There are many considerations to make when choosing how to deploy your solution; traditional on-premise, cloud or even a hybrid of the two. So, what should you choose, and why?
Whether you’re a retailer, corporate enterprise, arena or stadia, public service or an education provider, your organization, large or small, is likely to be making a significant investment in its digital signage estate. Ensuring a business has the most effective deployment strategy which maximizes return on investment, is key to its long-term success.
Justifying your deployment strategy is important, which is why a simple, yet comprehensive checklist of key considerations is vital. These considerations can be broadly split into financial, technological and management considerations.
A traditional on-premise deployment involves installing new hosting server hardware at your premises. This can involve significant upfront hardware investment; ongoing hardware maintenance, plus staff resources to manage the hardware. This initial outlay, along with other ad hoc costs, will immediately impact the financial bottom line.
A cloud deployment avoids many of the financial peaks associated with an on-premise deployment, with a single monthly, quarterly, or annual recurring cost. This SaaS (Software as a Service) model sits neatly against the OpEx budget versus CapEx budget, allowing simpler budget management and lower initial hit to the bottom line.
While historically, there has been a peace of mind element in being able to ‘see’ and ‘own’ the physical hardware, the advantages of cloud hosting outweigh this perspective with forward-thinking organizations enjoying the benefits of not having physical hardware to install or manage. Furthermore, a cloud solution avoids you needing a contingency budget for potentially costly or unexpected upgrades; plus there are fewer hardware depreciation costs to consider.
Critical questions need to be answered with regards to the technology itself, and you may have fundamental questions around stability, security, and scalability.
If your data is particularly sensitive, an on-premise solution is always going to be the preferred or mandated solution for more data sensitive organizations such as in banking, military or Government organizations.
However, whilst security is a key consideration, the elevated levels of inbuilt encryption, authentication and system security offered by most cloud digital signage platforms offers the level of network and data protection that’s consistent with the demands of most organizations and sufficient to allay concerns.
Ensuring minimal outages and optimal performance is critical. A tried and tested on-premise solution can offer a high level of confidence, however, may be more vulnerable to data loss in disaster situations if proper, potentially costly failover and redundancy measures are not taken.
With a cloud deployment, reliance on inhouse server stability is avoided, with the only requirement being an internet connection to the cloud servers to ensure 24/7/365 uptime.
An on-premise solution can be scaled up with advance planning and additional hardware deployed to support new services. In the event of requirements downscaling however, elements of the hardware investments may become surplus to requirements.
One of the key benefits of a cloud deployment is its scalability. Users and services can be added or removed as business needs dictate, making the solution ideal for dynamic organizations. A cloud deployment means organizations only pay for the services they require.
Some organizations may find an either/or approach restrictive and they may be reluctant to wholly commit to a single strategy. In this instance, a hybrid approach can work extremely well, with business sensitive systems remaining on-premise, while solutions which are less sensitive, and likely to require scalability and flexibility are hosted outside the organization. From a management perspective, IT teams can allocate greater focus on their critical internal deployments.
With servers installed on premise, the responsibility for management, maintenance, software upgrades, fixes, and support falls to an inhouse IT department. This can put significant pressure on an organization with the responsibility for maintaining the solution and the control of all related processes remaining in-house.
A cloud solution removes a significant amount of this responsibility, freeing up valuable resources to focus on other business critical or strategic activities. Furthermore, for expanding global businesses, having the confidence that the network is backed by global 24/7/365 support can be invaluable where internal resources are finite.
Ultimately, it is important to choose the solution which fits the unique needs of your organization while bearing in mind, what works today, may not be relevant for the future, so forward planning is essential.
With more organizations switching to a cloud deployment strategy, it is increasingly difficult to ignore the benefits of flexible SaaS licensing and a recurring subscription-based financial model. Lower upfront hardware investment costs can also be a significant advantage, especially where budgets are stretched, with resilience, security and scalability being other key benefits.
The result is that organizations can find they are somewhat more agile, lean, and competitive than if they still had their traditional on-premise deployment.
So, if you know what your organization’s plans are for the next two, three, four years, on-premise may well be the right route for you.
However, if like many organizations, your future is filled with uncertainty, let us discuss how we can help you to claim back some control and join a growing number of organizations who have gone SaaSy and switched to the certainty of the Cloud.