path of transformation leads to Salesforce FSL. Salesforce is a prime choice not just for the common core technology foundation Salesforce FSL and ClickSoftware have but for the features the Salesforce platform provides in terms of service management tools, AppExchange, global certified workforce, extensibility on multiple devices, and more. Salesforce provides extensive applications directly or delivered through its wide partnership in the form of AppExchange products that enable running your entire service-related applications under one platform, minimizing the silo-based application and integration cost.
Salesforce ecosystem provides a uniform data platform on which you can run your mobility solutions for your Technicians, Partners, and Self-care channels using Experience cloud, better service management using native features like Omni-channels, Service Contract management, etc.
Smooth Digital Transformation
Cyient specializes in enabling smooth digital transformation for our customers. Our driving principle is not merely a switchover to cloud or SaaS-based applications. We provide comprehensive guidance on business alignment and industry-specific best practices to enable better user adoption. Our accelerators will further help ease migration activities and streamline the delivery tasks with a real focus on ROI.