When it comes to T&E expense management, the cloud has inspired a new and quick way of thinking about mobile and online expense tracking with integration to various accounting and ERP systems. Of course the ‘old’ model of companies having to purchase licenses to own the software and have the ability to deploy it on their servers still exists but faces solid competition from cloud solutions.
The Gorilla Expense software can be delivered as a SaaS or on-premise when it comes to our online T&E solution. Of course, when the SaaS solution is purchased, it comes as a complete turnkey package that includes software and the entire delivery mechanism.
The inter-webs is ripe with discussions on the pros and cons of on-premise vs SaaS when it comes to expense reporting and several topics on how best to assess the costs. With SaaS, the business pays less upfront while on-premise requires higher initial costs because you buy the software in terms of licenses and maintenance. However, the details lurk below this cursory assessment – the often heard concept of ‘Total Cost of Ownership’ a.k.a TCO. Let us explore this in more detail by segmenting the comparisons by company size relative to our customer base.
Expense Reporting for Small Business
With small businesses, the initial cost of licensing the expense reporting software on-premise is usually several orders higher than a SaaS expense solution. Plus the on-premise solution will require additional internal infrastructure and may incur personnel costs to maintain the solution. So, for small businesses SaaS cloud based expense reporting may offer better ROI and quicker value than on-premise.
Mid-Market Expense Management
For mid-sized businesses, the comparison between the two approaches can be closer to break-even. The costs usually level out because the cost of the fixed license and recurring SaaS payments typically increase proportionately while the infrastructure cost remains fixed. However, the big difference is labor costs – the standard assumption is that mid-sized business would have the cost of paying for 1/2rd to 1/4th of an IT team’s (consisting of anywhere from one to ten people) salary to maintain the server, OS and ancillary software applications; so these costs may mean that the on-premise deployment could potentially be more expensive.
When is SaaS Better?
The biggest benefit of going the SaaS route is when companies cannot dedicate IT resources and personnel to install and manage the applications. The general rule of thumb for on-premise is that upgrades are needed at least four times in a year and require several hours to install and manage up-time.
In addition, with SaaS, the expenses are deferred (the classic CAPEX vs OPEX debate), so, from a cash flow standpoint, the model becomes attractive for cash strapped small businesses.
While we have reviewed the key piece of the equation which is related to cost, note that this is just one part of the puzzle. The other factors to consider when you compare Saas vs on-premise expense reporting solutions are:
– Level of internal IT expertise and talent to manage on-premise solutions
– Comfort level with outsourcing the work, if not possible in house
– Tolerance for downtime and risk mitigation
– Capability to support requirements from an evolving and growing business operations
– Level of engagement with the solution (SaaS gives you a ‘rent and forget’ approach whereas on-premise requires constant monitoring)
– Cash flow management
At Gorilla Expense, we provide both options and work with the customer to closely understand which format will benefit their business and employees the most. We advise and support our customer’s rapidly changing requirements when it comes to deployment options, since we have seen all the combinations and the respective challenges. If you would like to learn more or would like for us to review your requirements, please send an email to [email protected]