Ocean Carrier Review
Pacific Northwest Ports
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Selecting software to future proof your business
According to Mike Coney, Vice President ’ Asia, CargoWise’, software is now so fundamental to the operations of most businesses that even small-scale failures can cost many thousands of dollars in lost revenue, while a major failure can spell disaster. As a result, the search for the right software vendor or technology partner is one of the most fundamental challenges facing companies in the logistics and freight forwarding sectors.‘What many companies fail to realize when considering new software applications is that ultimately they are looking to future-proof their business,’ Coney says. ‘They need to be thinking of a range of scenarios that their business might face, and the extent to which their software provider will be able to respond to the challenges of the future.’
Coney says any company planning to buy a new software system should assess potential technology providers on three critical areas. First, they need to pay particular attention to the underlying financial stability of their vendor. Second, they need to assess the provider’s capacity to deliver new features, functionality and upgrades of the software on a regular basis. Third, they need to take note of the stability of the provider’s technology.
‘Changing software providers is an extremely stressful process, and it is something you don’t want to do very often because it impacts every aspect of your business,’ says Coney. ‘When you do decide to change software providers, you need to be sure that you pick the right software for your company, and that the provider behind the software is financially stable and committed to continually investing in technological development.’
The rapid evolution of mobile technologies and handheld devices in recent years is a case in point. According to Coney, not many logistics software companies have upgraded their software to deliver functionality on the wide range of devices used in today’s corporate and private environments.
‘The logistics industry is evolving all the time, so you want to be sure that any software provider you consider has a consistent record of delivering regular enhancements and upgrades, and that these enhancements are integrated into the listed pricing,’ Coney says. ‘There are two dangers customers face here: one is that the software vendor will not continue to produce ongoing upgrades or that if they do, they will force their customers to pay excessively in order to take advantage of the new releases.’
With software increasingly supplied through the cloud, solutions-based software vendors should also be able to demonstrate the technological stability of the data centers delivering the software.
‘It’s no secret that hosted software or cloud computing is the way of the future,’ Coney says. ‘If your software vendor doesn’t already offer a cloud solution, that should ring warning bells. Software vendors also need to demonstrate that the software on which you will ultimately base your business is managed in a secure environment with substantial disaster recovery processes in place.’
Keeping these critical factors in mind when selecting your provider can be the difference between making the right choice to open up opportunities for significant future growth and prosperity, and making the wrong decision ’ which may result in no future at all.
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