Last week I discussed the pros and cons of open source web content management platforms, such as Wordpress, Drupal, and Joomla. To continue the conversation, this post will cover the pros and cons of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) web content management systems (CMS).
Advantages of SaaS CMS:
- Low cost of entry - SaaS CMS is based on a subscription model, so there is no large upfront licensing fee. Usually, a SaaS CMS project will have a small setup fee that covers the cost of implementation.
- No Extra Burden on IT Staff (Supported) - When a support issue arises with a SaaS product, the burden to fix the problem no longer falls on internal staff. The company that provides the platform is responsible for fixing the issue, most of the time at no added cost.
- Highly Accessible - Since SaaS CMS is usually a virtual product, they are accessible from any computer with an internet connection.
- Security - Since all the development is handled by the company that owns the CMS, there is no need to worry about malware or buggy add-ons to the CMS. If it is released by the CMS company as a feature add-on, you can rest assured that it won't expose your site to security threats.
- Multiple Users Model - Most SaaS products have a multiple user model, where the price will increase with the number of users given access to the system. This is great because it is often easy to add new users to help spread out the workload.
- Subscription Fee Fits into Budget - Since support is often times included in the subscription model, you can rest assured knowing that the monthly fee will not increase even if something goes wrong with your website.
- Ongoing Innovation - All software products have innovation, however, with the SaaS, new features are added quickly and often. Usually these features are available to all users at no additional cost.
- Speed of Implementation - Since the CMS is already developed, launching a new website can often times be done in as little as 30 days. With custom functionality and e-commerce, the project lengthens a bit, but it is still extremely fast compared to traditional website development.
Disadvantages of SaaS CMS
- No Local Data Control - Since SaaS CMS platforms are built and housed at Data Centers, the IT staff feels like it loses a bit of control when it comes to security. However, SaaS CMS's are built behind firewalls and are often times more secure than a company's local servers.
- Subscription fee is Added Cost - Since there are "free" systems out there, recurring cost is often times looked at as a downside to the SaaS model. It is up to you to determine the value of the SaaS platform for yourself and your business. However, I encourage you to read an earlier post about support issues.
- Closed Development - Since SaaS CMS platforms are often times proprietary systems that belong to certain companies, they do not allow for an open source type development model. This means that customers must request features to be added by the company, instead of searching the internet for a plug-in that is probably already developed.