10 questions to answer if you are considering digital signage – No.8

8. Software Choice – Do I go SAAS or buy the software outright

In the world of digital signage software the options are wide and varied.  Essentially it boils down to two different types.  ‘Software as a Service’ (also referred to as SaaS or cloud based) and ‘self hosted’ software.  In a nutshell, the difference is that SaaS software is software which resides online or “in the cloud”.  Where as ‘self hosted’ software is one you install and manage yourself on your hardware.  There is no right or wrong decision, the features are very similar it more gets down to how you want to manage the system.

To help you choose which is more suitable for your requirements here are some of the main reasons our customers have chosen one or the other.

Cloud based – SAAS:

  • Easier to set up players, simply install the software, give them internet access and they are ready to go.
  • No set up required for content management software.
  • Lower Initial Capital Expense
  • Upgrades are done automatically by the software provider as a part of the subscription so you always have the latest version.
  • Can be accessed from any computer with internet access. This adds great flexibility for those companies that have multiple people accessing from a variety of locations.

Self hosted:

  • Is generally be seen to be more suitable when you have all the signage system under one roof.
  • Software is generally more flexible when dynamic updates from other software applications such as SQL databases, local text or csv files.
  • Software tends to run faster when installed locally.
  • No ongoing costs unless you choose to upgrade to the latest version and then discounts are generally offered.
  • More control over screens and the network management aspects of the software are more detailed.
  • Uploading of content is faster when done over a local area network rather than having to upload to the software server first and then download to the player.

Some clients we speak to simply insist on owning the software outright and don’t like the thought of a subscription service.  Others prefer to be able to keep the costs of the software as an ongoing operational expense and not a capital expense.  Some clients have very sensitive networks such as Banks, Courthouses and Large Corporates and would rather keep the digital signage off their own network and some companies don’t like the idea of their content going “to the cloud” in case it gets leaked somehow.

I guess what we are saying is there is no right or wrong answer.  Very few of the above mention features, It’s more about management. You should make sure you figure out the best way you want to manage your system before you choose to go either ‘SaaS’ or ‘self hosted’.  As part of our consultation the JDS sales staff make sure that we find out which is the most suitable before we deploy.  We hope you do the same.

Next time we talk about making sure that your digital signage solution is able to grow with your needs and requirements. Any software can send content to one screen.  How do you make sure that the software can also deploy to 500 screens. We’ll discuss this in future blogs.

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