Three Reasons You Should Buy Your Rail Data Software Rather Than Building Your Own
September 7, 2022
You open your email to find two more IT tickets are at the top of your inbox, all from operations, and all with the same subject line:
ON-BOARD FUEL CONSUMPTION DATA INCONSISTENT
The message is common, but personally frustrating. You don’t have a way to reconcile the issue without adding to the railway’s tech stack. You search “software for rail energy monitoring” for what feels like the one millionth time and think to yourself, “Maybe we should just build our own solution.”
We’re familiar with this scenario, and we get it. Requests on repeat and unpleasant experiences from previous vendor relationships make building your own software seem like the only option.
In reality, that’s not the case. Buying a software platform to address railway issues like inconsistent fuel consumption data can be efficient, cost-effective, and future-focused.
Three reasons to buy a rail software platform
- It has long-term value with immediate impact
Building your own software is a significant investment. You’ll need to devote members of your team to the product’s initial development, which can take months. This won’t be a temporary resource diversion: You’ll need to create permanent assignments for product maintenance and support.
Purchasing software will ultimately save your railway overtime. You won’t have to deal with the lifecycle costs associated with custom software. Plus, there will be an immediate payoff for your initial investment. Purchased software like the Violet platform can be up and running — and solving that pesky fuel consumption problem — within weeks.
- You gain access to better data without sacrificing your own
A pre-made platform often comes with a community of users with supplementary rail system data. This adds context to that energy problem you’re trying to solve. For example, Violet platform users have access to a vast, anonymized benchmark data set. It enables you to assess the effectiveness of your railway’s performance and improve processes.
All platform users contribute to the data set, but that doesn’t mean they don’t own their rail system’s data. At Wi-Tronix, we firmly believe that railways should always have ownership and full visibility of their information.
- Platforms are built for the future
An in-house software solution typically solves one problem, like the on-board fuel inconsistency that operations flagged in our example above. It will address the need you have right now, and it will likely execute that function well. However, it will not scale easily.
This is a clear advantage to purchasing a platform with many functionalities, even if you don’t need them all immediately. Violet platform, for example, has a number of applications that address challenges facing rail systems, including energy monitoring and location tracking. It solves both your “right now” problem and those likely to come up later.
“But what if I have a problem that the platform can’t fix?” you think.
We also have a Customer Success Team dedicated to creating custom solutions for any rail issue that may arise. All our Violet platform users get to reap the benefit of that work: a solution for a single railway results in new features for everyone.
The benefit of buying
In the end, purchasing a software platform for rail data collection, management, and analysis is the best of both worlds. It’s lower cost than building it yourself and you’re prepared to tackle additional issues as they arise. At the same time, you immediately fix the on-board fuel consumption reporting inconsistencies without losing control of your data. When you buy, you’re benefitting your railroad’s future.