We are all reading the headlines of the retail apocalypse and it is causing retailers and branded manufacturers to rethink their digital and in-store strategies. A significant portion of these strategic plans involve modernizing the omnichannel technology stack.
If you are one of these merchants looking to upgrade your eCommerce software, order management system, in-store associate platform, personalization engine, or some other commerce software solution, you should be looking at multi-tenant, software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions to help provide a sustainable competitive advantage.
However, many organizations still struggle making the case for cloud technology due to legacy internal processes, IT’s perception of on-premise solutions providing more control, and assumptions that in-house proprietary solutions are more cost-effective. Below are a few examples to illustrate the advantages of multi-tenant SaaS over on-premise software as it pertains to the commerce industry.
Speed of Innovation
With traditional on-premise solutions, organizations typically must wait for IT to install updates or upgrades, which can cause lengthy delays for business users, and not to mention the additional software or implementation fees from the vendor. These hurdles create a situation where business users are not enabled with the latest and greatest capabilities, features, and tools that can help them drive revenue for their respective organizations.
Alternatively, SaaS solutions typically include continuous updates, upgrades, and software releases as part of the annual subscription. Rollout of new features can happen automatically, enabling business users with the most current capabilities to fuel innovation.
In a commerce world dominated by Amazon, it is imperative that organizations empower their business users to stay ahead of consumer expectations to the best of their ability — and multi-tenant SaaS is one such way.
Total Cost of Ownership
On the surface, software owned and managed internally by your organization might seem like it could have a better cost structure. Why not? You get to control when you upgrade, what to upgrade, and which internal resources get to do the work — all of which are assumed to be cost-efficient. What these assumptions do not include are hardware costs, training fees, customization support fees, integration complexity, and most importantly, opportunity cost. When you do the math, SaaS options more often than not have a lower total cost of ownership (TCO) when all factors are considered. Business users get what they want and IT can focus on more strategic projects versus low-value maintenance and upgrade projects.
Extensibility and Unique Brand Experiences
A common misconception is that on-premise applications provide more opportunities to create unique brand experiences because they allow for customization. What most do not realize is that these customizations can cause significant challenges down the line when it comes time to update or upgrade — especially when one considers brittle integrations to a myriad of commerce systems.
Modern SaaS platforms are developed with an API-first architecture with built-in extensibility layers to allow development of unique experiences on top of the multi-tenant platform, without breaking the integration or update path. This provides the best of both worlds — marketers and merchandisers can ensure customers are delivered unique brand experiences and IT is comfortable updates and upgrades from the vendor will not break their integrations and put critical selling channels in jeopardy of going “lines down.”
Commerce is currently going through some major transformations, causing significant chaos and pressures on retailers and branded manufacturers. Lack of predictability has the potential to derail strategic omnichannel initiatives like your buy online pickup in-store (BOPIS) program or your ship-from-store fulfillment plans.
When organizations move to SaaS solutions, they get an inherent level of predictability with costs, uptime, software updates and upgrades, and scalability that allows the entire organization to focus on moving forward — and not on the technology. Having predictability in the current state of commerce can enable the focus required for some merchants to exceed their growth expectations.
Multi-Tenant SaaS for the Win
As your organization looks to have a success and growth year in 2018, investing in multi-tenant SaaS solutions will be at the top of the list as an enabler for achieving those goals. While each organization has to look at their specific needs, when compared side-by-side SaaS commerce solutions will typically have more business benefits over on-premise solutions — allowing you to grow faster than your competitors in this ever-changing and competitive world of commerce.
To see the ROI of SaaS, download a copy of our Total Economic Impact Report and put some real numbers behind the benefits of SaaS.