So, you recognise the need for the processing of accurate and up-to-date product data. And you know that such benefits can be realised through the integration of a Product Information Management (PIM) system. However, you’re unsure of whether to make use of your existing IT resources or have your PIM hosted in the cloud. Read on as we highlight the respective pros and cons of these two choices.
PIM SaaS & On-premises PIM Software - Key Differences
On-premises PIM integration has traditionally been the first choice of busy business owners. In such instances the PIM technology is bought under a licence, before being installed and stored on the business’s own servers. Most organisations realise the need to hire specialist staff members for the operation and maintenance of such in-house technology.
The alternative and increasingly popular option is to arrange for product information stored and maintained through the use of a PIM Software as a Service (SaaS) solution. While there is some variation depending on the customer’s internal infrastructure, this option allows for as much, if not more accessibility and shareability of product data in line with set security measures. It gives staff members the ability to access product data and collaborate in real-time despite geographical separation. Having said that, the setting up of VPN, Citrix or similar may be a significant investment.
Your business requirements should have a direct bearing on the choice of on-premises or remote SaaS solutions. Associated trade-offs should be considered before making a final decision.
Good PIM implementation
- on-premises PIM vs. PIM SaaS solutions
You should be aware that there are a variety of hidden costs associated with the installation, use and maintenance of on-premises PIM systems. In addition to the immediately obvious software licensing, there will also be a need to cover the costs of implementation, customisation, and maintenance. There’s sure to be some variation in the costs of employing and training specialist IT personnel, depending on the scale and structure of your internal systems. However, staffing costs won’t be as great for those businesses that have already made the investment in the recruitment and training of personnel with relevant competencies.
You may have more certainty in the setting of a budget for a PIM SaaS solution, given that the bulk of the costs are accounted for as part of the subscription fee. The required level of capital expenditure will also have a direct bearing. While there’s unlikely to be much certainty over the costs of implementation, customisation and training you won’t be as reliant on the support of dedicated in-house staff members or have ongoing concerns over the need for maintenance and upgrades. You’ll also be assured of expert support when it comes to upgrades of the SaaS software.
A SaaS PIM solution can be arranged at a fraction of the cost of desktop installation. The costs of everyday use and maintenance will also be minimised if you opt for the cloud. However, SaaS costs are sure to rise in line with your demand for storage.
- Locally hosted PIM vs. SaaS technology
It will be necessary to either have staff members on site or arrange for remote support (possibly through a VPN) should you opt against the remotely accessible SaaS technology. This can limit the possibility of making product information updates outside regular working hours. And the management of such a system is likely to be a particular challenge if you adopt hybrid working arrangements. The costs of additional network or carrier services must be taken into account, making for increased financial demand and operational complexity.
The adoption of a cloud-based PIM has typically been perceived as allowing for optimum agility in the management of product data. This is because of the potential opening for remote access to employees with the necessary security privileges. However, such access can also be granted despite geographical distance when for example using the Perfion SaaS solution, provided the customer has VPN connection or remote desktop infrastructure available. That being said, cloud fail-over regions can be set up with relative ease and cost efficiency, meaning that the recovery time objective may be far lower than would be the case with an on-premises system.
Benefits in terms of cloud PIM accessibility should be considered in light of the need for a strong and reliable internet connection. Such a connection will be essential if you are to ensure the rapid movement of product data from cloud servers to end user devices. Having said that, it’s quite unlikely that the users of the on-premises system will be located in the same network as the servers. As such, there will still be a need for a reliable connection to the servers hosted in remote geographical locations. Optimum performance may be achieved through the use of a remote desktop in such instances.
You will run the risk of a temporary loss of access to cloud-hosted product data in the event of a connection outage. However, you can be assured of round-the-clock access to such data if you opt for an on-premises server. You won’t have to worry about the damaging impact on worker productivity or loss of data access if your connection is broken.
- on-premise hosting vs. PIM Software as a Service
There have traditionally been concerns about the security of data hosted in the cloud. However, the recent development of technologies for protection against such risks as intrusion, data theft and cyber-attack have given cloud users great reassurance. Indeed, research has shown that 94% of businesses have realised a significant improvement in security after switching to the cloud. Powered by Microsoft Azure, the Perfion PIM Software as a Service comes with best-in-class security, so there’s little reason to worry about the illegitimate breach of product data.
There’s a misconception that the proximity of data and security are directly linked. In actual fact, there’s much greater risk of data loss should you opt for on-premises storage. Such data could be hacked or breached via unpatched security gaps. However, you can take measures to prevent your on-premises servers being accessed by those outside of your approved network. As such, on-premises storage may be the preferred option of businesses processing sensitive data on a routine basis.
One of the major arguments against the use of on-premises PIM systems has been the limited potential for scaling up and down. However, e.g. the Perfion PIM system may be scaled just as easily depending on the customers internal infrastructure. Still, there may be a need to upgrade the servers as a higher load has to be supported over time.
The Perfion cloud PIM technology scales particularly easily, with dynamic adjustments being assured. Whether you want to increase the number of servers, resize the product data environments or add to the storage capacity, the cloud-based system will cater to your needs. You can customise everything from the PIM platform to the database. The possibilities for integrations and network configuration are seemingly endless when you use the Perfion PIM SaaS and on-premise.
The Best Choice for Your Business
We hope that this blog has provided much-needed clarification in the choice between on-premises and cloud-based PIM systems. The affordability and assured accessibility of on-premises software may make it seem the obvious choice. However, the potential costs of specialist employment and hardware depreciation should also be considered. Such drawbacks might cause you to opt for the fixed pricing, scalability and high-uptime of a cloud-based system. Take the time to weigh up the respective importance of such factors; making a final choice that matches your preferences and IT strategy.
Download the Good PIM implementation guide today
There’s a lot you need to consider when identifying the best PIM software to use at your company.
The Good PIM implementation guide will prepare you for installing your PIM platform of choice, whether you opt for PIM SaaS software, an in-house solution or a combination of the two.
This guide answers all the questions you may have about introducing a new PIM to your business, including important questions to ask your provider and how to get that all-important buy-in from your colleagues.