Before delving into whether a hosted or in-house solution is best suited for your business, we should first discuss what each option is, and what they both entail. As with any major strategic decision, it is important to take the time to consider the advantages and disadvantages of the options you are evaluating. With a project of this scale, which directly affects the operational capabilities within a transit agency, and indirectly affects the experience that corresponding riders have with that agency, it is exponentially more important to ensure that the chosen solution is well-aligned with the organization’s overall business strategy.
Arguably the most significant benefit of maintaining an in-house solution is that it feels more tangible than a hosted solution. For many, the thought of placing the success of their organization in the hands of another is far too much to bear. With an in-house solution, agencies have the ability to access their necessary systems at a moment’s notice, allowing for convenience and a quick response time to any systematical disruptions or failures.
With that said, as technologies and business have advanced over time, in-house solutions have become more time-consuming and cumbersome to maintain. As business demands have increased, so too has the need to optimize internal resources. It is no longer in an agency’s best interest to dedicate the majority of its’ employees’ time spent managing and maintaining various internal systems that could otherwise be automated or outsourced.
In recent years, we’ve seen the large majority of transit agencies transitioning from maintaining in-house, legacy systems to leveraging more outsourced, automated solutions; this is the reality of our technology-driven environment.
Rather than committing a significant portion of the annual budget to compensate employees to implement, manage, maintain, and analyze internal systems, those resources can be better allocated, for ultimately less, by outsourcing to a hosted software provider.
In addition to increasing operational cost-effectiveness, hosted software solutions provide greater specialization and expertise. Although it is very possible to employ experts in-house, it often comes with a high price tag. With a hosted software solution, transit agencies are able to outsource key components of their internal systems to subject matter experts, so that they can rest easy knowing that their agency is in good hands.
The last, but certainly not the least, benefit of employing a hosted transit software solution lies within the operational efficiencies that are gained. Eliminating much, if not all, manual processes that are required when hosting transit systems in-house, a hosted software solution helps to streamline operations and mitigate the risk of human error.
Which Is Better?
As you may have recognized by now, the advantages associated with leveraging a hosted transit software solution significantly outweigh the benefits of maintaining systems in-house. Although it requires ‘giving up control’, hosted transit software solutions deliver a greater ROI than employing internal resources, increased operational efficiencies, and streamlined processes that remove the risk of human error.
Interested in learning more about the capabilities that a hosted transit software solution can provide? Ecolane’s Using Business Web Intelligence to Enhance Coordination eBook outlines how switching to web-based reporting can reduce costs and creates a more flexible environment for sharing data.
About the Author
Read Ecolane's blog articles for perspective, opinion and information on transit and paratransit issues.