Cloud transportation management system: is it worth it for your company?

If your transportation company already uses an older version of a transportation management system (TMS) to improve its operations, you might be wondering – is it really worth it to migrate to the cloud? Let’s explore the factors you should consider before you make such a decision.

On-prem and cloud licensing can be vastly different. Here’s the gist.

Let’s imagine that your TMS is running on Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013, a solution is only available on-prem. On-prem licensing is primarily offered in perpetuity – meaning your company only got to use (and own) the solution after upfront payment. But the cloud-based newer versions of Dynamics 365 Business Central (which is what NAV is now called) offer a subscription model as well – which means your company would make periodic payments to the vendor in order to use the solution.

Tip: Learn more about the differences between Dynamics 365 Business Central and Dynamics NAV

What hosting options are available to my company?

When it comes to cloud-based options, there are two – the Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and the Software as a Service (SaaS) model.

Tip: Want to know more about infrastructure options? Consult Intelligent Systems’ Dynamics 365 Business Central blog post

Unlike on-prem and IaaS, the SaaS deployment model is subscription-based only. One of its biggest advantages is that it eliminates hardware costs and reduces administration costs for software updates, storage allocation, server backups, and restores. Additionally, system upgrades happen automatically when the solution is in the cloud.

Both cloud options provide easier integration with other Microsoft solutions – CRM apps, Power BI, Power Apps, etc. – than legacy on-prem systems do. Please refer to this table for more information:

DT cloud vs on prem comparison table

Cloud computing brings added flexibility and benefits for remote workers. Access from multiple locations is now possible with Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central being used in a web browser.

What other benefits does the cloud offer?

As we mentioned earlier, when your TMS is hosted in the cloud, its maintenance, updates and security are handled by the vendor. What this essentially means is that a lot of your resources and personnel that are otherwise occupied with IT management can now focus on higher-value tasks. Plus, Microsoft’s cloud platform compliance with industry standards lifts part of your compliance burden.

Cloud-based TMS or FMS provides your business with the agility and to scale and roll out new capabilities faster than an outdated or unsupported on-prem version does. The cloud comes with the latest automatically updated capabilities in an all-in-one solution that could grow with your company.

What about security?

Though this used to be a potential risk some transportation and freight forwarding companies would not take, cloud security has gone a long way. Big cloud providers such as Microsoft Azure conduct continuous penetration tests and take many precautions to protect their customers’ data.

Additionally, if you store your server in your office or data room, that does not necessarily mean your data is secure. In the case of force majeure events such as power outages, flooding, or fire, losing data from on-prem servers could happen, especially if the servers are kept in an unsecured place.

To learn more about cloud-based transportation management systems (TMS) and freight forwarding management systems (FMS), please contact us.

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