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Installed Software vs. SaaS

Published by in How to Buy Software

Business software comes in many different flavors. Whether you’re looking for something fast and easy to use, or something more robust and flexible, there’s a software model to suit your tastes. The two primary deployment options are the traditional installed approach and the increasingly popular (but still less common) Software as a Service (SaaS) approach. These two models offer different advantages and disadvantages to their users.
installed software vs SaaS

Advantages of Installed Software:

1. Onsite location allows high degree of customizability
2. Being onsite also allows deeper integration with existing IT systems
3. Allows complete control over your own data, security and access permissions

Disadvantages of Installed Software:

1. Large upfront costs
2. Potentially lengthy integration periods
3. Upgrades can be costly and lead to implementation problems

Advantages of SaaS:

1. Faster implementation since software is already up and running online
2. Low upfront cost
3. Economies of scale allow SaaS vendors to handle security issues better than small or midsize businesses could on their own

Disadvantages of SaaS

1. Control of your data is ceded to a third party, and potential platform customization is lessened
2. Subscription fees could be more costly over the long-run than the upfront costs of installed software
3. Should you want to switch platforms or the SaaS vendor becomes insolvent, recovering or migrating your data from their system can be a headache


So which model is right for you? It really depends on your needs. How important are the following: time to market, customization, security, short and long-term costs and remote access? Answering these questions will help you make the right decision.

Looking for Purchasing software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Purchasing software solutions.

About the Author

JP Medved

JP Medved

J.P. was formerly content director at Capterra.


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