Cloud-Based MRO IT Systems | Aerospace Tech Review

18th Feb 2022

This article was orignally published in the Winter 21/22 edition of Aerospace Tech Review


by James Careless


The IT world is moving to the cloud, and MRO-centric IT systems are no exception. Mindful of the many customer advantages offered by cloud-based solutions, MRO software providers now offer their platforms as both cloud-based and on-premises applications.


Why The Cloud Makes Sense


There are many reasons why cloud-based MRO IT systems make sense for airlines and MROs.


A big plus is that users pay for them via predictable monthly payments, leaving the big costs of new software, on-premises system maintenance and upgrades to the vendors to handle. Granted, these costs are passed onto the airlines and MROs as part of their monthly fees, but they are manageably spread over time, rather than turning up every now and then as large CAPEX/OPEX expenses.


"The benefits of cloud-based MRO IT systems are primarily that you as a business don't then need to worry about maintaining and updating systems and servers yourself," said David Purfurst, Rusada global pre-sales director. "By choosing a cloud-hosted solution you can guarantee a fixed monthly hosting cost and avoid any large one-off costs that on-premises hosting can incur."


Cloud-based MRO IT systems can also make vital airline-related information tracking web-accessible. For instance, "Rusada's ENVISION solution is used to manage the functions of Airworthiness, MRO and Flight Operations for over 100 aircraft operators and maintainers around the world," said Purfurst. "In 2017 we introduced the first web-based iteration of ENVISION, and since 2018 this has been available as a cloud-based solution. "Collectively, our ENVISION system enables work to be planned, assigned, executed, and recorded for base, line, and component maintenance, as well as the management of inventory. It also acts as a repository for all documentation, data, records, and processes. Having all this information on one platform allows for sophisticated forecasting and analysis for continual business improvement."


What Makes Systems Stand Out?


The makers of cloud-based MRO IT systems are constantly finding ways to update their products, both to stay competitive and to bring more features to airlines and MROs. To help our readers understand the key features of these systems, ATR asked vendors to tell us what makes their particular products stand out.


"Since moving to a fully web-based solution we have been able to offer greater functionality and connectivity to our customers," David Purfurst said. "Faster loading times, streamlined user interfaces, live dashboards, and flexible APIs have all come as a result of this change, creating a significantly improved user experience."


In 2019, Rusada launched a Technical Publications module on its cloud-based MRO IT system. It allows airlines and MROs to upload aircraft maintenance manuals into the ENVISION system and create an entire library of electronic task cards. "These can then be customized, signed-off electronically, and easily updated upon revision, removing the need for paper task cards," said Purfurst. "More recently we have increased our customer's mobility through the release of two new apps in 2021, ENVISION Tasks for maintenance execution and ENVISION Stock for inventory management, and a further app, ENVISION Flights, earlier this month."


What's Next?


As impressive as these cloud-based MRO IT systems are, the companies interviewed for this article foresee many more features becoming available in the years to come.


"The technologies that stand to make the most impact in the MRO IT space will be AI for planning and prediction models, and VR for remote inspections," Purfurst projects. "This is another reason why having a modern, web-based platform for MRO IT is vital as it will be much easier to integrate with and adopt these new technologies as they advance."


The Bottom Line


Taken as a whole, cloud-based MRO IT systems offer clear, tangible and cost-effective benefits to the airlines and MROs who use them. As the IT world continues to move more platforms onto the web, the day will likely come when this is not only the preferred way for users to access these services — but the only way.