How the Cloud Provides Improved Uptime for Your Critical Software Solutions

By June 10, 2019

In the world of transit dispatch and operation, organizations and agencies are increasingly relying on complex software to get the job done. This makes choosing the right software more critical than ever. While important elements like quality customer service should play a central part in deciding which program your organization uses, there are also some bottom-line technical features that are important in the industry.

Although many people have encountered the “Cloud” as part of photo or video storage on their personal devices, cloud computing is about much more than storage. Read on to understand more about one of the most important technical features in modern software and how it may affect your business or organization.  

How Does Cloud Computing Work?

Essentially, Cloud computing is an increasingly popular type of IT infrastructure that decentralizes how devices store and communicate information in real-time. Instead of relying on hard-wired connections to a single central computer or server, Cloud Computing uses internet connectivity to store data on a virtual network. Here are some areas where transit organizations can see the most benefit from Cloud-based software:

  • Unlimited storage. For organizations like transit agencies that collect real-time data as part of their operations, being able to archive and access large volumes of information is crucial. Not having to worry about storage space and easily being able to access months or years’ worth of data allows teams to focus on reporting, grant-writing, and other important industry-standard tasks.
  • More device connectivity. Many microtransit and NEMT providers are moving to software packages that include mobile device functionality. Software that is Cloud-based allows for much greater flexibility in terms of number and type of devices that can be connected to the program.
  • Secure data. Cloud-based software companies know your data is important, and the best ones provide encrypted backup and recovery solutions that keep organizations’ crucial information much more secure than with a traditional on-site server.  

Cloud-based software brings many crucial features that will only increase as higher-speed networks and mobile devices become available. This is why companies that adopt Cloud-based technology are putting themselves ahead of the curve.

How Does Downtime Impact my Organization?

Any company that provides crucial services like NEMT needs to be vigilant about the software they use for another reason: outages and downtime can cause significant disruptions to real people’s lives. In an industry with tight margins, minimizing downtime can be an important part of retaining customers and keeping ridership numbers up.

Downtime can also affect on-time performance averages, resulting in lost revenue or even contracts for transit operators. The more complex and integrated the software being used by the transit agency is, the more important it is that the software has responsive customer service and built-in features for reducing or eliminating outages.   

How Does Cloud-Based Software Prevent Downtime?

An important aspect of how Cloud-based systems are designed also protects them from single-source outages or slowdowns since the entire system is decentralized. For example, this means that even if the power is out at the local office, the software will still function on mobile or offsite devices, and local data won’t be lost suddenly if there is a power or internet outage.

Although the structure of Cloud-based software itself helps prevent outages, this doesn’t mean that things still can’t go wrong! That’s why one mark of whether or not a software product that uses the Cloud is worth the cost is the presence of 24/7 support for issues, including outages.

Because the level of IT support required by Cloud-based organizations is generally more sophisticated, these types of software providers can often more easily address outages because there is already a dedicated team of experts in place.

Essentially, having off-site data management and storage like what comes with Cloud-based software programs can give organizations another layer of protection against the sorts of outages that can cripple important operations. It should go without saying, but increased uptime means happier customers, partners, and employees.

What Should My Organization Look For in a Cloud-Based Software Service?

For transit providers looking to either get dedicated software for the first time or upgrade their existing system, it’s worthwhile to spend some time comparing and researching software products. Since Cloud-based computing offers so many advantages and room to grow along with technology, transit companies should consider turning their focus towards this type of software for the reasons outlined above.

Essentially, if a transit software package doesn’t offer Cloud-supported technology, they aren’t as agile or forward-looking as the competition; it’s probably wisest to move along to the next provider on the list. Although Cloud-based systems may seem intimidating, the right software provider will help the transit agency through every step of installing and deploying the program.

On the same note, transit software with Cloud-based capability is inherently more complex, and therefore an important part of determining whether it’s quality software is the customer service that comes along with it. Good customer service not only reduces downtime on its own (with features like 24-hour support availability) but will ensure that the transit agency who is operating the software has been trained in every aspect of utilizing it--ideally by an onsite expert. This helps eliminate further human error while allowing organizations to get the most out of the dedicated software they’ve purchased.   

Finding the Best Software Solution for your Transit Organization

Now that you understand the importance of Cloud-based capabilities in quality software, it’s time to review related features and their importance. Good transit software should provide much more than simple dispatch; today’s competitive software will provide mobile functionality, live-tracking of the vehicles in use, automatic ridership data collection, and “smart” (AI-generated) route planning.

As AI becomes increasingly sophisticated, Cloud-based computing has another opportunity to shine. Namely, the number of servers involved in Cloud computing often speed up complex operations to get software solutions quickly to wherever they’re needed. If you were still on the fence about Cloud-based software models, understanding this key functionality and its role in the future evolution of transit solutions should be enough to get your organization on board!

However, no matter how sophisticated the software that your transit company ends up using, there is no way to overstate how important the human element still is. Make the most of the money, dedication, and time it takes to implement good software by ensuring you’re working with a provider who provides live support from real people. This support should also include actionable solutions with a guaranteed fast turnaround.

TripMaster is one such Cloud-based software company that provides all of these customer service features, along with direct numbers to the CTO and CEO of the company. In the complicated world of transit software, it doesn’t get much more personal than that.