BOLT is the leading provider of TRUE cloud-based Transportation Management Systems. It was specifically developed for the Internet and the trucking industry. BOLT has all the characteristics and benefits of true cloud systems as they are described below.
If you are in the process of evaluating a new Transportation Management / Dispatch system, you are most likely debating between a cloud-based and an on-site solution. Today SaaS, or Software as a Service, is one of the most likely deployment options to be considered, while the willingness to consider traditional on-site transportation solutions has dropped off dramatically since 2016. This is especially true since the COVID 19 pandemic hit and a large majority of people are working from home.
Most people use the terms SaaS and Cloud interchangeably. However, there is a very distinct difference and it matters significantly. “Cloud” refers to access computing, software and storage of data over the Internet. You may have purchased a license for the software and installed it on your own computers – access is available by a direct connection a LAN (Local Area Network) or VPN (Virtual Private Network). “SaaS” is Software as a Service and can be delivered by either a True Cloud or Fake Cloud.
There are now three options to the software:
- Purchase a version of the software you select – You can either receive a disk, or download (via Internet) the software from the vendor and install it locally.
- You are responsible for the installation, all data backup, software patches, and state of the art virus protection.
- Purchase a SaaS subscription – This may not be a true Cloud Subscription. Most likely the vender will purchase the hardware and software needed and install in their facilities.
- The vendor will provide the maintenance of both the hardware and software. You will need to designate specific computers (by IP addresses) and access the computer in the vendor’s facility though a VPN (Virtual Private Network). You will not be able to access the facility through any device other that those registered above.
- You are still exposed to Cyber Attacks though your registered computers. Exposure to any one of the registered computers can corrupt the operations on the host (vendor) computer.
- Purchase a subscription on a 100% Cloud Based system (True Cloud) and is available to any computing devices. You will be required to register a user name and a password.
- As above the Cloud facility is built on today’s technology starting with a highly secured facility access. Personnel must be cleared to even enter the facility. Computers are configured to expand or reduce capacity dependent on users’ requirements. No wasted hardware or software. Daily research for any new and /or existing viruses.
- You can access the system anywhere and anytime – it only requires a certified browser,
- The cloud application completely controls all data being received. Local exposures to a cyberattack cannot be transmitted to the cloud computer
Fake cloud systems are what you get when your business solution provider just takes the on-premise version of their software and hosts it on hardware in a remote location. This doesn’t provide any of the benefits or the reliability of a True Cloud / SaaS implementation. The architecture remained the same. It was not developed as a SaaS system. Watch your contract for hidden costs.
So how can you tell a true cloud solution from a fake one? And why should you care?
A true cloud solution was built in the cloud and only in the cloud. Certain characteristics make true cloud solutions unique, as compared to fake cloud:
Multi-tenancy is one feature that separates fake cloud solutions from true cloud solutions and makes the above benefits possible. In a multi-tenant software environment, multiple companies are running the same instance of the software and share all the common services. While your business has customized processes and data security, shared hardware among others running the platform offers economies of scale and incredible cost savings that single-tenant systems cannot. Some companies like BOLT uses multi-tenant application code but single-tenant private databases. This ensures the integrity of your data and the most recent partner integrations and code updates.
Companies who unknowingly select a fake cloud architecture, or rely on traditional on-site solutions inevitably struggle with the following issues:
- Delayed & painful product upgrades
When running hosted/hybrid solutions, you must suffer through the same potentially arduous (and expensive) upgrades every time the software vendor releases a new version. You are also at that hosting vendor’s mercy regarding when they choose to roll out the latest solution. Because the vendor will need to upgrade each customer one by one, including transporting past customizations over to the new software, it could take months to get updated. In addition, there is normally a high price for the upgrade as vendor personnel has to perform these services. This is the chief pitfall of on-site solutions as well.
A true cloud environment ensures free, automatic and frequent software upgrades that do not result in any downtime or interruption of operations.
- Costly, unstable integrations and customizations
Customizing an on-site system mean re-implementing and testing those custom schema changes, integrations, workflows and reports every time a new version of the software is released. Similarly, if running a hosted solution, integrating it with your other applications or customizing it causes considerable hassle and expense and can be unstable because the on-site product was not initially built for hosting.
- Too much downtime and inadequate security and support
Most traditional service providers simply can’t achieve the same levels of security, privacy and uptime as true cloud providers can. A simple way to determine this is to ask them about their uptime performance, contractual uptime guarantees, and security and privacy certifications such as PCI-DSS security compliance, SOC 1, EU-US Privacy framework, NIST 800-30 and ISO 27000 standards.
- Need to overbuy/over-provision capacity
If you’re uncertain about how much capacity you will need, you’ll probably have to cover the number of software licenses to ensure that you’re not caught short; or worse yet, you under-provision and can’t live up to your customers’ expectations because you “failed” to plan ahead. True Cloud allows to expand or reduce your organization. Simply inform your vendor and they can adjust monthly invoices to accommodate your changes.
- Expensive, open-ended implementations
On-premise systems are notorious for having laborious, expensive and time-consuming implementations. Fake cloud solutions are just the same. They may boast about speed and agility, but after you sign on the dotted line, they come back with a very traditional looking implementation plan, a block of estimated consulting hours and a rough “blueprint” to get you live.
Fake cloud providers are trying to blur the lines between true cloud systems and hosted offerings. Yet the advantages they cite for their own systems are those touted by on-site vendors. When it comes to speed of upgrades and deployment, performance, value, customization and service, it is simply not much of a comparison.