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Pipeline companies might think they’re saving money over time by developing (or outright purchasing) an in-house/on-premise integrity management solution. But on-premise software costs, such as maintenance, which are easy to miss at first, add up over time. Often, much more than expected.

To get the full picture, operators must consider the future expense of hosting and managing their own integrity management solution.

Maintenance costs for on-premise software

A sizeable segment of the TCO (total cost of ownership) for integrity management software is maintenance, which begins at purchase and continues forever. Month after month, year after year, an on-premise solution demands IT resources as long as the software exists.

Here are some of the expenses a pipeline operator incurs when it comes to managing on-premise software:

Security – Hackers target pipeline companies, so keeping the integrity department secure is critical. The onus to maintain cybersecurity for in-house software falls to in-house IT staff, who must continually hone their skills and capacity to address the latest threats.

Updates – With software hosted on-site in a company’s data center, internal teams have to carry out all hardware and control updates (planning, deploying and validating software changes). These updates can be costly, not to mention time-consuming, for an IT department that may already be stretched thin.

Day-to-day support – Overseeing an integrity management solution means always ensuring that engineers have access to the data they need to manage the pipeline. Internal IT staff are responsible for system uptime and processes, including administration, configuration and user management.

Industry-specific updates – Integrity engineers need the most current data to make intelligent decisions. However, to ensure this, an operator must maintain and update vital information and databases, such as PODS, APDM, UPDM and GIS. When updates are manual, it takes a large, costly team to keep data current.

Scaling the system – When it’s time to scale up an on-premise solution, it requires an enormous amount of resources. This could mean stretching an already thin IT department or employing additional staff (at an added cost, of course).

Although it’s tempting to capture your integrity engineers’ expertise in bespoke tools and applications, over the long run, you’re locking yourself into a potentially higher cost for maintenance. These ongoing expenses may hit outside the integrity department, but they still need to be accounted for in software TCO.

While discovering the actual cost of maintenance is disheartening, it does provide an opportunity to examine the benefits of CIM’s subscription model.

Advantages of a no-maintenance SaaS solution

With SaaS solutions, the provider (OneBridge in the case of CIM) focuses all their investments, technology and expertise on advancing the software, which is a boon for pipeline companies. As the Forbes Technology Council puts it, “The burden of product development, quality assurance, maintenance, platform migration and patch fixes are owned by the solution provider, while in-house development will usually require years of continued development beyond the initial project scope.”

OneBridge partners with operators to guarantee a sustainable platform.

  • CIM takes advantage of the latest technologies, reflects best-in-class practices and fulfills your needs now and into the future.
  • Industry updates can be done automatically, potentially saving a pipeline company thousands of dollars in development and consulting fees.
  • SaaS easily scales up to grow with your business or scales down to conserve corporate resources.
  • OneBridge handles maintenance issues, cybersecurity, disaster recovery and other IT concerns so that clients don’t have to.

Pipeline companies need solutions of the highest quality. Considering all of a software’s lifetime costs lets department leads, engineers and IT staff find a solution that provides the best value.

In upcoming posts, we’ll dig further into TCO, data cleanup and utilization.