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Transportation Business Intelligence: Build or Buy?

Posted by TMW Systems on Feb 07, 2017
Given the growing importance of advanced transportation analytics in the trucking industry, it’s conceivable that hundreds of organizations with fleet management responsibilities are now confronting the question of whether they should build their own BI platform or invest in a packaged solution available from a transportation-specific technology provider. Before answering the “Build vs. Buy” question, according to BI experts, transportation professionals should carefully consider the following factors: Cost, Time and Vision.

busienss intelligence transportation software
Assessing the True Cost of Ownership

In truth, calculating the total cost of ownership (TOC) of a build-your-own solution can be impossible unless you can predict the added expense associated with the inevitable surprises and project changes you will encounter along the way. It’s not simply a matter of estimating IT resource requirements, but also accurately identifying – and perhaps limiting – the scope of the project. Needs and wishes will change as you learn more about the expanding BI capabilities of your industry peers. Also likely to change are your customers’ demands for improved service, including up-to-the-minute information. As these requests pile up, so could your investment in IT resources.

Time-to-market is another key consideration. Can you afford to wait the months, if not years, necessary to fully implement a custom BI solution? Are you confident that your internal team’s projected timeline is accurate? What if the scope of the project changes midstream?

Vision Matters

Perhaps the most important consideration is the underlying vision for your transportation business intelligence solution and its resulting capabilities. In some respects, bootstrapping a solution in-house is often based on a series of educated guesses about what you think you want to accomplish and how you can reach that destination. Are you confident that your vision of BI as a competitive asset is as well defined as those of hundreds of your peers, many of whom might choose to work with an outside trucking software partner?

“One of the concerns some businesses have about any ‘off-the-shelf’ solution is that it might need to be extensively customized to meet their needs,” says Tim Leonard, executive vice president, Technology, TMW Systems. “That’s certainly true of some very large, global BI platforms serving other industries. But there are solutions now available in the transportation space that have been developed by professionals with extensive experience working for fleets, 3PLs and brokers. By choosing the right provider, you can very quickly begin to benefit from a best-of-breed solution at a mere fraction of the cost.”

Enter TMW Reveal Series

TMW’s Reveal Series is advanced business intelligence tools designed specifically for the transportation services industry. This leading-edge platform will take your asset- or non-asset-based business beyond conventional analytics to capture new opportunities for growth and increased financial success.

Flooring supplier Shaw Industries, Dalton, GA, chose a packaged solution from TMW for its in-house fleet after considering start-up costs, internal resource requirements and platform versatility, according to Jason Ponder, transportation solutions business manager. Also key to Shaw’s decision was the solution’s ability to aggregate and analyze data from each of the company’s platforms – their transportation management system, maintenance software and mobile communication. “We now have a single reporting repository,” Ponder says.

For Kent Parkinson and Royal Trucking, West Point, MS, a transportation-specific SaaS solution was the smart choice based on initial cost and projected long-term value. “I have worked with the top systems that some mega carriers are using and you’re looking at a half-million dollars minimum just to get started,” he says. “We are using a cloud-based system that’s very affordable on a monthly basis that gives us the same sort of competitive advantage those huge carriers have. It’s just a no-brainer for us.”

Ready to take your common goals to a higher level? Request a demo today.

Topics: Business Intelligence, Cloud Based Trucking Software