One of the most frequently asked questions when evaluating site search solutions is why a SaaS-based solution is better than on-premise. The reasoning may follow that with on-premise, you pay for software once, instead of monthly service fees. But while having a one-time payment for a software package may seem like the most logical and cost-effective solution, it can actually end up costing more in the long run.

On-premise software solutions require an extraordinary investment not only for the up-front financial costs, but also in ramp-up time, education, support and maintenance. Typically the software will be full of features that cater to all the different uses, but many of these won’t be used by one individual customer. Additionally, on-premise software is generally slower to upgrade, with typically six or twelve month release cycles. SaaS solutions provide an answer to many of these issues, giving users more time and flexibility to support other business priorities.

Harness Deep Knowledge and Experience

When you sign on with a SaaS solution, you’re not getting a piece of software and a general 1-800 customer service number – you’re getting a consultative group of industry specialists, dedicated to helping you achieve your goal. SaaS companies earn their money by having you as a long term customer – so they are financially incented to make sure you are happy and continue to use their software. SaaS companies can see how their software is being used, which helps build their knowledge of best practices. Since service is a key component of the model, you’ll find that SaaS companies have deep technical knowledge and provide value through excellent support, recommendations on industry best practices or specific features that will make your unique site shine.

Faster Ramp-Up Time

Going with a SaaS-based solution means you’ll also take advantage of faster deployment and ramp-up times. Your IT staff won’t have to invest the time and money to become experts at installing and maintaining their software. Technology, as well as customer preferences, is constantly changing. You’ll find SaaS teams to be agile in implementing new or complex features so you can quickly adjust to shifting demands. By adopting a SaaS solution, you can keep your in-house team focused on your most important daily priorities, and let a dedicated team of specialized engineers support your SaaS operations and maintenance.

You’ll also avoid long ramp-up times spent in internal training and resources. Once implemented, you’ll receive tutorials and ongoing customer support for all of your teams. The bottom line is this: your new capabilities will be up and running more quickly, and you’ll save yourself a lot of time (not to mention headaches).

Continuous Innovation & Customization

Another great benefit of going with SaaS is that all customers receive regular, automatic access to the most up-to-date features and products. As new features, products or improvements are created, the technology is shared across all users. The best solutions’ features can also be tailored to meet your site’s specific needs, for a streamlined experience that isn’t one-size-fits-all. Often, these ongoing upgrades are available at no added cost. You avoid the hassle of later purchases and updates of traditional software licenses, as you trade one-time convenience with ongoing support, recommendations and continuously-improved technology.

Redundancy & Scalability

It’s also important to keep the stability of your software in mind. When your core business depends on whether your site is up and functional, it’s imperative that your site doesn’t fail. Make sure your SaaS provider has a network of multiple data centers and redundant server architecture to ensure that your site will continue to run smoothly even during high web traffic spikes or natural disasters. There is a high chance that your SaaS provider will have more sophisticated, redundant systems than you could ever afford.

Round-the-Clock Customer Support

If your SaaS supplier is a global company then they will have support people based around the world. One of the biggest benefits we see is the ability to provide outstanding customer service and guidance. Knowing that you have personalized attention from your customer support representative and a full team of engineers supporting your eCommerce needs around the clock gives you peace of mind and allows you to focus on other important projects.

The benefits of SaaS vs. software-based site search are clear, which is why I strongly believe in SLI Systems’ approach to providing the best site search, navigation and SEO solution for your eCommerce business. For the third year in a row, SLI was named the #1 SaaS Site Search provider to the top 500 online businesses as ranked by Internet Retailer, and a leading site search provider to the top 1,000 online retailers.