With a number of airlines and MRO companies either requiring professional MRO software for the first time or needing to upgrade to a new system, the commercial aviation maintenance software sector is currently a growth area. But what are the most important factors to consider when making the choice about which software to use?
Many of the successful MRO software systems in use today have been designed with specific industry needs in mind. Ronald Schaeuffele, CEO of Swiss AviationSoftware, says the main advantage of these best of breed (BoB) solutions is that “they more easily adapt to constantly changing requirements and that due to the many community inputs they are forced to include industry innovations at an early stage”.
The scale and magnitude of systems implementation requirements also plays a role in an organisation’s decision to move forward with a vendor solution, according to Mxi Technologies’ product marketing manager James Elliott. “Beyond the functional scope of the offering, clients need to feel confident that the vendor will deliver the software promise in a means that minimises time, effort, cost and impact to the organisation,” he notes.
Configurability is another important issue in deployment, as each client will have different needs. TRAX managing director Chris Reed says it is important to keep a “permanent upgrade path” available for customers and “use the configuration possibilities to allow each customer to have slightly different functionality, but within the same core application”.
Clearly, there is a lot of potential in the MRO software market. Elliott thinks that only a small percentage of MRO organisations are running “anything close” to a modern IT solution, while Schaeuffele says that because of the increased complexity in aviation maintenance and tightened airworthiness regulations, many airlines “have been forced to buy professional MRO software for the first time or to upgrade to a new system”.
So what do companies ultimately want from their new software? The answer probably depends on who you ask, but for Reed, “customers are looking for an off-the-shelf MRO management solution that can be implemented with the minimum amount of fuss, is easy to use, and is popular in the community”. He notes that data sharing is becoming more important and solutions that allow greater connectivity with the community are becoming “more critical”.
For a full report on the MRO software market, see the August-September issue of Aircraft Technology Engineering & Maintenance, coming soon.