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The Cupboard vs. The Cloud

By Jessica Marshall on Mon 11 September 2017 in SaaS

In this blog, we’ll be delving into 6 reasons why SaaS wins the on-premise vs. SaaS battle, plus we’ll be giving you some actionable advice as to what steps you can take in your small business to embrace the cloud once and for all… 

First, let’s tackle the phrase “the cloud”. It’s a pretty odd name for something that doesn’t even resemble a fluffy white object in the sky. It’s really much, much more than that. 

The cloud can be best described as a service (hence the term ‘Software-as-a-Service’ or ‘SaaS’), not a physical product. The cloud enables us to share and access resources, software, and information across many different devices via the internet. This simplification of business processes has meant the cloud is heavily influencing the way organisations use IT in business.

But despite its rise to popularity, on-premise has traditionally been the most popular delivery method for enterprise and consumer applications. On-premise usually means that a licence is purchased outright, and is required for each server and/or each end user. Then, the software is installed and operated from the company’s own in-house server (in “the cupboard”) and computers, making the business responsible for the maintenance of their in-house systems, security and management of the in-house software. 

Having said that, you can rest assured that “the cloud” isn’t a fad or a phase - Gartner has reported that by 2019, over 30% of the 100 largest vendors' new software investments will have shifted from cloud-first to cloud-only. This proves that the move to the cloud is a strategic decision that some of the biggest companies and vendors in the world are adopting. 

With all that in mind, let’s take a look at 6 reasons why SaaS rules, and specifically how a cloud-based Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system could benefit your business: 
1. Security  
You may have thought that having a server on-premise is safer and more secure – but unfortunately, you’re wrong. Storing your server in the cupboard of your office actually presents greater security risks, and becomes quite a hassle when you’re trying to run a business. It not only puts IT responsibility/security in the hands of your business, but there is an increased security risk if damage occurs to your in-house infrastructure and if your data is not backed up to another system.  

With SaaS, the vendor hosts the software, not you, so they take on the responsibility of maintaining security and disaster recovery. Many SaaS models put security at the forefront of business importance, and hold data in safe platforms such as the Microsoft Azure cloud where regular, automatic data backups occur. Plus, Microsoft invests $1 billion year-on-year on cyber security, so it’s more secure than your cupboard will ever be. Think about it this way – would you risk the potential loss or misplacement of your customers’ information? If the answer is ‘no’, then moving to the cloud is clearly more important than you may have originally thought. 

2. Cost 
Lower upfront costs are always going to appeal to businesses, especially if you’re in the SME world, right? If so, then a SaaS CRM solution might be the answer to your financial woes! Typically, SaaS is a subscription-based model, often requiring a monthly payment, so say goodbye to those off-putting, large upfront costs. Also, cloud-based solutions are generally cheaper because you only pay for what you use. Normally, upgrade costs are minimal, and the pricing structure is typically flexible (normally, you pay an implementation cost and then a recurring monthly fee). On the other hand, an on-premise solution can be costly in terms of purchasing and maintaining services in your building, and you’re not able to be as flexible as you could be if everything was stored on the cloud. With a SaaS solution, you’ll have a clearer idea of your costs, allowing your business better budget control.  

3. Time  
With an on-premise system, you’re responsible for software upgrades which are often costly in time, not just money. On the other hand, a SaaS CRM provider will handle all the upgrades with limited involvement from your company and should keep you informed on when each one will be occurring. 

4. Implementation  
Cloud-based projects are often deployed pretty quickly after you’ve signed the contract. So there’s less waiting around, allowing your business to make best use of the software immediately.  

5. Growth  
As your business grows with SaaS your business solutions can easily grow with you and be called up with minimal time and effort or if necessary, they can also be scaled down easily. On-Premise systems require longer term planning and commitment of resources for growth.  

6. Access 
A cloud-based CRM system provides one centralised database to be used throughout your organisation. This enables all your employees to access important records, positively impacting on your relationships with customers and suppliers.  
As SaaS software is hosted on the cloud, it’s accessible on mobile devices whenever they are connected to the internet. This provides your team with more flexibility to work outside of the office. 

It’s pretty apparent that SaaS solutions are being adopted by SMEs over on-premise ones, and all the research points to the fact that the benefits definitely outweigh the drawbacks. Hopefully you now feel more confident in asking the right questions to potential CRM vendors, and will find a solution that ticks all the boxes for your business!