Software as a service (SaaS) is a software licensing and delivery model in which software is licensed on a subscription basis and is centrally hosted. It’s sometimes referred to as “on-demand software.”

It’s typically accessed by a web browser and can provide excellent results in a tolling back office environment when properly implemented.

SaaS has been around for a long time, but the adoption rate within the tolling industry has been sporadic. Is SaaS all it’s marketed to be or are there hidden risks associated with moving the business side of tolling to the proverbial cloud?

Tolling back office solutions haven’t evolved enough for anyone to say, “We’ve always done it that way.” However, the traditional offering has revolved around toll agencies building data centers and hosting their back office solutions in-house. Some pioneering agencies have embraced SaaS solutions and have reported mixed results.

The benefits of a SaaS solution are difficult to ignore:

  • Smaller IT footprint to manage
  • Lower initial cost
  • Universal access
  • Resilient business recovery options.

Some of the hidden risks to be aware of include security, performance over the cloud, and data retention.

It can be successfully argued that regardless of the hosting model – in-house or SaaS – a tolling back office implementation is more dependent on the overlying software solution and less dependent upon the chosen infrastructure. Sound business policy definition and system design remain key to any successful back office implementation.

SaaS offerings merit strong consideration by any agency seeking to focus more on operations and less on the day-to-day hassles involved in data center management. Strong performance metrics and transparent data retention/recovery solutions help safeguard customer service and business resilience. Careful consideration must be given to security, extensibility, and other aspects.

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About the author

Kevin Palmer, PE, PMP
Kevin Palmer, PE, PMP
Kevin serves as RS&H’s Tolls Technology Leader and has a range of progressive experience in program management, consulting, and system planning. RS&H provides specialized solutions for the planning, scheduling, and testing of toll and managed lanes systems.