It’s no secret that software is a major driver of modern business.
Technological infrastructures are what services are built on these days, and it’s essentially a foregone conclusion to say that you can’t survive, much less compete, today without a strong software support system.
However, there are pros and cons to every decision you make intending to better your organization.
The decision between enterprise software or SaaS software as the model for your marketing and SEO infrastructure is certainly subject to the same laborious decision-making you apply to any other aspect of your business.
There is nothing inherently better or worse about enterprise or SaaS software. There are differences, to be sure, but which is right for you will come down to your business’s size, needs, and financial capabilities.
So, how do enterprise software and SaaS software differ?
Let’s find out.
Choosing Marketing Software For Your Business
Let’s say you’re the chief technology or marketing officer of an enterprise business (or anyone else who makes these decisions).
You know there are gaps in your abilities as a company to serve your customers, and you know that a significant portion of those gaps is due to technological deficiencies.
If you know your business and operations well enough, you can probably conjure up some solid ideas of where you’re currently falling short and what you need in a software upgrade.
Here are some examples of concerns you might raise:
- Our current software infrastructure isn’t collaboration friendly, and the teams have complained about lost communication and productivity.
- Customers say they have difficulty interacting with their accounts on our website, but we can’t address their concerns in the current system.
- Our marketing software can’t integrate with various other applications, but we know that a new system would be able to handle them.
Knowing where you are with your needs vs. your capabilities is such a big step – and if you’ve already identified that there is a problem, congratulations.
Further congratulations are in order if you have the means and the approval to upgrade.
The next issue is already on the horizon, though, and it’s essentially the title of this post.
Which software model will be right for you, enterprise or SaaS?
You can’t know until you understand their differences, so let’s get into them.
What Is Enterprise Software, And Who Is It For?
Both types of software are meant to improve business operations by better serving the organization and its customers.
In its most basic form, enterprise software is the technology that meets the needs and solves the problems of enterprise businesses.
So, whatever an enterprise-level business needs to function, the software can handle, whether those needs involve customer relations, technical support, email integration across applications, or team collaboration.
Enterprise software creates efficiencies and allows for greater productivity.
However, here’s the crux of it, in contrast with SaaS software: Enterprise software is owned by the business.
It’s software that has been developed and installed on-site, and that can be accessed locally.
It’s proprietary software; once completed, the business owns it from top to bottom.
There are plenty of upsides to springing for enterprise software.
You choose the developers who have the technical capabilities you need.
You get to work with them to tell them everything you require regarding functionality and support, which is key because this will be your business’s software.
The software will do what you need it to, and its design will be based entirely on your operations.
To summarize: Enterprise software is custom-built for you and will respond to your every whim.
You host it on-site, know the security measures around that hosting, and are free to change its functionality as the need arises.
The matchup sounds perfect, but there is still a catch or two.
Full-stack custom software development is no easy task, so the price tag for a business to commission and own enterprise software can be hefty.
We’re talking about a number that most likely falls in the six-figure range, even up to three-quarters of a million.
If I could be flippant for a moment: They don’t call it enterprise software for nothing.
The implied conclusion is that enterprise software is meant for the most established enterprise companies – those with the freed-up budget to pay for custom-built proprietary software.
It is always going to be a question of convenience versus money.
Your enterprise software might cost a lot more upfront but it will pay dividends in its ease of use, full integration with all your other software components and generally low (but still present) upkeep costs over time.
What Is SaaS Software, And Who Is it For?
Now that you understand enterprise software and what it entails, the definition of SaaS software may be falling into place for you.
In contrast to enterprise software, SaaS refers to “software as a service.”
The greatest overall difference between the two is that SaaS is software that you pay a monthly subscription fee to use, not one that you own for yourself.
Like enterprise software, SaaS software is a valuable tool in streamlining business operations and ultimately bringing better services or products to your customers.
But let’s talk about the main differences.
Proprietary enterprise software represents a sea change in how your business handles things in-house.
SaaS software, meanwhile, won’t upset the flow of things too much.
It’s relatively easy to bring in because it was set up to work a certain way, and that’s how it will always work.
The provider’s support team can guide you in using the platform, and that’s another benefit: You have access to a help desk or customer service line for whatever you need regarding the software.
You can use the provider as a resource if you’re paying for the service.
The final major benefit to discuss with SaaS (one of the primary differences between SaaS and enterprise software) is the cost.
With SaaS, you pay a monthly fee to use the software, and that’s it.
If you need maintenance or updating with anything, it’s all accounted for and handled in your plan.
That monthly fee, by the way, will be significantly less than the upfront costs of hiring a development team to build you an infrastructure from scratch.
So, on one hand, SaaS is more immediately affordable than enterprise software, and its fee structure will allow you to predict your business’s future budget.
On the other hand, though, what you save in money, you pay for in convenience (at least somewhat).
SaaS can be custom-fitted to your needs as much as possible, but that’s the thing: its possibilities are limited.
You are not guaranteed functionality in all the areas your business requires, because it wasn’t built specifically for you.
In that vein, you also shouldn’t expect that SaaS software will be able to integrate all your current programs and applications because, once again, its functionality is limited to how it was originally built.
One final issue worth mentioning is that SaaS software makes some business leaders uncomfortable due to its shared hosting.
It depends on your philosophy on this topic, but with enterprise solutions, you’re running the security of your software and data.
With SaaS, you’re grouped with your provider and everyone using the platform.
A breach of one could mean a breach of others.
So, it behooves you to perform your due diligence on any SaaS providers you’re considering to get a handle on the security measures you can expect when you use the service.
Will You Choose Enterprise Or SaaS Software?
I hope you now feel much more comfortable deciding whether enterprise software or SaaS software is best for you and your marketing organization.
The pros and cons should be clear to you.
While enterprise software will be much more time-intensive and expensive, you will appreciate its fully customizable functionality.
And, just as you know that using SaaS software will afford you a much smaller price tag and predictable budget, you’ll also be aware that it may not do every little thing you need because it wasn’t made just for you.
Which one you choose comes down to your resources, business size, needs, and where you predict all of these things to be in the future.
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