Cloud-based SMS Programs May Make Sound Business Sense
Have you been considering the risks of moving your aviation safety management system (SMS) up to the cloud? In the past ten years, many aviation service providers have been moving their SMS program to the cloud for various reasons, but most make sound economic and business sense.
In this article, you will:
- Learn benefits of moving your SMS to the cloud; and
- See most common questions to ask when considering an SMS cloud provider.
6 Benefits of Cloud-Based SMS Program
1. Predictable Fixed Expenses
With self-hosted, in-house SMS programs, you have a large initial expense to set up your Safety Management System. With a cloud-based SMS, you’re able to avoid large initial capital investments and switch to fixed operational expenses. This allows your company to divert investment funds to more pressing operational needs and grow your SMS program over time without a huge upfront cost in
- Software development; and
- Subject matter expertise.
2. Reduced Computer Hardware and Software Expenses
Self-hosted SMS programs require many elements to sustain a viable, effective safety management system. These elements include, but are not limited to:
- Database server hardware and software;
- Web server hardware and software;
- Backup software;
- File and backup storage;
- Networking equipment;
- Firewalls; and
- Disaster recovery plan (with hardware and software).
With cloud-based SMS programs, you probably already have everything you need, such as existing:
- Desktop computers;
- Laptop computers; and
- Tablets and smart-phones.
In most cases, all you need is a modern web-browser.
Consider how much time and energy you save by NOT having to select the right hardware and software for your SMS program. Then you will have to order and configure the hardware and software once it arrives. And don't forget the time to test.
Furthermore, consider how much you save by not having to configure and maintain this network of routers, firewalls, switches, email servers and backup servers. Cloud-based SMS programs relieve you of this constant burden.
3. Accessing SMS Program From Anywhere and Anytime
With a cloud-based SMS program, your entire staff, contractors and clients can access your SMS program from anywhere as long as they have a modern Web browser and Internet connectivity.
Many cloud-based SMS programs also have offline capabilities, which allows limited interaction with your SMS without an Internet connection. When Internet connectivity is restored, users can synchronize their offline work with the main database.
4. Better System Support With Access to Subject Matter Experts
How many times have you been at the office or at home and the Internet has gone down? Or access to a particular site or your email server has been disrupted? The issue could be hardware or software. Where do you start to look? Who do you have to call?
Does your support staff have the expertise and availability to devote to your SMS program? If your company is like others (and I'm willing to bet it probably is), your IT support staff is beleaguered with daily operational issues.
With cloud-based aviation SMS programs, you are blessed with having SMS database professionals available 24/7 to resolve any problem. There is also a high probability that these professionals will discover a problem before you notice and immediately begin to mitigate the issue.
Finally, software engineers devoted to your cloud-based SMS should be continuously enhancing your SMS program to take advantage of the latest technologies.
5. Optimized Return on Investment (ROI)
Since your cloud-based SMS lacks a large initial investment, you will realize faster ROI. Your bean counters will particularly enjoy this benefit.
6. Optimized Web Servers For Increased Performance
How many times have you visited a website and bounced because it took too long to respond? If you are like me, I have little patience for slow Internet connections and poor performing servers. In addition, it may be difficult to determine where your bottleneck lies. Is it:
- Your internal network (limited bandwidth among multiple users)?
- Your local ISP (internet service provider)?
- Outdated desktop computers with slow hard drives? or
- Third party libraries, such as Google or Amazon services?
Successful SMS programs rely upon favorable end-user experiences. When users are unable to access your aviation SMS, they will be less inclined to revisit later. Developers of cloud-based SMS programs rely upon fast servers and stable Internet connections; therefore, you can be assured their motivation lies in offering considerably better service than your local IT support team.
Finally, cloud-based servers are easily upgraded. Your company benefits when your SMS database provider adapts to changing technologies that your local IT support team is not able to capitalize on.
Final Thoughts On SMS Database in the Cloud
As you have seen, there are many benefits for putting your aviation SMS program into the cloud. Cloud-based SMS programs are updated in one location by established subject matter experts.
The main benefit of cloud-based SMS is that security, backups, disaster recovery and monitoring regulatory requirements are managed by the vendor, thereby leaving you free to focus on managing your business.
Unless you have ultra-top secret operations, you probably have concluded that putting your aviation safety management system into the cloud makes solid business sense. With your SMS in the cloud, you will:
- Have predictable, fixed expenses;
- Reduce hardware and software development expenses;
- Manage your SMS program from any location with an Internet connection;
- Access top-notch tech support with qualified subject matter experts;
- Optimize return on investment (ROI); and
- Continually enjoy optimized servers and networks.
You can help assure your organization's success by choosing the right cloud-based aviation SMS provider to help you achieve regulatory compliance.