Top 6 Reasons for Motor Carriers to Use a Cloud-Based Integration Platform
Integration roadblocks are interrupting the flow of critical information for motor carriers.
These roadblocks often come from legacy transportation management system (TMS) and the time and effort associated with new system integrations. Fortunately, there is now a faster and more affordable route that passes through a modern, SaaS-based platform.
The platform consists of a mapping layer that sits between a TMS and third-party applications like ELDs, telematics, and fuel purchasing systems. The layer has all data points and application programming interfaces (APIs) mapped out and connected to each system through robust and secure communications.
With the integration platform, motor carriers and software vendors can deploy new capabilities quickly, bypassing the time and cost they would spend waiting on TMS vendors to develop and maintain interfaces with their current or wanted applications.
Pushing the Limits of ‘Legacy’ TMS
Integration challenges are more common for fleets that use legacy TMS platforms. In a sense, the problems today are similar to what consumers and businesses experienced when purchasing shrink-wrapped software packages like Microsoft Office.
Deploying off-the-shelf software packages was the easy part: just insert CDs and follow screen prompts. The hard part came from trying to get off-the-shelf software products to share data with other applications.
Trucking and logistics companies do not purchase shrink-wrapped TMS systems but many still use outdated client-server architectures and legacy software applications that do not integrate with newer applications in the market. This makes it difficult for fleets to get the most out of their TMS investments by not connecting them to new and emerging applications.
Plugging in a Universal Adaptor
A modern, SaaS-based platform can solve today’s integration challenges by functioning as a universal adaptor. When plugged into your TMS, the platform turns on instant connections with third-party applications and eliminates the time and expense of working with TMS vendors.
On a large scale, consider how Microsoft has transitioned from selling packaged software to hosting products in its Azure cloud. This move simplifies its process of managing products and releasing software updates as well as supporting integrations with third-party applications.
Similarly, motor carriers and logistics providers that use a modern SaaS-based integration platform can automate routine processes to add, change and support various systems that connect with their TMS platforms.
By having a cloud-based integration layer in the middle, carriers gain a five-fold advantage from:
Carriers use a SaaS-based integration platform to rapidly deploy new applications and features. When a vendor has an update that adds more data points and functions to a TMS integration, those improvements are immediately available within the TMS, just like the apps on your smartphone update automatically.
Keeping older or “legacy” TMS systems up to date is a perpetual challenge, especially when your vendor lacks integrations with your current and preferred applications. Companies that use a SaaS-based integration platform have a revolving door to market-leading products. They also free up internal bandwidth for IT resources to focus on more valuable activities than developing and supporting system integrations.
Instant M&A visibility
When going through a merger or acquisition, transportation companies need to access operational and financial information to make important decisions and create back-office efficiencies. If two or more companies are using separate TMS platforms, those gaps can be bridged quickly with a SaaS-based integration layer giving them instant visibility and access to information.
Integrations are not “set-it-and-forget-it” processes. They must be maintained and updated. Having a SaaS-based integration layer between your TMS and third-party applications adds flexibility to incorporate updates from vendors as soon as they become available. It also helps vendors sell their latest products to customers by making their TMS integrations available to customers and prospects at the time of launch.
Legacy, value-added networks (VANs) and EDI systems create unnecessary costs and headaches. These older systems can be modernized by connecting them to a cloud-based solution that seamlessly integrates with TMS and legacy EDI systems to provide higher quality data, along with added flexibility and scalability to support new business growth.
Paying startup and ongoing maintenance fees to TMS vendors for each integration is a sizable expense. Using a SaaS-based integration platform gives carriers a more affordable, predictable and scalable cost structure. Fleets can pay a monthly subscription for a telematics integration, for example, based on the number of assets (trucks or trailers) they have connected to the TMS.
Setting the Standard
Transportation and logistics companies now have a way to connect their TMS platforms faster and more easily with third-party and custom software systems. Motorcity Systems developed TORQUE for this very purpose.
The SaaS-based connectivity platform removes the hassles and costs of waiting on vendors for integrations. Besides removing the roadblocks, TORQUE standardizes the data points and mapping of each integration, including for EDI communications through our WIRE platform, to give you a single source of truth across your enterprise. In short, TORQUE enables cost-effective, scalable integrations that adapt quickly to your changing business needs.