SaaS, On-Premises or Hybrid? One size doesn’t fit all.

When the time comes for a company to choose the most appropriate digital marketing tech solution to meet their needs, they’re overwhelmed by the myriad of choices at their disposal; there are over 7,000 marketing technology solutions on the market today, so it’s clear the number is anything but a one-size-fits-all.

But, even before opting for one solution over another, we need to make the broader decision of what type of technology infrastructure to implement.

When it comes to multichannel marketing platforms, companies find themselves in front of three main options: Cloud, On-Premises and more recently, Hybrid. What exactly makes one better than the other?

As with so many things, the answer is, it depends. Each one has its own unique advantages, it’s a bit like choosing the type of vehicle you want to drive. Manual or Automatic? We’ve looked at the advantages of each infrastructure in hopes of bringing light to those who may be exploring which one is best for them.

Cloud computing

Getting started with a SaaS solution is the most common way to begin your multichannel digital marketing journey. Many solutions on the market today only focus on providing options in the cloud, as updates are easy and pushed in real time, and no intervention on the customer’s machines by the solution provider is required.

A SaaS solution provides additional benefits, such as:

  • Pay as you go: you just use what you pay for, so a big upfront cost is saved. Should you require more or less resources, it’s just a matter of switching to the plan that best suits your requirements;
  • No hardware to purchase and dispose of: with all the horsepower up there in the cloud, companies are freed up from the hassle of needing to perform regular, periodic hardware maintenance and replacement that a top performing IT infrastructure requires.

Companies benefitting the most from SaaS solutions include smaller companies like startups, and companies operating in industries that have less of a need for custodianship of their data.

This article published by Email Vendor Selection explains how senders with less than 10K in sending volume tend to appreciate the convenience of cloud-based email infrastructure, though sometimes they are just lacking the resources needed to manage complex tasks involved in hosting their own infrastructure.

On-premises

Choosing to go on-premises, i.e. keeping all data and delivery engines in-house, might prove to be the best solution for those who have extremely high demands in terms of both sending performance and data volume. For these subjects, indeed, the advantages we described regarding cloud solutions might turn out to be disadvantages:

  • Buying is less expensive than renting: for high sending volumes, instead of paying for extremely high data volumes, it is preferable to make the big, one-off investment to own a license for the email delivery software. It lets you deliver a number of messages which are only limited by in-house resources rather than cloud provider policies;
  • Faster data transfer times: Not physically owning the hardware can result in longer data transfer times, as all data must travel across the Internet. This also largely depends on bandwidth availability, whereas on-premises’ only limit is the performance of the machines and internal corporate network;
  • Data is more easily controlled and retrieved: with on-premises, it is much easier to control and retrieve data should the need arise, including documenting any changes to consenting to receive communications for privacy purposes. No extra layers exist between the data and their processor, which tends to make the whole process a lot longer and prone to errors. In addition, retention times can be controlled independently, and data can be immediately destroyed in case of such a request.

Even with all the advantages described, an on-premises solution can feel overwhelming, as it requires a fully staffed IT team for implementation and maintenance. This makes it more suitable for large enterprises and institutions, such as those operating in financial services, banking and insurance, as they have great responsibility towards custodianship of their customer data.

For a simple guide on how to approach your sales representative and the right questions to ask before embarking on this choice, we invite you to download this guide.

Hybrid: the best of both worlds

So far, we’ve looked at two approaches at opposite ends of the spectrum: the cloud on one hand, with its cost and maintenance benefits and minimal IT requirements; on the other, the security, privacy and high level of control that on-premises provides.

Recently, a third model is starting to gain popularity, which could offer the best of both worlds. This is known as a hybrid infrastructure, a type of infrastructure where some components are kept on-premises, while others are migrated in the cloud. In the case of email marketing, for example, this could be a setup where the actual platform resides in the cloud, while the customer data remains in-house. Such a scenario has the following benefits:

  • The data resides at home: all security benefits of on-premises are maintained;
  • Instant updates: the platform remains in the cloud, so all updates are instant, and do not need intervention by IT staff to take effect;
  • Cost benefits: since the biggest drawback of the cloud is the price of more and more space to host an ever-increasing amount of data.

Obviously, integrating cloud and on-premises into a hybrid solution do require in-house IT competences, which are not necessary if a full cloud-based solution is chosen.

Conclusion

Each one of these solutions has distinct advantages and disadvantages. The choice largely depends on a company’s marketing strategy and internal IT infrastructure.

As we are aware of the importance of accommodating the many different needs of our clients, here at MagNews we’re able to offer all three of these solutions, coupled with adequate support and monitoring.

Interested in hearing more?

Tommaso Nonis

Technical Content Writer & Translator.