Traditional ERP vs SaaS: Unlocking the Key Differences

Traditional ERP vs SaaS Unlocking the Key Differences featured image

In today’s digital landscape, businesses need efficient and effective solutions to manage their operations. Traditional ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) and SaaS (Software as a Service) are two popular options for business management. While traditional ERP has been the go-to for many companies, SaaS has gained momentum in recent years due to its flexibility and scalability. In this article, we will explore the key differences between traditional ERP vs SaaS, examining their respective strengths and weaknesses. By the end of this article, you will have a clearer understanding of which option is best suited for your organization’s needs.

What is Traditional ERP and what is SaaS?

Traditional ERP is an Enterprise Resource Planning system that is installed on a company’s own computer hardware and software. This type of system requires a large initial capital expenditure, as well as ongoing maintenance and upgrade costs. It is usually suited to larger organizations with the resources to maintain and manage the system.

SaaS, or Software as a Service, is a cloud-based ERP system. It is a subscription-based model, which means that the cost is spread out over a number of months rather than having to make a large upfront investment. This type of system is more suited to smaller organizations, as the cost of implementation and maintenance is much lower. It also allows for easy scalability, as it can be quickly adjusted to meet the changing needs of the organization.

Key differences between Traditional ERP and SaaS

  1. Upfront Cost: Traditional ERP requires a large upfront investment for software, hardware, and implementation. SaaS ERP is much cheaper and the cost is mostly based on usage.
  2. Deployment Time: Traditional ERP takes a lot of time to install and configure. SaaS ERP can be up and running in a matter of days or weeks.
  3. Maintenance and Upgrades: Traditional ERP requires regular maintenance and upgrades, which can be time-consuming and costly. SaaS ERP systems are updated automatically and maintenance is usually handled by the provider.
  4. Scalability: Traditional ERP systems can be difficult to scale as the business grows. SaaS ERP systems are designed to easily scale up or down to meet the business’s changing needs.
  5. Security: Traditional ERP systems are vulnerable to security threats as they are hosted on-premise. SaaS ERP systems are hosted in the cloud and so they benefit from the cloud provider’s security protocols.

Key similarities between Traditional ERP and SaaS

  1. Both traditional ERP and SaaS solutions provide business owners with the ability to integrate various processes and applications into one system.
  2. Both solutions provide an easy to use user interface for employees.
  3. Both solutions offer a cost-effective way for businesses to manage their operations.
  4. Both solutions provide scalability and flexibility so that businesses can easily adjust their systems as their needs change.
  5. Both solutions are designed to provide real-time business intelligence to help business owners make better decisions.

Pros of Traditional ERP over SaaS

  1. Cost: Traditional ERP systems are usually more cost-effective than SaaS options, as the cost of ownership is much lower.
  2. Customizability: Traditional ERP systems are usually more customizable than their SaaS counterparts, allowing for more flexibility to meet the specific needs of a business.
  3. Security: Traditional ERP systems are generally more secure than SaaS solutions, as they are stored on-premises and are subject to the company’s own security protocols.
  4. Accessibility: Traditional ERP systems are typically more accessible than SaaS solutions, as they can be accessed from any device with an internet connection.
  5. Support: Traditional ERP systems are usually more likely to have dedicated support resources than SaaS solutions, which can be beneficial for businesses seeking quick solutions to their problems.

Cons of Traditional ERP compared to SaaS

  1. Implementation Time: Traditional ERP solutions can take months or even years to implement, whereas SaaS solutions can be up and running in a matter of days or weeks. The lengthy implementation process of traditional ERP systems can result in higher costs, greater disruption to business operations, and delays in realizing the benefits of the software.
  2. Cost: Traditional ERP systems can be expensive to implement and maintain. Companies have to purchase the software licenses, hardware, and pay for implementation, customization, and ongoing maintenance costs. SaaS solutions, on the other hand, typically have lower upfront costs and are often offered on a subscription basis, which can make them more affordable for small and medium-sized businesses.
  3. Customization: Traditional ERP systems are often highly customized to meet the specific needs of the organization. While this can provide a high level of functionality, it can also make the system more complex and difficult to maintain. SaaS solutions, on the other hand, are typically designed to be highly configurable, allowing users to customize the software to meet their specific needs without the need for extensive customization.
  4. Scalability: Traditional ERP systems can be difficult to scale as the business grows and changes. Adding new users, locations, or business units can require significant effort and expense. SaaS solutions, on the other hand, are designed to be highly scalable and can easily be expanded or contracted as needed.
  5. Accessibility: Traditional ERP systems are often only accessible from within the organization’s network or via a VPN, which can limit accessibility for remote workers and other stakeholders. SaaS solutions, on the other hand, are typically cloud-based and can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection, making them more accessible and convenient for users.

