Making a decision on new software can be an overwhelming and stressful undertaking, especially as a public transportation agency or department that has countless administrative hoops to jump through to make your case. But in our experience deploying commercial vehicle operations (CVO) solutions for customers across the United States, we have identified five things you should consider when evaluating International Registration Plan (IRP) and International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) software solutions, including:
- User Permission
- Carrier Experience
- Together or Separate
- Data Quality
- Fee Management
In our first blog in this five-part series, we will focus on one feature that is easy to overlook: user permissions. While this seemingly mundane aspect of your day-to-day operations might not be top of mind or an exciting feature, user permissions are crucial to operations. It is vital to consider permissions to keep sensitive data as secure as possible.
Before distilling individual user permissions, it’s critical to understand the primary user groups that interact with the software. In most jurisdictions, three primary user groups are key in managing IRP and IFTA credentials:
- Agency users –Employees at the state agency responsible for managing carrier’s credentials, and receive registration and tax payments.
- Carrier users – Carrier representatives managing credentials for an individual carrier’s fleets.
- Process agents – Agents that represent multiple carriers. This role gives these users access to multiple carriers and can help gate usage based on carrier preferences.
User groups are defined within the relevant personas to better manage the user experience while also satisfying security requirements. Allowing users to access information they need to do their jobs, no more and no less.
Dynamic user permissions pave the way to deliver a more relevant user experience to the end user as well. By defining actions and access privileges for defined user groups, the application can deliver copy and functionality designed to fit the user’s mental model and ultimately reduces interaction cost. These user groups should offer configuration options so you can customize access and security to meet yours and the end-user’s needs. Saving time, and improving the quality of information provided through the application is a win-win-win for the customer, the end-user, and the application.
Ease of use
A key feature to evaluate when investigating software-as-a-service (SaaS)-based IRP/IFTA solutions, is the ease of implementing user permissions and the administrative capabilities. Empowering administrators to easily manage authorized users is a powerful feature when considering the time constraints on the personnel charged with managing the solutions. It is a simple feature but be sure the solution has an intuitive interface that allows you to quickly view and manage user permissions.
Size does matter
If you are a smaller agency, consider solutions that provide more general permission management with fewer roles and parameters to limit the complexity of your system. For larger organizations, user roles are likely to be more granular to provide the flexibility to create permissions that meet the required security guidelines.
Integration is key
Another overlooked feature in user permissions is how they interact with other integrated systems. Many organizations are moving to a single-sign on approach to application credential management. These tools can simplify interactions with key software solutions, but may require some additional integration time with other systems. Be sure to understand the benefits of an extensible SaaS solution related to interoperability and single-sign on when evaluating solutions. It is highly desirable to allow user permissions to carry from one platform to the next.
The Bottom Line
Evaluating solutions can be daunting, but it is important that you identify your state’s specific needs and goals when implementing a new SaaS-based IRP/IFTA solution. This will help you steer your state in the right direction when looking at software side by side and enable you to prioritize your requirements.
In the second part of our blog series, we will explore the next consideration we think is important when evaluating IRP/IFTA SaaS solutions: carrier experience.