In this day and age of ever-increasing choices, it might seem almost strange that some companies are preferring to stick with a single provider.
The Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software market is no stranger to the growth in providers and buying options. With annual growth of more than seven percent and a value expected to reach $41b by 2020 it’s no surprise that more vendors, with more solutions, will be entering the market.
For corporate buyers of ERP software, including telematics and Mobile Resource Management (MRM) solutions, that presents somewhat of a dilemma – pick and mix your software solutions from a lot of different providers (the proverbial ‘kid in a candy store’) or look for a single platform that can accomplish the majority of what your organization needs. Which is better?
While competition always offers more choice and sometimes cheaper prices as new entrants attempt to gain market share, it can also create confusion and extra costs that can catch out the unwary.
So, is opting for a business-wide telematics platform from a single provider the best option for you? That may depend on your specific requirements but here are a few points worth considering.
Possible costs of using multiple vendors
As customers we love choice. We love the freedom to decide how we’re going to spend our money, based around the factors that are important to us, whether it’s cost, quality, brand image or customer service. We may be fickle about where we make our purchases, even to the point of getting retailers to go head-to-head to compete for a sale.
While this is fine in the B2C world, buying enterprise software solutions from a variety of different vendors can increase costs significantly.
Four potential pitfalls of multiple vendors
1 – Protracted procurement costs – Software procurement can be a lengthy process. Collecting information, evaluating options, sitting through demos, sending out RFPs and pilot projects all take considerable time, which can be a significant cost if several of your staff are involved in this exercise. When you multiply that by each and every vendor you choose to buy from those costs increase exponentially.
2 – Multiple vendors means more paperwork – Paperwork can include everything related to the internal management of a software solution. Administration for each vendor can be a different process, and is duplicated across every one of them. Signing up, setting up payment agreements or getting budget authorization – it all takes time, slowing you down and costing you money.
3 – Different systems can mean additional training – Different applications will sometimes mean extra training for your staff, as they become familiar with a variety of products and design styles.
4 – Discrete software applications can create information ‘black holes’ – Separate solutions can mean data from different parts of your business (driving hours, work order management, vehicle maintenance etc.) can create data silos. Building connections between these separate datasets can be time-consuming and messy, resulting in crucial business information being delayed or missed completely.
So, ideally you want to limit the number of vendors you deal with. However, your business may also require different software solutions to address a variety of MRM needs. How can you satisfy both requirements?
One provider – One platform. Why best?
You might be thinking that while you can understand the drawbacks of having to deal with multiple vendors, when it comes to fleets management solutions you might feel you don’t have a lot of choice. If that’s the case it’s worth considering a platform solution.
A platform solution can provide an integrated, end-to-end management solution for your mobile workforce – fleet tracking, route planning, dispatch, navigation, mobile apps, compliance and maintenance. Because the Telogis telematics platform is built as a cloud-based SaaS solution with modern web standards and API plug-ins, connecting it to other ERP software programs is relatively straightforward.
Aside from limiting the number of vendors you have to deal with, how else does a single telematics platform help a fleet streamline its operations?
1. Minimize compatibility problems
Because the vendor specifically designs their products to work together, on the same platform, there are several advantages for the user including no double data entry, more cross-application features and faster processing speeds.
2. Get new features or functionality sooner
Since you’re already running on the vendor’s platform you have the infrastructure in place to deploy new features or applications from the same vendor a lot quicker, without all the preflight checks normally required when taking on a new program.
3. Vendor takes more responsibility
If you run into issues in a multi-vendor environment you can end up going from one vendor to the next to get the problem resolved, with each vendor blaming someone else. With a single vendor it’s just one support ticket to get things sorted.
4. It’s just easier
One phone number, one contact, one invoice; it’s just easier dealing with one vendor. Period.
5. Faster deployment and staff training
Software from the same vendor follows the same style of usability. Similar controls and functionality means new features and applications can be rolled out, and staff won’t require a lot of intensive training to get up to speed.
6. Easier sharing of data
Often applications run on the same platform can easily share data, helping you to make better business decisions. For example, having an ELD application relaying the number of legal driving hours remaining for drivers is invaluable for your dispatchers. Customer site information – such as access details or delivery time windows – can be added directly to your driver’s navigation app.
Single vendor, Single platform – Simply smarter
When buying any type of MRM or telematics software – GPS fleet tracking, route planning, navigation, ELD, DVIR, driver training or field service applications – there are good reasons to opt for a single platform.
- Less administration overhead saves time and reduces labor costs
- Single platform improves integration and data reporting across your mobile teams
- Faster deployment of new features or functionality