The cloud-based QEHS system gives businesses both agility and control as they extend their quality culture across all processes.
As in other areas of enterprise technology, the cloud model – where organizations buy access to Software as a Service (SaaS) hosted externally, rather than paying for an on-premise installation – has significant appeal to those considering how to move forward with their enterprise quality management system (EQMS). The benefits with which cloud-based solutions are most closely associated, including visibility and control, resource optimization, rapid implementation, scalability and business focus are all key to successful EQMS deployments.
For most organizations, flexibility and modularity are key requirements when picking an EQMS. They want a system they can configure to fit their own processes, rather than having to rethink workflows to accommodate the system. Cloud-based systems are inherently flexible, offering users the opportunity to constantly adjust and reconfigure their set-ups as their needs evolve much more easily than with an on-premise solution. It’s also easier to add capacity in the cloud – the enterprise simply pays for more bandwidth – rather than being frustrated by an overloaded internal server.
Just as importantly, one crucial principle of cloud and SaaS technologies is to relieve enterprises of the need to manage IT. In a cloud-based deployment, the enterprise should be able to spend its time thinking about what the business needs from the EQMS, rather than being distracted by the need to manage and tailor the software – that becomes the provider’s job.
A related point is that managing and maintaining enterprise IT can be a resource-hungry activity. By contrast, where software is deployed in the cloud, the greater part of this responsibility falls on the vendor, freeing up internal IT resources.
Above all, cloud-based solutions offer speed and scalability. Accessing SaaS will not require a substantial IT renewal program and EQMS solutions can therefore be implemented – and, subsequently, refreshed or upgraded – much more rapidly. Adding additional capacity as the organization grows is also straightforward.
Nevertheless, organizations will need to think carefully before opting for cloud deployment. One crucial decision is whether to go with a public or private cloud solution – the former, where enterprises access EQMS systems and hold their data in the same cloud networks as other organizations, can have cost advantages but raises security concerns for some. A private cloud set-up, on the other hand, will be a more bespoke arrangement.
Overall, though, cloud computing is expected to capture an ever-greater share of the enterprise technology market – including EQMS. By some estimates, the cloud market will grow at a rate of 19% a year between now and 2020.
Find out how a cloud-based quality management system helps safeguard quality from top to bottom. Download The Enterprise Quality Management System Handbook: Supporting a Quality Culture Across Your Business