TMW Systems Inc. has launched a cloud-based version of its transportation analytics suite, joining a growing host of logistics software vendors that see advantages in the hosted-application model.
Cleveland-based TMW's three-pronged applications platform encompasses what it calls its Data Warehouse, Data Warehouse Explorer, and Visual Analytics solutions. Designed for private and for-hire fleets, third party logistics providers (3PLs), and brokers, the platform will generate business-intelligence and analytics reports. Under the software-as-a-service (SaaS) model, existing TMW customers will now be able to subscribe to these applications through any online browser instead of running them on their own computers. The company said it plans to offer the SaaS option to new customers as well in coming months.
By subscribing to software instead of hosting it themselves, users can save money on costs such as internal IT support, data-security resources, and on-premise hardware. Hosting an analytics suite in the cloud offers additional benefits, such as the capability to compare and contrast data from different sources, said David McKinney, principal of business intelligence and optimization at TMW.
"The goal was to create one single platform for analytics and visualization of data, so we did the integration to pull it all into one enterprise data warehouse, and it doesn't matter what application the data originated in," McKinney said.
Users can mine the aggregated data to generate reports and create enterprise analytics drawn from disparate operations such as finance, mobile communications, and maintenance, McKinney said. "One benefit of enterprise analytics is that everyone knows how they're being measured," he said. "By moving this to SaaS, we have a better opportunity to create reporting scorecards, dashboards, charts, and graphs, and to make that data available to a mobile workforce."
One example of these reports is TMW's market-rate index, a measure of shipping rates created from data contributed by multiple firms using the company's transportation management system (TMS) software. TMW now plans to extend that concept to create new aggregate market reports that track key performance indicators (KPIs) for other industry variables, such as operational and maintenance, McKinney said.
TMW's product expansion comes amid what is expecting to be a consolidation among TMS providers as demand for such services continues to grow. In May, Kewill Inc. bought out rival transportation management systems (TMS) provider LeanLogistics Inc. for $115 million in an effort to build a global provider of hosted TMS services.