Software as a Service (SaaS), otherwise known as cloud-based computing, has become a widely accepted concept. Even the EQMS world is becoming more comfortable. Ten years ago, it was virtually unheard of for a regulated company to agree to have a vendor host their software. Those companies were paranoid about having their systems and data controlled by someone else with the chief concerns being security and loss of control. However, as the technology has progressed and IT budgets have been reduced, these companies have become more amenable to the idea of cloud-based software.
Selecting a Cloud Software Platform
If I’m in the market for a new software platform what should I look for? Some software vendors claim that most cloud-based QMS software is really dedicated to each customer and they’ve gone on to say that that’s bad. The best software is multi-tenant— and you should never choose a local on-premise install.
Quite frankly, when I see anyone make sweeping generalizations like this I’m fairly certain that means their systems are limited to a single approach. Plus, they’re trying to convince you that all other options are bad.
The other issue to consider is software validation. Regulated customers normally will have to show that they’ve performed some sort of validation. This is true for patches and upgrades that are performed. The benefit of a cloud-based system is that the software vendor does these upgrades for you, but then how do you validate them? If you’re in a multi-tenant environment this might be difficult because everyone gets upgraded at the same time. Consider this when you’re vetting a cloud-based provider. What is it that you require and will they accommodate it?
Let Your Requirements Dictate Your QMS Solution
The bottom line is that your requirements should dictate what direction you take. There are valid business reasons for all of these types of installations. You might have stringent security which does not allow data to be transferred over the internet or other systems which you need to integrate that make doing a local install more cost effective.
For hosting you might want the benefits that cloud computing offers but the ability to have custom applications installed which would require a dedicated install. You might want the cost effectiveness of a multi-tenant application where you share the application with other customers, but have validation requirements that need to be accommodated. You could also have no real validation concerns and simply want the most cost-effective solution.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to EQMS solutions, so don’t let a vendor talk you into their single method. AssurX pioneered cloud computing 20 years ago. Our vast experience has taught us that it is more important to provide our customers with a solution that meets their individual requirements than it is to cut corners and provide something that’s the cheapest for us as a vendor. Whether you want to go with a traditional on-premise install or you want to take advantage of the cloud, AssurX can meet your needs. Even if you want to start out hosted and move in-house or vice versa, AssurX can handle that, too. The next time you’re in the market for a software platform ask your vendors if they can do the same for you.