SaaS vs On Premise – which one is for you?

This is a debate that has been a long time coming, ever since we first started discussing SaaS to tiring lengths. That debate is of course SaaS vs on premise. The thing is, while SaaS solves a ton of problems, for the moment, there are cases where it’s just not practical for some businesses, at least when it comes to a given needed solution. Almost any business will make avail of some SaaS, even if it’s something they’d never think of labeling as such.

But, the debate of SaaS vs on premise for your solution at any given moment is not guaranteed to be in favor of SaaS. This will change in the future, for the most part, but this isn’t the future, it’s now. And for now, you may find there are obstacles that you cannot deal with, which SaaS brings about.

On the other hand, you may find that on premise brings obstacles you can’t deal with, but SaaS’s obstacles are all inconsequential for the most part. Right, so I’ve made my first point clear, which is that you may or may not want to choose an SaaS solution for something specific. How the heck do you know?

Well, the first thing to consider is price. Many things determine and affect the magnitude of prices, and all in all, they cost about the same on a corporate and enterprise level. It just depends. Do you already have a fairly contemporary infrastructure of on premise hardware?

If you do, then you’re cutting out one big price brought on by going on premise, which is providing physical computing resources. If you don’t have that, then you’re going to be staring down a much bigger gun barrel at first, price-wise.

However, with SaaS, you’re renting computing from distant locations, given its web served nature to begin with. So, you’re cutting out that first giant investment of hardware if you don’t already have it.

But, the next thing is long term viability and long term price, which is different. In the long term, if you’re going to use the on premise software for a very long time, and are certain no major tweaks or upgrades are going to be necessary, then you have a giant initial software cost, but then it does have the chance to “pay for itself” if it wasn’t too unreasonable.

On the other hand, with SaaS, you’re paying a small price outright and over time. Upgrades are automatic when innovations are made, and a wide range of tweaks can be made effectively. However, that price is continued to be incurred, for the length of the time it is used. It might raise up as well.

So, technically, it can never “pay for itself”, but it’s a shot in the dark for on premise to do it either. It just depends on what shape and pace you want the expense to take here.

Finally, let’s look at the big obstacle you may or may not worry about. That is, of course, is your internet reliable? If your business is in a developed nation, in a populated area (medium to large cities, suburbs or metroplexes), then you’re in good hands in knowing only a world-stopping power outage or catastrophe is apt to disrupt your internet. And it’s likely solid and fast.

If you’re working in a small town in the middle of nowhere, however, slower and less than reliable internet may be a potential problem in cutting you off from records, software and tools.

So, when it comes down to SaaS vs on premise, there’s no one winner. It all comes down to what you need.


Sydney Rootman is the Editor and Lead Writer for SaaSAddict. SaaSAddict shares news and information on SaaS, cloud migration and product marketing, in hopes of fostering discussion and interaction with the professional community.