SaaS vs. On-Premise: What’s the Difference?

STIP software provides tremendous efficiencies to transportation improvement programs. But how do you know on-premise or a cloud solution is best for your agency? Read on to learn more.

Shawn L, Client Implementation Analyst

[<5 Minute Read]

SaaS vs. On-Premise

When it comes time to upgrade your transportation improvement program (TIP) software you’ll need to decide whether it’s hosted on-premise or in the cloud. Naturally, cost is always a concern as well. To start, let’s quickly define each.

  • SaaS – An acronym that stands for “software as a service”. It’s a solution that’s hosted and maintained by a 3rd party in the cloud.
  • On-Premise – A solution that is hosted in-house (on premise) and typically supported by a 3rd party.

EcoInteractive’s ProjectTracker TIP software is considered to be a SaaS product, as we have built the product in-house, continuously work to maintain and add relevant features to the software, and provide our clients with end-to-end coverage and 24/7 access to ProjectTracker through the web. Competitors, such as PMG Pro, utilize an on-premise approach, which involves utilizing your agency’s IT resources and infrastructure  to host and maintain the software.

Delivering our ProjectTracker system in a SaaS model afford us several distinct advantages over traditional software.

  • Reduced implementation time
  • Predictable costs
  • Automated data backup
  • ProjectTracker can be deployed and upgraded without taking away from your IT Resources
  • Continuous relevant product updates to stay current with local, state, and national requirements

Let’s examine 3 factors that play a role when deciding which approach to take with your transportation planning software: cost, maintenance, and product updates.

Cost

Cost is typically the biggest issue when deciding on which solution should be deployed by your agency. However, costs can be hiding underneath the surface and not realized until years later. 

For on-premise providers like PMG Software Professionals, you will usually have a higher upfront cost in the form of implementation and licensing fees. Afterwards a yearly maintenance and support fee can be expected. This maintenance and support fee often does not cover additional features for your software. 

Although the on-premise solution can be ideal in the first few years and seem even better in the latter years, often you will need updates, or the desire to have new features added to keep up with the transportation planning industry. Even without enhancing the software you will still need to make sure the on-premise solution can withstand the battle of time and remain fully functional and operable. These additional costs can add up quickly and exceed the original cost estimate in mind during procurement.

With Ecointeractive’s ProjectTracker SaaS model, maintenance, upgrades, and customer support are included in the cost. Simply put, we will be there every step of the way to make sure you have what you need to successfully plan, prioritize, and report on your transportation projects. This helps keep the projected costs over the life of the contract on target so you may properly budget for the future and also keeps your IT department working on the projects that matter the most.

Maintenance & Support

Software is never perfect and technical issues may arise from time to time. On-premise software is not insusceptible to this issue, in fact, it can cause an even bigger headache. Having an on-premise solution provided by a 3rd party may require your IT department to wait on a patch from the software company before they can deploy the fix internally. 

Additionally, with an on-premise solution, like PMG STIP Manager, the product will need to be maintained from the very first day. The solution may stay relevant in the first few years of service, but picture the solution 5-10 years from now, it would be hard to imagine a scenario where major upgrades and enhancements are not required for the software.

A SaaS approach allows us to constantly monitor the performance of our system and quickly deploy any patches without utilizing your IT resources. Also, with a SaaS solution you no longer have to worry about the hardware capabilities you have on-site. We will always update the hardware when necessary to ensure a consistent experience with our ProjectTracker system.

Product Updates

From one STIP or TIP cycle to another, your agency may have a change in priorities, information requested, or a desire to further streamline the software to help with time and cost savings. Alterations or upgrades for an on-premise solution are often costly and require a significant time investment. These costs are not realized during the procurement process and can lead to tough decisions later on when an update is desired or a necessity.

The STIP or TIP should be a living document that is constantly amended and updated. For this reason we believe that a SaaS solution provides the most efficient approach to handling your transportation planning needs. As deploying software through a SaaS model greatly reduces implementation time of a new feature or enhancement. 

Deploying our ProjectTracker software through a SaaS model, instead of an on-premise approach like PMG Pro, allows us to continuously work on improving the workflows and features utilized by our clients. Clients already utilizing ProjectTracker do not need to plan, deploy, and validate the changes to our software. When new features are released they have been thoroughly tested and ready for your use.

We are always engaging with our clients post-launch to understand their needs. This allows us to plan for the changes coming in the transportation industry and deliver relevant product updates on a consistent and timely basis.

Conclusion

Although PMG Pro and other on-premise solutions can seem to be the cost effective solution, often they are anything but cost efficient. From the first day of service with any solution maintenance will be needed to keep the software functioning. After clearing the licensing fees and implementation costs associated with on-premise solutions you will likely desire upgrades and new features not handled in the contract. All of this combines to be a huge resource drain for your agency in the form of time and money. 

With our ProjectTracker SaaS, we want to give you back those years of resources you will need to invest when going with an on-premise solution. Let us handle those hardware upgrades, bug fixes, and product enhancements for your agency. We feel that software should be relevant beyond the first few years of service and we are confident that a SaaS solution will do just that. While you are busy planning the transportation needs of your community we will be busy behind the scenes making sure your software is up to date and ready to tackle tomorrow’s challenges.

Helpful TIP SaaS Links


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