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Cloud Computing: Industry SaaS Offering Series

Part 1 - Chemical Inventory Management as a Service

SaaS Will Be the Real Winner
Most industry predictions give a rosy picture for the cloud growth, and placing the highest value on the SaaS (Software as a Service) market.

Independent research firm studies expect the global cloud computing market to reach $241 billion in 2020 compared to $40.7 in 2010. Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offers more growth opportunity than any other segment in the still largely vague market for cloud computing services. SaaS will retain its position as a leading segment in cloud computing with SaaS market growing threefold to $92.8 billion by 2016.

While these numbers may vary due to external factors, SaaS will be an obvious high probability adoption area within the Cloud mainly due to the following reasons:

  • If a business ultimately wanted to concentrate on their core areas and not on IT, SaaS is the only final destination but other service models will still facilitate that journey.
  • With the appropriate level of support from cloud SaaS providers, SaaS gives the highest level of interoperability for the enterprises and avoids vendor lock-in
  • The time-to-market for the enterprises is highly enabled by SaaS

We can even mention more points about why SaaS is important, but as it is an already accepted point, there's not much need to emphasize it. Rather in these series of articles we wanted to analyze various enterprise business process needs and how SaaS at this time is satisfying them. This will provide enterprises with a clear path toward adopting SaaS with an open mind.

Chemical Inventory Management & MSDS

  • All the manufacturing organizations needed to track and document the chemicals and hazardous substances that are used in their plants
  • It is a mandatory legal requirement
  • It also reduces the accidents and make the work place safer
  • These systems need to handle, Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) and chemical related data as well as Safe Use Instructions, Inventory, Regulations, etc.
  • These system have very strict state, federal, EU and Global compliance needs for example
  • They should Support REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals) Regulations for European Union and United Nation's Globally Harmonized Standard (GHS) for MSDSs and Chemical Labeling.
  • As most enterprises have plants across the globe, these systems typically have to be multi lingual with search terms localized
  • Requires integration with multiple suppliers
  • Reporting in the agreed formats for compliance needs

Why SaaS Model Suits Chemical Inventory Management
As the aim of this series of articles is to promote SaaS adoption for enterprises, here are some of the thought process why as to why this business process suits a SaaS Service Model :

  • While every organization wanted to ensure the safety of their plants and employees using the chemicals, this business process is not part of their core manufacturing life cycle, and hence organizations would like to reduce the capital and operational expenditure on this business process
  • Growing compliance needs makes enterprises modify their custom software several times, which results in a huge investment and they don't have resources to meet the deadlines, while a SaaS model ensures the SaaS provider makes the changes on behalf of several tenants
  • This process is highly similar in nature across organizations and not very difficult to provide a common multi-tenant model for it
  • As these are highly mandated compliance needs, even the small players needed this business process although they may not have enough resources to produce an in-house system
  • This system typically has large storage and archival needs and hence a cloud-based storage system will be more adaptable
  • As a global process, this needs to be accessed from various parts of the worldand with appropriate localization needs
  • The interfaces to this process is standardized and different organizations need not reinvent the wheel with respect to operations like Bulk loading, queries, etc.

Players: The following content describes some of the players that provide the chemical inventory management business process as a service. This list is not a comprehensive and does not convey any vendor preference. Enterprises are requested to evaluate them using their standard procedures. However, as the aim of this series of articles is to promote SaaS adoption, it is aimed at giving confidence to enterprises about overwhelming support for SaaS models for various business processes.

IMTEK Environmental: The Online MSDS Management Solution is a hosted service. It does not require any specialized software installation, new hardware or IT resources. All future improvements are automatically available at no cost so you will never have to worry about upgrading to keep up with new versions again. This online system is always available 24/7/365 globally via an internet connection and an Internet Explorer browser. Further information about this offering can be obtained from their web site, http://onlinemsds.com/msds4/mics/index.asp

Msdsonline.com: MSDSonline is focused on helping businesses of all sizes improve the management of chemical products and material safety data sheets (MSDSs), which today are still largely underserved by paper-based MSDS management systems and processes.

The new web-based platform is designed to help environmental, health and safety professionals better manage the full lifecycle of hazardous chemicals used throughout their organization. It provides greater control over, and better insight into, their company's complete hazardous chemical footprint. It also facilitates compliance and reporting requirements with various state, federal and international regulations.

Further information about this offering can be obtained from their web site. http://www.msdsonline.com/

Actio: Actio's solution for environmental compliance for quality assurance is a powerful system that's easy to use. Actio's solutions provide the supplier quality management solution for handling international lists of hazardous substances that combines updated data tables of international chemical regulations, product manufacturing ingredient chemical data, components and parts - all in a single, secure, web-based SaaS platform. One aspect of this revolutionary quality assurance toolset is ensuring that the right MSDS, SDS extended-SDS, and GHS data is accessible to the right people at the right time, on-demand, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Further information about this offering can be seen from their web site, http://www.actio.net/default/index.cfm/products/

Summary
As stressed already the aim of this article is not to rank the SaaS providers or promote them. The article supports the adoption of SaaS or Business Process as a Service model for the enterprises. It is difficult to cover all the services in this space and only a few sample vendors are highlighted. This article can be extended later as we find more offerings in this space.

More Stories By Srinivasan Sundara Rajan

Highly passionate about utilizing Digital Technologies to enable next generation enterprise. Believes in enterprise transformation through the Natives (Cloud Native & Mobile Native).

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