Where IT historically has been seen as necessary and expensive infrastructure, leading carriers today view it as a flexible resource that can help them quickly adapt to new marketplaces or changing customer demands. This makes selecting the right technology more important than ever.
"Over the last few years, with the emergence of the internet and professionally managed data centers, a new option has evolved that allows companies to use hosted IT solutions," says Wiesen. "This takes the requirements for hardware management, data backup and uptime maintenance away from the trucking company and lets it focus on what it is good at - the logistics of moving freight. It lets someone else worry about moving the bits and bytes."
Before determining whether to use an installed or a hosted model, companies need to make sure that the applications they are using fulfill the mission of the company, Wiesen says. "There are two separate disciplines involved. The first is getting the right functionality and the second is determining how hands-on a company wants to be in terms of IT management. Typically, the same software may be either installed or outsourced in a hosted solution."
One aspect of this assessment is total cost of ownership, he says. In measuring the cost of ownership, trucking companies need to be aware of upfront costs, such as hardware and work stations as well as long-term costs like license fees and maintenance, he says. In addition, they need to assess the cost of downtime vs. the expense of ensuring high availability. "Companies need to consider the value of high availability systems so their businesses won't cease to function if there is a disaster," he says.
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