Krista McKay
July 11, 2023

Understanding Cloud-based Transportation Management Software

Stack of shipping containers with a cloud in the corner

What is Cloud-based Transportation Management Software?

Transportation management software is used by freight movers and companies that need to move freight. The software gives digital tools to these businesses to help manage the process of moving the freight, rather than relying on paper, emails, spreadsheets and phone calls. One of the most notable innovations in recent years is the introduction of cloud-based transportation management systems (TMS).

Software that is cloud-based means that the software is hosted on remote servers "in the cloud" rather than on a user's own computer or server. A user accesses the software and data over the internet through either a web browser (such as Google Chrome or Safari) or through an App. The software, as well as the infrastructure to use the software and the storage of the data, is managed and maintained by the provider of the cloud service, not by the user.

A cloud-based TMS is a software solution that helps businesses manage their transportation operations, including freight management, carrier selection, routing, scheduling, and payment processing – all via the cloud

What are the benefits of using a cloud-based TMS?  

It’s more cost-effective

One of the biggest benefits of a cloud-based TMS is its cost-effectiveness. Traditional TMS solutions require businesses to invest in expensive hardware and software, as well as in-house IT staff to manage and maintain them. Cloud-based TMS eliminates these costs, as it is hosted on remote servers, and businesses only pay for the services they use. The service provider is responsible for managing the infrastructure -including servers and databases – as well as software updates and customer support.

Scalability is key

An important benefit is the scalability of a software solution hosted in the cloud. As businesses grow, their needs may change, requiring more or less capacity. With cloud-based TMS, businesses can easily scale their operations up or down without the need for significant investment in additional hardware or software. 

It's more flexible

Cloud TMS is generally more flexible. Most cloud-based TMS solutions are charged as software as a service (SaaS) – you only pay for the features and size you need. As your business grows and changes you can modify what you need and how you use your TMS. Cloud-based TMS also allows businesses to add new users and functionality as required, making it an ideal solution for businesses that are growing, or those that need to adapt to changing market conditions

Improved visibility in real-time

Cloud-based TMS provides real-time visibility into transportation operations, allowing businesses to track shipments, monitor carrier performance, and identify potential issues in real-time. Cloud-based TMS allows any user of a connected eco-system to access data and see the same accurate and up-to-date information.  This means communication is improved and errors are reduced.

Accessible anywhere

Cloud-based TMS is accessible from anywhere with an internet connection. It is accessible on many types of devices –desktop computers, laptops, tablets and smart-phones. It is an ideal solution for businesses that operate across multiple teams and locations. It is convenient for remote work and gives users on-the-go access and use.

It’s always up-to-date

Using a TMS that is cloud-based has the advantage of always being up-to-date. Unlike software and hardware that is purchased and held on premise, in the case of cloud-based software the provider will ensure both the software and the associated infrastructure is up-to-date. This means the user will always have the most up-to-date version of the software. In the case of M2X, our developers release software updates approximately every two weeks, so users are always using the best version of the software.

Easy maintenance

Security and system maintenance is also the responsibility of the service provider. This means the service provider is responsible for not only software updates, but also security patches, and system maintenance, thus relieving the users of these tasks.  

No expensive upgrades

Using cloud-based software usually also means that there are no expensive upgrades to your software or hardware. This is in stark contrast to on-premise software solutions where the customer will often have to invest further to upgrade software and equipment over time, as the technology they are using becomes obsolete or no longer fit for purpose.


What is Software as a Service (SaaS)? Is this the same as cloud-based software?

 SaaS software is software that is hosted in the cloud and made available to customers over the internet. Usually with SaaS, customers pay a subscription fee to access and use the software, typically as a monthly or annual fee. The fees are often charged on a per-user or per-feature basis. Some popular SaaS applications include Google Workspace, Salesforce and Slack.


M2X –Cloud-based TMS

 In the Transportation Management space, M2X is a popular cloud based TMS that is a SaaS application. Enterprises and Carriers use M2X Apps to manage and optimize their freight. The M2X Apps are all hosted in the cloud and can be accessed at any time over the internet. The M2X developers are constantly improving the product – any updates are automatically accessible to all users via the cloud.


Overall, there are many benefits to a company using a cloud-based TMS – it's more cost effective, the technology remains up-to-date and modern, it's accessible anywhere with an internet connection and there is no need for expensive upgrades. As the transport industry continues evolving, businesses that adopt cloud-based TMS will be better equipped to adapt and stay ahead of their competitors.

About the author

Krista McKay

Krista McKay


Krista is a Director of M2X, based in the Auckland office. She is especially excited about helping companies operating in the primary industries improve the efficiency and sustainability of their businesses by using smart technology and optimisation.

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