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In times of economic uncertainty, pipeline companies are striving to do more with less. In this environment, the purchase of new integrity management (IM) software can draw intense scrutiny.

Before choosing whether to invest in traditional, on-premise IM software or a dedicated cloud-based SaaS solution, such as CIM, it’s important to drill down into all the purchase and implementation costs. This is the only way to initiate an accurate estimate of the total cost of ownership (TCO).

This blog examines the hidden costs of Purchase and Implementation for IM software. It’s a deeper, more focused investigation of our overview post, Calculating the Total Cost of Ownership for Integrity Management Software.

Entry Costs

The price to access integrity management software is one of the first costs to consider.

For on-premise software, pipeline companies typically pay a sizable, upfront investment for their license. With SaaS, employees gain access for a relatively low subscription fee that reflects the type of license, number of seats and available features. For example, here is a table of OneBridge’s licencing tiers.

Implementation Costs

Software implementation includes determining the tasks, timeline and costs needed to get to the point where engineers can utilize the software to make integrity decisions.

You can break implementation into three broad categories:

  1. Set up
  2. Training
  3. Data migration

A short implementation phase is crucial. The longer implementation takes, the more it costs, and the more it impacts an integrity team’s ability to make timely decisions.

Let’s get into the details of implementation.

Setting up new software

On-premise software requires a pipeline company to supply the necessary IT hardware, infrastructure, backup systems and staff to support the solution.

Set-up is different for a cloud-based solution (like CIM) as the provider hosts the software. That means there’s no need for a pipeline operator to invest in physical IT infrastructure. Since CIM is ready to go, an integrity team gains access much sooner and they can use the software no matter where they’re located.

Training Costs

With any new integrity management software, training is a must.

User training costs vary depending on the number of users and how familiar they are with software. There’s also a cost to train internal IT staff for on-premise systems, an expense that is often overlooked. A SaaS solution requires minimal IT commitment as the service provider facilitates IT support.

Often the user-experience for a SaaS solution has already gone through rigorous testing to ensure that users can adopt it relatively quickly. There is little time spent on trying to patch one system with another and learn how to make them both work.

Transferring data

Integrity management software deals with enormous amounts of data, from pipe tallies to ILI reports to dig results to GIS information. Moving all this information to any new system can be a costly endeavor.

Successful data migration requires:

  • Gathering information from siloed systems
  • Reconciling multiple data formats
  • Identifying and eliminating duplicate records
  • Assigning or hiring people to input data

Data transfer will often drive out the anticipated implementation timeline as it is difficult to predict the workload required until transfer begins. But there’s good news—moving pipeline data to the cloud drastically speeds up data migration.

OneBridge’s CIM uses machine learning and automated data templates to prepare pipeline data for input. This reduces labor and data transfer time, meaning pipeline operators can shorten the data transfer stage, save money and get integrity engineers using the new system sooner.

Integrity management software: Costs over time

On-premise software is the traditional choice, but it’s a dated delivery model.

As the Harvard Business Review once stated, “For all the dollars spent by American companies on R&D, there often remains a persistent and troubling gap between the inherent value of the technology they develop and their ability to put it to work effectively.”

When choosing CIM, instead of fronting all the money, effort and risk, pipeline companies gain near-instant access to a sophisticated integrity management software.

As a SaaS solution, CIM keeps access and implementation costs low, with:

  • Shorter implementation timelines
  • Minimal IT infrastructure purchase and training
  • Automated data transfer

There’s more to calculating an accurate TCO for integrity management software. Look forward to our future blogs reviewing maintenance costs and the essentials of data utilization.