Cloud Versus On-Premise – the Ideal Solution for Every Requirement

An interview with Ralph Lingmann, Strategic Marketing, Quanos Group

Ralph Lingmann oversaw the merger of three medium-sized software providers in the technical documentation and spare parts catalog sectors to form Quanos Solutions GmbH, and has been with the company right from its inception. Today, he is the Head of Strategic Marketing at the parent company of Quanos Content Solutions and Quanos Service Solutions. Ahead of the first joint Quanos Connect customer conference (being held from May 31 to June 1, 2022), Mr. Lingmann tells us about the ongoing development of the company's range of software and the trend toward cloud software. 


Mr. Lingmann, after the merger the key task for Quanos was to bring together the software solutions of the three original companies. At Quanos Connect you will be presenting the portfolio under the slogan “Quanos goes Cloud”. Is this a new strategy for Quanos? 

No. We see on-premise solutions – those that are locally installed – and software-as-a-service, or software in the cloud, as two separate approaches. The difference between on-premise and cloud software is not a question of functions or processes, it’s to do with the individual customer's goals and way of working. On-premise and cloud users are coming at things from a different angle. With our cloud solution, we are giving customers another option. 


Can you explain that in more detail? 

You could compare it to buying a tool or even a machine or system: People who need to solve a specialized, highly individual task know exactly what they want and are prepared to invest more time, energy, and money to find the solution that best fits their needs. In this case, a bespoke on-premise solution with processes and workflows adapted to the customer’s wishes and requirements is the right choice. 

If we are talking about standardized processes on the other hand, the customer will want to choose from existing solution components. They rely on the functionality and maturity of individual machines and tools, and only occasionally need to individually tailor their processes and workflows. A cloud solution is more suitable here, as functionalities can be brought together and configured to a certain extent, but not endlessly. With cloud solutions, the processes have already been tried and tested by other companies, so they're a best-practice solution. In this case, users will have to adapt their own processes to their chosen solution to some extent. 


That comparison makes a lot of sense. But, doesn’t it mean that the interested party will generally already have decided on either a cloud or on-premise solution before learning the pros and cons of each? 

When someone comes to us, they already have a basic preference and an existing IT environment into which our solution must fit. But there are other arguments that need to be weighed up. For example, if the potential customer needs a large number of people to be able to access the system externally, a cloud solution is the way to go, whereas an on-premise solution would be favored if the interested party's customers have demanding data protection requirements. 

For us, both solutions should be regarded equally – we are guided by the needs of the customer. However, we are seeing increasing demand for cloud solutions, particularly among new customers. Someone who is using a sophisticated service information system that has been improved and fine-tuned over the years is not going to switch to a cloud solution overnight. But, a business that is in the process of developing a system like this or is introducing a new solution has fewer embedded processes that they want to reproduce so can exploit the benefits of the cloud. 


Does this mean you're going to continue offering both architectures? 

Yes, definitely. We have a wide client base and support the varying needs of our customers. But the market is calling for a cloud solution, and that's what we're now providing. We've already been offering solutions to enable customers to use the cloud. For example, Schema ST4 is available on Azure for technical writing and we're working on a web client that enables users to access a locally installed Schema ST4 installation. We've brought together our solutions for service teams in the new Quanos system for on-premise use. At Quanos Connect, we'll be presenting Quanos InfoTwin, our cloud solution that integrates our decades long experience of using service management solutions. 

The usage scenarios for technical documentation and service information systems are also quite different, although clearly one needs to access the data of the other. Technical documentation is usually created within the company where the product is made, whereas service engineers want to access the system from the product users' premises. That’s why Schema ST4 and Quanos are on-premise applications, while Quanos InfoTwin supports the needs of service engineers in the field. However, even this will be different for different companies, which is why we offer both architectures in both segments.  

In a nutshell, the customer is free to decide how their needs are best met, and we help them put their preference into practice. We're here to help customers wanting on-premise solutions and those opting for cloud applications in equal measure. 


Mr. Lingmann, thank you for the interview.