The technological needs of the business world have changed dramatically over the past year and a half. Software and hardware solutions now have to be tied to the changing needs of the business environment. As a business leader, this would lead you to ask whether you need hosted or SaaS (software as a service) software solutions for your enterprise.
Hosted vs SaaS: Why is it relevant now?
Technology adoption is often dependent on external socioeconomic factors. While firms may have a roadmap for introducing it, internal systems, processes, and priorities may often stand in their way. The pandemic was the antidote to that sluggishness. It forced companies to reevaluate their existing software architecture because there was an immediate need for remote access.
As onsite employees suddenly became a remote workforce, businesses needed to ensure that they could access their systems from anywhere. The conventional methods of data delivery, for example, over email, couldn’t be counted upon for their inherent disadvantages. It would take more time, be slow, and would have an upper limit on the size of files one could share.
Secondly, work suddenly became asynchronous. Team members working on the same project could work at their schedules with no centralized monitoring. This meant that there would be a systemic and continuous need to access data. Thirdly, the security architecture needed to be beefed up because vital information could now be accessed from several entry points.
So, enterprises of all sizes across sectors have had to upgrade their data storage and management systems. If you’ve also been thinking about upgrading or getting a new software solution, a fundamental question you would ask is whether you should go for hosted or SaaS. To answer that, first, you should understand what it means to have on-premise software.
On-premise software and its problems
The first option is to have your operating system and hardware placed on your premises. Your solution will be installed and run from your site, enabling your team to store, retrieve, and manage data. The biggest advantage of on-premise software is that you have direct control over the hardware and software. But since you’re responsible for its installation and maintenance, you would need the required expertise or trained professionals in your team to maintain and manage the system.
It’s not just the hardware but the software too that will have to be routinely upgraded. On top of that, your team will be responsible for backing up the data routinely. All these will involve significant expenses, especially when you compute them over the long term. Also, in an age of remote work, it would be nearly impossible to access your systems from outside your office. This would not just hamper productivity but bring your operations to a halt.
Other than the costs involved, including the need to keep IT professionals in your team, the other big problem with on-premise software is the risk involved. Any problem in maintenance or a failure to timely upgrade the software could lead to server downtime, and loss of data. If you haven’t backed up your data, the loss could be irreversible.
If you want to get all the advantages of a software solution for example but don’t want to be bothered by its maintenance, hosted solutions should be your option. You can choose a specialized service provider and task them with the maintenance and upkeep of your database and server. The company will host your server in its data center and you’ll be able to access it through a virtual private network (VPN).
With hosted solutions, you’re outsourcing ownership and maintenance of your systems while getting all the benefits. You don’t have to make any significant initial investment or spend on the system’s upkeep. You also don’t have to keep IT team members on your payroll. With a monthly fee, you would have access to the software.
The other advantage in the current climate is that your remotely placed team would be able to access the software. It will also help you scale rapidly without worrying about having to invest in additional hardware.
What if your existing software isn’t suited for your business objectives? What if you don’t want to tie yourself to a system that may prevent you from scaling fast? SaaS solutions would be your answer. Under it, instead of owing software, you will be purely using or subscribing to it.
You would get access to it through your web browsers. You’re not buying the software but paying a monthly fee for using it. This means that you save on the initial investments you would have had to make. You would also not need the services of a professional IT team in your business, because the software provider will take care of everything, from maintenance to upgrades.
Your team can access the system remotely from multiple devices and can also use it on the go. SaaS solutions can also be easily integrated with any of the other cloud services that your enterprise may use. All that you need is a steady internet connection.
If the whole idea of hosted vs SaaS is confusing, all you’ve got to do is remember that you may already be using such solutions. If you’ve ever used Microsoft Word, you’re using an application hosted in your system.
But if you use Google Docs, whatever you save, and access is stored in a Google server. You or any of your team members can access a file from wherever you are, through whatever device you might be using.
Hosted vs Saas digital signages
As a business considering digital signages, you might wonder whether you need hosted or SaaS solutions. You should know the advantages and disadvantages of each system before you decide to invest.
As an on-premise or hosted digital signage, you need to do most of the things. You need to install the software in your systems and have individuals in your team who’re trained to operate and maintain it.
Advantages of hosted or on-premise digital signages
You have control: The ownership resides with you. You get to run and manage the systems without any external help.
You can get it customized: You’re not buying an off-the-shelf solution. If your business demands it, you can get your digital signage hardware and software tailored to your needs.
Disadvantages of hosted or on-premise digital signages
You need to invest a lot: You’ll have to bear the initial expenses and have trained staff to run it at your end.
You won’t get the latest features: Considering all the investments you make, you may not have the bandwidth to continually get new software or upgrade the existing one. This will also prevent you from utilizing the latest technologies in digital signages.
With SaaS digital signages, you’re merely subscribing to the use of the software. You don’t have to worry about getting new servers or getting the staff to manage it.
Advantages of SaaS digital signages
You can get started immediately: You don’t have to wait for installation. With EasySignage, for example, you can set up your digital signage and get started immediately.
You have flexibility: With an on-premise or hosted system, there’s an initial investment you have to make irrespective of your demands. With SaaS providers like EasySignage, you don’t have to pay for services you don’t need.
You can scale it effortlessly: Adding nodes is easy with a SaaS solution. It doesn’t take any extra effort on your part to further your reach.
You don’t need expertise: You don’t need to know anything about software or operating systems. Like with most of the software you already use, you can easily start using a SaaS solution as it’s designed to be user-friendly for non-technical individuals.
You can create and manage your content: If there’s one thing that all EasySignage clients agree on, it’s that content creation and management have become exceedingly easy after using the solution. With integrated apps like Canva, you can create and roll out images, posters, infographics, GIFs, charts, and videos.
Like other software solutions, digital signages offer flexibility. For a small or medium enterprise looking to engage with both internal and external audiences, a SaaS provider like EasySignage would be the perfect choice due to its ease of use, flexibility, scalability, and friendly pricing.