I recently read an HR blog posting which advised approaching the selection of a software deployment option as you would approach selecting whether to buy a condo vs. a house. The gist of the post was that on-site deployment (being the house) would encompass you being responsible for upkeep, maintenance, and updates and hosted deployment (the condo) would allow you to sit back and rely on an outside service for implementation, backup, and maintenance.
Although this was a relatively good high-level analogy, it got me thinking about the importance of choosing the right deployment option for your automated talent management system and the need to select a vendor that offers not only both options but also the freedom to switch between options at any point in time as the organization evolves. To Host or not to Host – that is the question.
Back to basics:
Before explaining how to select a deployment option, I think it is important to review what the options are.
On-Premise: This deployment option is also referred to as ‘on-site’ and includes an organization deploying and maintaining the software on their own internal hardware system. On-premise deployment requires considerable investment by the company’s I.T. department for maintenance and upgrades.
Hosted: Also referred to as ‘on-demand’ or ‘SaaS’ (software as a service) as it includes a vendor hosting a customer’s instance of their software online and being responsible for implementation, backup, and maintenance. In this case, the company accesses and stores their data via a web browser.
Which is better for you?
The challenging part of deciding on a deployment option isn’t figuring out which option is better, it is properly deciding which option is better FOR YOUR ORGANIZATION at that particular point in time.
The following are some questions that you should ask yourself when deciding between on-premise vs. hosted:
What are my IT department’s capabilities? Is your IT department large enough and does it possess the appropriate time, hardware, and knowledge to properly deploy, backup, and maintain the system on-premise? If you have a smaller IT department that cannot feasibly install and maintain the system on your own servers or if they are stretched very thin, then hosted is probably the better route. On the other hand, if you have a larger and able IT team, then on-premise would allow greater control over your instance and would eliminate IT staff becoming frazzled over relinquishing control to the hosting vendor.
What are my security restrictions? Some companies and industries are legally bound to follow strict guidelines regarding the storage and availability of data. In these rare cases, an organization might not have the option to choose a hosted deployment.
What are my time requirements? How much time do you have to get the system up and running and how much time can your organization afford to devote to implementing and maintaining it? A recent report from Forrester, “The ROI of Software-As-A-Service,” examined a range of companies that chose hosted solutions and cited several benefits of a hosted deployment – the main being: Rapid Deployment. This isn’t to say that an on-premise solution cannot be fast, but the speed of implementation would depend solely on your organization.
What will I need in the future? Even with modern economists, business planning algorithms, and newspaper horoscope predictions, no organization can truly answer this question and predict exactly what they will need in the future. This is why it is important to choose a Talent Management Software vendor that offers NOT ONLY both deployment methods, BUT ALSO the choice to switch between the two at any point in time. Solutions such as CRG emPerform™ allow you to switch from hosted to on-premise or vice versa the moment that your organizational requirements and restrictions change – which they undoubtedly will.
What does this versatility and flexibility mean for you? This also means that smaller organizations are free to implement their Talent Management System on a hosted-basis (barring any of the above mentioned restrictions) and then switch to an on-premise instance if they acquire the necessary IT personnel or find themselves large enough to demand higher customization. Also, larger organizations can implement a hosted version as a ‘trial’ and switch between the two after they have sufficiently tested the system.
So as you shop for automated talent management system vendors – be sure to consider if they offer the deployment option that you need NOW and the one you might grow into.