Guest Post from Pat Yu* of Accero. We are happy to make Mr. Yu’s insights available to our readers as they are important considerations for companies considering alternative data and systems management strategies. Enjoy this post:
To host or not to host . . . That’s ultimately the critical question when it comes to major internal system deployments, such as human capital management (HCM) solutions. To help you move toward a smart, strategic decision, here is a high-level overview of each model:
Still widely used by most companies, licensed software delivery often provides user’s more control. You purchase a license, install the software and use your internal resources to manage and configure or customize the solution. When companies purchase licenses for a major software solution, they are ultimately responsible for all aspects of application management, including: installing upgrades, troubleshooting issues and hardware maintenance.
Hosting is most often provided today in the form of Software as a Service, or SaaS. In this model, the vendor hosts the solution and users access it via the web. One of the key benefits of selecting a hosted model, besides the scalability and convenience of 24×7 web access, is the fact that the software provider is responsible for:
- Managing both the software and hardware components of the application
- Network issues such as redundancy, data backup and disaster recovery planning
- Managing the data center or centers that deliver the application
- Upgrading the software automatically for customers on a regular schedule
A checklist for decision makers
Hosting in and of itself is simply a delivery model. A software application must meet your business requirements; how it is delivered (licensed vs. SaaS) may be part of your requirement, but it should not be the primary factor. Follow the checklist below to help your organization determine which solution best fits your needs:
- Clearly define your business requirements
- Inventory solution providers (licensed and hosted)
- Evaluate systems to ensure they meet your high priority requirements
- Consider growth strategies and make sure the solution will scale to match
- Prepare a minimum four-year cost analysis to evaluate cost of ownership (this should include the cost to host the solution in house if you are considering a traditional license – and the IT resources needed to manage it)
- Review implementation timeframe (SaaS is often faster to deploy)
- Consider other costs – IT resources, hardware, software, time, etc.
*Pat Yu is the Director of Product Development at Accero, a Payroll, Human Resources and Human Capital Management software and service provider. Visit www.accero.com or call 800.429.2674.