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How On-Premise and Cloud Software Compare for Control and Agility

On-premise servers give you complete control of data and hardware, while cloud services are agile, offering scalability and on-demand infrastructure.
Davin Perkins
Davin Perkins
 • 
August 31, 2022
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Since the coronavirus pandemic swept the globe in early 2020, organizations have realized that being successful in the digital age requires agility not just in software development and delivery, but also in business strategy and operational execution.

Achieving agility in your business's actions and reactions requires a culture of continuous improvement—and the right software to support those actions!

Every company relies on a network of complex systems and software, including Customer Relation Management (CRM), Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Business Intelligence (BI), Geocoding, Address Validation, and more. When you alter one, it impacts another, and you want all those systems to be moving together in the right direction.

Most of these systems are available as either on-premise or cloud-based solutions. But the question is, will on-premise or cloud software aid you more in your quest for agility? And which is more important to your business needs: control or agility?

Download the On-Premise Vs Cloud Software ebook

On-Premise Control & Agility

Everyone likes to be in control, and on-premise applications allow enterprises to maintain a level of control that the cloud often cannot. You have unilateral control over the setup and full access to your system locally.

However, control comes at the cost of agility. As we mentioned in a previous article, it takes considerably longer to install a system on premise than to deploy a cloud solution.

In addition, you'll incur significant future expenses—like new machines or extra man hours—if you need to scale your on-premise infrastructure up or down.

Finally, you're committing a lot of IT hours to continuous internal upkeep of the hardware, software, data backups, storage, and disaster recovery.

Cloud Control & Agility

Cloud services offer many features that can aid in organizational agility, such as scalability, flexibility, on-demand infrastructure, and automation.

Scalability & Flexibility

The pay-per-use structure of most cloud service providers allows organizations the flexibility to scale up or down as their business needs change— without purchasing additional IT equipment.

For example, perhaps your organization has one big major promotion during the winter holidays and you want to mail a catalog out shortly before the gifting season starts. You'd want to run your database through address verification before sending hundreds of catalogs out, but you wouldn't want to install and maintain an on-premise address validation solution that would never get used the rest of the year. A cloud-based address verification provider like Smarty would be a more flexible choice for your needs.

On-demand Infrastructure

While a physical server could take days or weeks to procure and set up, a cloud server takes minutes. The quicker you can get your systems up and running, the quicker you can start earning revenue.

Automation

Cloud computing simplifies provisioning, de-provisioning and re-deploying resources through automation, APIs, and web consoles. Compared to an on-premise solution, a cloud system is much easier for an IT systems administrator to manage and support.

However, when relying on a cloud service offered by someone else, there are limits to the customization you can do. Using a cloud service requires you to sacrifice some control over functionality.

Summary

  • On-premise systems offer greater control, but less agility.
  • Cloud-based systems offer more agility, but less control.

Which you choose will depend on whether your organization requires more control or more agility, as well as your evaluation of other factors like security, uptime, compliance, and more.

To help you evaluate those factors, we created an executive guide that breaks down both cloud and on-premise strengths and weaknesses. Download it here.

Download the On-Premise Vs Cloud Software ebook
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