The market for cloud based software services continues with robust growth. Sometimes referred to as Software as a Service (SaaS), cloud based software is resident on servers on the Internet – in the cloud, as it were. On the other hand On Premise ECM systems represent more than 80% of all applications and consist of software and data files resident on your network, behind your company firewall. With strong growth of SaaS services and offerings there is a lot of discussion as to pros and cons. Gartner estimates that the market for cloud based services is expected to grow by 18% in 2013. The debate over which direction to take is here to stay.
In that regard, we encourage our customers not to assume that this is an either-or proposition. Based upon discussion with your organization, we can help you decide which is best. It may be an either- or proposition. It may also be a yes-and proposition. Based upon your unique needs, we may find that a hybrid strategy could be employed wherein certain documents are deployed via the cloud and others resident On Premise. Here’s the big picture on Cloud vs. On Premise.
Cloud Based ECM
Especially for small to medium sized businesses, cloud based computing can provide a means for them to lower costs and risk. Since cloud based users aren’t typically purchasing software licenses, attendant annual renewal fees and server hardware, costs are kept to a minimum. Most SaaS ECM systems can be implemented easily and while the software comes as a part of the service, users will typically pay a monthly fee based upon the amount of storage consumed. Here are some of the other benefits:
Virtually unlimited access to your documents via the internet
Predictable monthly operating costs
Eliminates need for hardware such as servers, databases and storage systems
Eliminates need for dedicated IT support – especially important for smaller businesses
Disaster Recovery posture for your organization
Improved security – many data centers are SAS70 certified for security purposes and third party vulnerability auditing
As with all things, there are limitations to cloud based computing. If your organization is simply averse to the notion of storing key documents at a remote data center – regardless of security assurances – you will be limited to On Premise systems. One of the key limitations to the SaaS model has to do with the natural limitations imposed by data centers for security and other reasons that can restrict your ability to integrate the ECM system with other local line of business applications, such as ERP systems. For example, an On Premise ECM may make use of internal data tables from other systems that may not be directly accessible in the SaaS version. And finally, with SaaS models that bill you monthly based upon storage space consumed, you will need to think through your current and projected document volumes and project out a monthly cost. We can help you with this and many of our smaller users start with the SaaS version and transition to the On Premise version as costs dictate. Either way, make sure your documents can be migrated at a reasonable price from the SaaS system in question.