Having your business “in the cloud” is regularly promoted in the market. It is no different with WMS as cloud based solutions are often promoted as Software as a Service (SaaS). There are some pros and cons to having your system either on-site or off-site.
For clarity, we will define three types of WMS solutions
On-premise is your traditional in-house Server based solution that resides in your own corporate building with standard connections to PC and a Telnet connection to handheld or vehicle terminals. Hosted systems take the server off-site using an internet connection but the terminal connectivity is still the same as On-premise. Cloud solutions have the server off-site and for the terminal connection, an internet browser is used. You can have a combination of using any of the above.
Here are 5 things to consider when evaluating Cloud based solutions:
The fundamental difference of Cloud verse the other two is the screens on the terminals. Traditional programming using a Telnet session is a very controlled environment, which will offer consistent performance for many years. The standards on a browser are a little less standard.
This means all the different browsers or versions can have an impact on how the screen works and looks. This is more challenging from a programming standpoint to keep up with all the different versions and updates on the market. Changes can lead to business disruptions.
Cloud systems have the benefit of being accessible from nearly anywhere on any device. For a warehouse, the only place you want warehouse staff to access the system is in the warehouse. You also want staff to use robust dedicated industrial terminals while on the job.
If your employees can use personal devices to do their job, there is the ability for them to use the device for personal purposes. People outside the warehouse, such as Customer and Management, should have access via a Cloud based application to get important information when needed.
On-premise systems are becoming more costly to maintain to ensure security. It has the requirement of backing up the system regularly and keeping ahead of the growing security breaches in the world. The advantage on a Server on-site is that you are not allowing anyone access outside your company firewall.
Off-site systems transfer the cost of server security into the hands of a third party provider. Because many browser-based packages can be accessed through the internet, you will need to ensure the security would typically require a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to access, offering a high level of security.
For Hosted and Cloud solutions, speed will be determined by the type of Internet connection the company has. It will also be subject to Internet down-time or slow downs due to heavy traffic. On-premise systems will have the fastest connection because everything is within the four walls of the building.
That being said, when On-premise systems are connected to multiple warehouse locations, they are subject to the same connection issue as Cloud or Hosting. Internet connections and speeds have become more reliable and faster, so this is becoming less of an issue.
The biggest advantage with Cloud or Hosted systems is the reduced need for IT staff to maintain the system. With an On-premise system, the ongoing costs of maintaining Servers and a network, along with IT staff can be costly. The upfront software cost of On-premise systems usually cost less than Cloud or Hosted systems when used for more than 3 to 5 years.
The difference between all three systems is not significant. It really comes down to the software itself and corporate mentality. Some Cloud based packages offer a simple solution that is easy to implement. While many On-Premise solutions offer more intricacies to meet a wider variety of business needs. On-Premise puts full control in the customer’s hands, while Cloud or Hosted keep the IT costs down.
ProVision WMS can assist to optimize your warehouse efficiencies to get accurate inventory every day with our selection of solutions suitable for various industries. We offer a mix of all three solutions for various needs to fit your requirements.
About ProVision WMS
PeoVision Warehouse Management System is a versatile solution that provides the tools to management in order to co-ordinate order fulfillment, provide excellent customer service, track labor output and improve decision making. ProVision WMS is built for small to medium sized companies in North America to improve their warehouse operations. For more information, request a demonstration today. To learn more about our range of warehouse solutions, visit the Ahearn & Soper website.