What provides more value in a quality management software purchase—a single-use system, or one that can be leveraged for multiple purposes?
This seems like an obvious answer, except that few people actually consider it. eQMS platforms will all have multiple “modules” or solutions available: Corrective and Preventive Actions (CAPA), Deviations, Document Management, Training Management, etc. However, many of them do not allow you to build your own solutions when it makes excellent business sense to leverage such functionality.
Problems with Integrating Disparate Systems
Generally, when a company is in the market for a new application, they have a single purpose in mind. The focus is totally on that single-use to solve an immediate business challenge. Even if the long-term goal is to add more modules to the platform, the initial concern is focused on that individual business solution. Ultimately, this focus can be short-sighted and in the long term can be very costly.
In practice, single-use systems are often going to be a more robust solution. Any vendor that focuses on a single application is going to code that platform to specifically address that particular market. For example, a large document management software vendor will create an application that has every single function that you could ever need and many that you don’t care about. Their application can probably blow away the multi-use platforms.
However, when considering that quality and compliance management consists of multiple integrated business processes, the cost of purchasing multiple modules can be cost-prohibitive. First, each system will have its own licensing costs. Second, each additional module has separate costs for customization and system integration.
For example, you may have your CAPA in one system and your reference documents in a separate system. Plus, when documents get revised they need to trigger training management in yet another system. What is that going to cost to perform that level of integration? These are not small issues, especially if you’ve decided to use hosted cloud systems. In fact, the different hosting platforms might not even allow for the type of integration required.
Leveraging a Single Platform for Quality Management
There are two issues here, one is a single platform vs. multiple modules, but the second takes multi-use to another level. Imagine if you were able to provide your company with a QMS platform that addresses every related business process involved in that area. Even more enticing, imagine if you were also able to give them a package that can be used for Expense Reporting, IT Help Desk, Employee System Access, Project Management, and Employee Reviews? What if any of the myriads of small, disparate systems that are invariably in use within your company (including paper, Excel and Access) can be consolidated within a single, browser-based platform on-premise or in the cloud?
AssurX is one such system that provides single platform quality and compliance management capability. Not only does AssurX have all of the configurable modules that you need for your QMS system, but it provides the ability to create any number of solutions for your business. With AssurX, other areas of the business that will be a part of the QMS implementation but see little benefit will have a stake. Your IT department, which will likely be told they have more work to do to help with this application, can get a consolidated Employee Access System or maybe they need a Project Management system for larger tasks.
When you are evaluating an eQMS platform, consider this: what makes better business sense—focusing on a single need or broadening your vision and knowing that there will soon be other needs? You can leverage a quality management system in a single software platform purchase for more and more uses, drastically reducing the overall cost of ownership.