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Not all Cloud Offerings Are Created Equal

How to Evaluate SaaS Web Content Management Platforms

Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions are gaining momentum when it comes to Web Content Management. As the benefits of SaaS solutions become increasingly evident and popular to end-users, vendors offering traditional on-premise solutions are moving “to the cloud” and blurring the definition of what SaaS really is.

While there are many solutions out there that call themselves “Cloud”, buyer-beware, many of these solutions are not truly SaaS. At one end of the cloud spectrum are true multi-tenant solutions that were purpose-built from the ground up as SaaS. At the other end of the spectrum are traditional on-premise solutions hosted online or deployed in a virtualized environment. But, just because a vendor provides web content management software that can be deployed in the cloud, doesn’t mean that all of the features and functionality will work in a virtualized environment. And while the vendor who hosts software in their own datacenter has the burden of owning the hardware and infrastructure, it doesn’t mean that their solution is a scalable SaaS solution with built in redundancies and robust infrastructure to accommodate traffic peaks.

SaaS is software that is deployed over the Internet. SaaS assumes all customers will run on the same version of the software at all times and they will access that software via the Internet. With SaaS, a provider licenses an application to customers either as a service on demand, or through a subscription, in a “pay-as-you-go” model and SaaS customers don’t own any of the hardware or software they are using; they simply pay a subscription fee to use the applications, hardware, bandwidth, or other services.

When evaluating whether your vendor’s Web Content Management solution is truly SaaS, ask yourself if it has the following attributes:

  • Multi-tenant architecture: Can a single instance of the software serve multiple clients? Will you benefit from economies of scale with respect to software and hardware maintenance and upgrades?
  • Intuitive and easy to use: Does the software empower marketers and relieve IT dependencies?
  • Frequent and Easy Upgrades: Do I have access to immediate upgrades and constant innovation?
  • Reliable, scalable and secure: What is the minimum SLA? Do I benefit from uptimes as high as 99.9% while my vendor worries about performance, scalability, and security?
  • Transparent pricing and lower initial costs: Are my costs more predictable and lower than solutions with comparable functionality?
  • Global access: Can I access this solution from anywhere around the world on a variety of devices
  • Accelerated implementation times: How quickly can the software solution I am choosing be deployed? SaaS is faster with accelerated implementation

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