The benefits of an electronic fuel management system have been widely known and recognized in providing accurate accounting, reconciliation and reporting of fuel consumption. However, some of the downsides to PC based software can overshadow the benefits with slow or outdated software requiring ongoing and often costly downtime and updates.
Enter the ‘cloud’! Now, cloud base software for accounting and reporting is not new news as it has been operating for years. In fact, a 2015 Forbes article estimated that 78% of U.S. small businesses will have fully adopted cloud computing by 2020 more than doubling the then current 37%. For some, the cloud represents this vague heavenly space were all our data disappears and reappears as requested. For many though, it is an effective and robust use of technology that is enabling businesses to be more operationally effective and efficient.
In this blog, we outline the benefits of cloud based software to help you better understand how this technology can be used to manage your fuel accounting.
So, what is the cloud?
The term cloud is broadly used to describe many things, with several software providers offering cloud-based systems. In its simplest form, the cloud can be thought of as the internet.
Before cloud-computing, companies would need their own servers or computers at their office to use PC software. You would have to physically install a CD on your personal computer to use it. Then, you could only access your data on that computer.
Cloud computing offers businesses the ability to implement cutting edge technology at a fraction of its previous cost. A third party hosts your software on a remote server where they store and process your data. These servers are housed in data centers all over the world.
If you’re using a cloud-based system, you can use the internet to access that system whenever and wherever you are. You just need an internet connection and the ability to log into the system via a web browser.
Fuel management system advance through the cloud
One of the major developments with the fuel management systems is the ability to capture all fuel usage data automatically, store it at the fuel management unit and then deliver that information to the cloud via networked communications, 3G, Wi-Fi or Ethernet.
Some of the benefits of a cloud based system over PC software include:
- Collection of data is automatic requiring no additional customer action or uploads with data delivered in near real-time to customers fast tracking fuel accounting, reporting and making reconciliation easy.
- Data is always available, eliminating the need to travel out to the unit to access it, which is a huge benefit considering the remoteness of some customers units. Particularly when you have multiple sites in various geographic locations.
- No set up, installation or customer hardware requirements beyond an internet connection and web browser, since all computations, reporting and maintenance are performed on system provider’s hosting infrastructure.
- System and platform are scalable as your business grows with no upfront user licenses or limitations on customer hardware or infrastructure.
- No specific PC hardware or software installation skills are required.
- No ongoing licensing costs or software updates for the customer.
- Some providers have unit diagnostics accessed remotely. This technology allows remote control and communication with your units for ongoing maintenance and repairs reporting. So, should a repair be needed you can see what the problem is, order the part and have it delivered before you even get to the unit.
- Flexible reporting allowing the end user to design their own reporting system uniquely for their needs.
- Secure and multi-user / multi-site access through simple login and password authorizations.
A shift from an existing system can far outweigh the invested cost as the downtime, maintenance and ongoing costs continue to add up. Not all systems have all the capabilities yet the SmartFill GEN 2 fuel management system is one which has been specifically designed for the cloud and has had these features built in as standard.
With SmartFill GEN 2 the transition is easy with a robust system delivery, accurate data in real time for effective fuel management and accounting.
SmartFill GEN 2 has all the functions you require from a fuel management system providing all the accurate data you need at your fingertips. Contact Fluid Management Technology for more information.