There's been a lot of buzz in our industry regarding SaaS these days. It's the new "IT" word (ha, see what we did there) but honestly, SaaS has been around for a while. We'd like to help provide a quick little resource on the differences to help ensure you're making the best choice for your growing E&P needs:
What is oil and gas SaaS?
SaaS stands for Software as a Service. It's the shiny new way of delivering applications over the Internet...as a service. Instead of installing and maintaining software, a customer would access the software, their data, and essentially run applications online, through the internet. That's it.
The benefits of a SaaS offering include no upgrades (these should be run for you behind the scenes), no maintenance, no hardware requirements, and no initial installations for your business. This is a great offering for those who do not have an in-house IT department and like the hands-off technology approach. SaaS also allows you to focus on running your day-to-day business versus having to worry about technical details. In many cases, SaaS can save you money in the long run and can provide some amazing scalable advantages.
The largest disadvantages to SaaS are debatable but what we've observed mostly (while converting new customers) is difficulty switching vendors. As with using any service provider, switching vendors can be challenging because well, let's be honest, they don't want to let you go. Other disadvantages include extracting data and migrating very large amounts of data can be challenging. Some vendors use proprietary technologies and data types, which can further complicate data transfers between different providers. Vendor lock-in is when a user cannot easily transition between service providers due to these conditions.
What is oil and gas Hosting?
Hosting is just that...your data and/or potentially your ERP being "hosted" by or through a provider. Hosting means renting infrastructure. Infrastructure can be at any location on the planet, like in heaven...Ha. We wish...but ideally in a location that can't be compromised by say a hurricane, tornado, a winter freeze, or power outages. Although let's be honest, there is no spot on this planet that comes with a guarantee that absolutely no outages are going to happen. If someone is promising you such, run.
The benefits of hosting are going to be very similar to SaaS because, well...to be honest, they are very much the same but the core difference may be in the service details. If a provider is just hosting your data or your ERP, they may not be maintaining it or providing upgrades and scheduled maintenance. It's always important to ask and clarify how exactly "hosting" is defined.
Hosting is also subject to the same data extraction challenges mentioned above and service inconsistencies. Meaning it's not uncommon to have a hosting provider who is hands-off with your ERP because they are only hosting. Clarification and integration are key, especially when dealing with the complexity of upstream oil and gas data.
What are oil and gas Cloud solutions?
Cloud was the term of endearment not too long ago. Remember when they had "Insert an alphabet that starts with your company here" Cloud. ABCloud and LMNOPQ-Cloud. Ha. We like jokes. Cloud is intended to be the online version of an ERP offering or a subset of hosted services.
Here we challenge you to look at the actual software, prior to being a cloud offering. If the software is robust and a fully integrated solution prior to being clouded, then chances are it will be so when you access it remotely, be it hosted, cloud, or SaaS.
BUT if you experienced frequent crashes, slow reporting, or challenges with month-end closing, chances are you'll experience the same when you access your ERP via the internet if not more so, keeping in mind influencers such as speed is subject to Internet providers, but the ERP quality and solution offering as a whole is essentially the same.
Wait, what about a remote desktop?
Remote desktop means utilizing an operating system feature that allows a customer to connect to a computer in another location. They can then work that computer's full desktop and interact with it as if it were local. So remote desktop is essentially another hosted or cloud example where your computer is the actual host of all things on that personal computer. An individual may have many programs on their remote desktop to include their ERP.
The main benefits of all these options for you should be convenience, accessibility, and scalability. We hope this was helpful for those looking into SaaS, Hosted, or Cloud options.
What are your thoughts and/or experiences with cloud, hosting, or SaaS? Do you agree? Disagree? Let us know what you think! We're happy to have a discussion about it at any time.
Until then please continue to be well and access your data safely!