B2B software continues to move to the cloud, but the manufacturing industry is lagging adoption. Historically, people have worried that cloud software might compromise their security. In fact, today’s professional Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offerings are far more secure than on-premise solutions. Another objection to cloud software is the recurring expense model, rather than a one-time cost. Again, a modest monthly operational cost ultimately proves to be a significantly better deal than a big upfront capital expense, plus the cost to have your own team (or outsourced IT) support and update the on-premise service. These minor objections pale when compared to the tremendous competitive advantages cloud software offers. 

Design & Engineering Process 

To build the very best products for our shops, it is critical that we constantly improve the platform. Cloud-based software enables us to release updates to the platform weekly. A tight feedback loop between our end-users and our engineering team ensures that these updates accurately solve existing problems, and deliver powerful enhancements and new features. Now, these updates are rarely perfect right away – this is where the feedback loop comes into play. By communicating directly with our customers and listening to their feedback, we are able to iterate on each feature until it is perfect. Thus, over the course of three to six weeks (three to six releases), each respective feature grows from interesting, to good, to great. This process is only possible with a cloud-based company. On-premise software requires expensive and manual updates annually, which often omit critical enhancements that can only be resolved by yet another expensive and manual update! Cloud-based companies are able to take their customers’ feedback and implement it nearly instantly. The potential this agility and speed awards our product development process is invaluable for our customers. 

Support & Quick Fixes

Bugs happen in software – we fix them fast! Typically, we’ll find issues before our users do and solve them that day. This agility is possible because of our tight engineering team – everyone takes responsibility – and our ability to globally update our software through the cloud. With on-premise products, bugs can remain unresolved for up to a year. 

Access and Flexibility

One of the wonderful advantages of cloud-based software is that users can take it anywhere with a Wifi or network connection, and the experience will be the same! We’ve heard amazing stories of shop owners sending quotes from a beach in the Caribbean, reviewing DFM warnings while skiing in New Hampshire, and reviewing expedited orders while at their daughter’s soccer game. The possibilities are endless. What’s more, shops no longer have the risk associated with an on-premise hard-drive. All the data critical to their operations is securely stored in the cloud and accessible anywhere.  Lastly, shops do not need to assign someone to maintain their on-premise server. Platform updates and enhancements are released routinely through the cloud without interruption to their business.

How to take advantage of this?

For shops curious about how to take advantage of this phenomenal new partnership in manufacturing, there are two proven ways. First, try to break things! We strive to make the product perfect, and this can only occur through quick failure and resolution. Communicate any issues you find to our Support and Customer Success team, and we’ll be sure to patch fixes fast. Second, bring feedback and ideas to your Customer Success Manager at weekly and monthly meetings! We are building this product for you, not us, and want to make investments and decisions which will positively enhance your experience. Track these in a personal notebook, or in a central shop communication thread. We cannot promise these ideas will be implemented right away, but they will certainly influence our decision-making process and ensure that we build the very best experience possible for our customers. 

Conclusion

SaaS is truly a service, and small, recurrent payments keeps the vendor’s and customer’s interests aligned.  It is a guarantee that our team will constantly work to improve and provide our users the very best experience possible. The service aspect ensures that we are able to maintain this exceptional experience and continue to innovate as our customers’ needs evolve. Working with a cloud-based software company allows manufacturers to be deeply involved in the design and engineering process, quickly report and resolve issues, and take their business anywhere. We encourage all of our users to take advantage of this opportunity and continue to help build Paperless Parts into the most powerful platform in manufacturing

If you’d like to learn more, check out our most recent episode of The Weekly. 

— Ben Barton, Customer Success Manager

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