Many organizations need to track, manage and audit their assets and inventory. Unfortunately, some employ inefficient methods or have management needs that outpace their current processes and systems. The need for real-time data and reporting on their assets and inventory is paramount, or they risk costly issues such as inaccuracies, inefficiencies, stock errors, customer dissatisfaction and shrinkage. You need an effective software solution: an asset or inventory management system with the proper features and functions, based on a modern technology platform.
The question is, should you select a cloud-based or on-premise software system for your operational needs? For many businesses, cloud-based systems offer specific advantages and have fewer limitations when compared to locally installed software. The first step is to understand how these types of systems work and how they differ so you can make a decision that best fits the needs of your organization.
UNDERSTANDING ON-PREMISE VS. CLOUD-BASED MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS
What Is an On-Premise Software System?
As its name suggests, on-premise software is locally installed on an organization’s in-house servers behind a company firewall, and is therefore physically located on your premises. Thus, the company is responsible for the security of their server and hardware. Such systems are only accessible on local IT infrastructure or with remote access software. If the organization has not set up remote access, employees cannot view data or complete work off-site. Even locally installed software can still be updated and backed up automatically, however, should the server crash, it is the in-house IT department’s responsibility to fix. The infrastructure, personnel and maintenance costs to run on-premise systems could potentially exceed those of cloud-based software solutions.
What is a Cloud-Based Software System?
Cloud-based applications are hosted by a third-party that provides access to the software system your company needs on a server that is off-site. This solution enables users to access, control and update inventory and asset management records using an internet connection from any location, most usually without time restrictions. If you are a smaller business requiring a cost-effective solution, a cloud-based solution will mean you don’t need servers and an IT department solely to run your asset management or inventory control system. Instead, the cloud solution service provider is responsible for the management of required hardware and software, along with maintaining, updating and securing that infrastructure.
The Differences Between Cloud-Based and On-Premise Management Software Systems
Let’s examine the primary differences between a cloud-based software system and an on-premise software system.
Security – Locally installed software will always be your responsibility to secure and maintain resiliency within your IT infrastructure, a costly proposition for most companies. Large corporations with significant overhead can install on-premise software systems effectively and safely, but for many companies, server security is a challenge. Especially if the organization uses remote access software to provide off-site access, this puts company data at an even greater risk of being hacked without strong authentication to secure it. Additionally, without a robust resiliency plan, including scheduled backups, companies risk losing data in the instance of a server crash. A cloud-based system is hosted (likely in a data center) with critical security infrastructure and world-class resiliency planning, including regularly scheduled data backups that improve the system’s protection from data loss.
Updates – Over time, software gets improved and upgraded; many cloud-based software products are built upon modern code bases, and may include features and functions that older, legacy on-premise systems may not offer. Outdated systems are often sunsetted by the provider, meaning there is no direct update path for that version and it cannot integrate with other business systems. Cloud-based systems are scheduled to update automatically to ensure optimal performance, deploy incremental bug fixes and introduce new features based (usually) on agile development models. By comparison, locally installed software may have less frequent updates and require manual permission if the software is not set up to do so automatically.
Accessibility – Locally installed software means your employees’ access is limited to the organization’s network. Depending on how your on-premise inventory or asset management system is configured, you may only be able to connect to your company’s server locally, meaning you’ll only have access to your data during working hours. Even if the on-premise system is accessible via a remote connection, any server failures outside of normal working hours could mean users are unable to perform their job functions. Cloud-based systems, however, are always connected and can be reached via online at any time (except for scheduled maintenance, which does occur) provided you have an internet connection.
Total Cost of Ownership – In the long run, on-premise systems are more expensive to manage and maintain. Locally installed software requires the hardware to support it, IT professionals to ensure the systems and programs run properly and stay up-to-date and require in-house professionals to fix hardware issues as they arise. By comparison, cloud-based systems are more affordable without such high maintenance costs. Downtime and hardware issues are infrequent and cause minimal delays due to resilience plans employed by these third-party cloud providers.
Deployment – Cloud-based systems can be deployed almost instantly for a swift implementation on the same day, depending on the software’s complexity and setup requirements. But with on-premise systems, the software disks may be shipped or the software must be downloaded before it can be installed by the IT department. This type of complex installation requires deployment on the server itself as well as each of the computers and mobile hardware required for access.
Benefits of Cloud-Based Asset and Inventory Management Systems
Cloud-based asset and inventory management systems are the more beneficial option for most businesses for several reasons. In some cases, organizations with a large overhead and sensitive data, must protect and access their information using an on-premise system, but would require formidable network and server security at a steep cost. But in most other aspects, cloud-based software systems tend to be the superior choice.
Cloud-based software systems are easier to implement and are regularly updated to fix performance issues as needed, ensuring workplace efficiency is maintained. Implementation and deployment of on-premise inventory and asset management systems is often time-consuming and the installation process may be delayed.
Cloud-based inventory and asset management systems require minimal internal IT support. Being responsible for the server and security needed to run your asset management system may be cost-prohibitive. It is far easier to let a third-party safely maintain your solution and address software bugs.
Mobile computing is limited to an organization’s network access with locally installed software, and remote access places data at a significantly higher risk without proper, costly security infrastructure. Cloud-based systems offer real-time access to data whether onsite or off, enabling greater visibility, efficiency and decision-making. Around the clock data accessibility means employees and stakeholders need not be on the premises to view and update important data. Finally, cloud-based systems are more cost-effective. On-premise systems require ongoing IT support, annual software maintenance fees, server maintenance and user licensing costs, all factors that require evaluation as part of the cloud vs. on-premise decision process.
Wasp Cloud vs Wasp On-Premise Solutions – What is Your Best Choice?
Wasp has recently introduced an on-premise version of their Cloud-based software solutions which has created the need of our clients to choose between a cloud or on-premise solution.
There are many items to consider when making your choice. We hope the below helps in helping you make an informed decision.
|Cloud Advantages||On-Premise Disadvantage||On-Premise Advantages||Cloud Disadvantage|
|Highest Level of Convenience Minimal or no Hardware Investment||Costly Infrastructure Investment Costly Upkeep and Maintenance||TCO May be Lower over a 3 to 5 Year Period||TCO May be Higher over a 3 to 5 Year Period|
|Access Anywhere*||Access Limited to Organization’s Network||Local Database may allow for more flexibility for integration||APIs are used for integration and may limit the ability to integrate in some instances|
|Upgrades and Support Included||Costly Upkeep and Maintenance||Investment can be capitalized||Limited Ability to Capitalize the Investment|
|Deploy Instantly No Installation Required**||Longer Deployment Cycle Installation Required||Useable in Secure Environments where Internet Access is not Allowed||Can’t be used where Internet Access is not Allowed|
|Cloud Provider Responsible for Security, Server Hardware, Hardware Maintenance, Backups, and Upkeep||You are responsible for Hardware Infrastructure Maintenance, and IT Security, Backups, and Upkeep|
|Anywhere Mobile Computing*||Mobile Computing Limited to Network Access|
|Minimal Internal IT Support Required||Ongoing IT Support Required|
|No Annual Software Maintenance Feeds||Annual Software Maintenance Fees – 18% of MSRP|
*Internet Connection Required – **Required Web Browser and must install the mobile application to use mobile devices
How can Barcode Shack help your business?
Determining which type of system is most appropriate for your business is a great starting point toward choosing the optimal solution. A free consultation with an industry expert can help further define your requirements and help you select the best solution from the many options on the market. Contact BarcodeShack today for assistance selecting your asset and inventory management solution.