Pros of SaaS over Traditional ERP

  1. Lower upfront costs: SaaS solutions require less capital investment, as there is no need to purchase additional hardware or software, or to hire additional IT staff.
  2. Faster implementation: SaaS solutions are typically deployed faster than traditional ERP solutions, as there is no need to install and configure software or hardware.
  3. Scalability: SaaS solutions are designed to be easily scaled up or down as needed, making it easier to adjust to changing business needs.
  4. Flexibility: SaaS solutions are typically designed to be flexible, allowing users to customize the system to best fit their specific needs.
  5. Automation: SaaS solutions are designed to automate processes and tasks, reducing manual efforts and allowing users to focus on more important tasks.

Cons of SaaS compared to Traditional ERP

  1. Limited Customization: Unlike traditional ERP, SaaS ERP does not offer any customization options, which may limit the ability of the user to tailor the system to their specific needs.
  2. Security: Many users are concerned about the security of their data when using SaaS ERP. While SaaS ERP providers typically have advanced security protocols in place, there is always the risk of data breaches.
  3. Data Ownership: With traditional ERP, the user maintains full control over their data. With SaaS ERP, the user gives up complete control and ownership of their data to the provider.
  4. Scalability: While SaaS ERP is typically more scalable than traditional ERP, it can be difficult to scale SaaS ERP to meet the needs of a business as it grows.
  5. Cost: SaaS ERP tends to be more expensive than traditional ERP, as the user must pay a subscription fee and may also need to purchase additional hardware or software to make the system run properly.

Situations when Traditional ERP is better than SaaS

  1. When customization is required: Traditional ERP solutions are more flexible when it comes to customizing the software to meet specific requirements. SaaS ERP solutions may offer limited customization options.
  2. When local hosting is preferred: Traditional ERP solutions are typically hosted on-premise, meaning the data is stored on local servers. This allows for greater control and security over the data.
  3. When compliance requirements are stringent: Traditional ERP solutions are more suitable when it comes to meeting strict compliance requirements.
  4. When the organization has in-house technical expertise: Traditional ERP solutions require more technical expertise to configure and maintain than SaaS ERP solutions.
  5. When budget is a concern: Traditional ERP solutions are typically more cost-effective in the long run than SaaS ERP solutions.

Situations when SaaS is better than Traditional ERP

  1. Cost: SaaS solutions offer lower upfront investments than traditional ERP systems, meaning you can get up and running faster and easier.
  2. Flexibility: With SaaS, you can quickly scale up or down as needed, making it an ideal solution for businesses with fluctuating demand.
  3. Security: SaaS solutions are typically cloud-based, meaning data is stored in a secure and reliable environment.
  4. Support: Most SaaS providers offer comprehensive customer support and product updates, making it easier for businesses to stay on top of their ERP system.
  5. Accessibility: With SaaS, you can access your ERP system from any device, anytime, from any location with an internet connection. This makes it easier to keep your data up to date and accessible to the right people.

Traditional ERP vs SaaS Summary

Both traditional ERP and SaaS offer unique benefits for managing business operations. Traditional ERP provides a comprehensive, all-in-one solution that can be customized to fit the specific needs of an organization. On the other hand, SaaS offers a more flexible, scalable, and cost-effective option for businesses that prioritize agility and innovation. When deciding which option to choose, it’s important to consider your organization’s specific needs, budget, and long-term goals. Ultimately, the decision between traditional ERP and SaaS will depend on your business requirements and preferences. By understanding the key differences between these two options, you can make an informed decision that supports your organization’s success in the long run.

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Jimmy Taylor

I'm Jimmy Taylor, a technology writer with a focus on the SaaS and Cloud spaces. I have a passion for exploring the latest advancements in these spaces and helping others understand them. Follow me on twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.
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