Introduction

One of the most fundamental platform decisions companies have to make is whether to leverage a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform, which means outsourcing hosting and backend management to a company specializing in eCommerce or selecting a platform that requires the retailer to provide on-premise hosting and management.

If you expect your company to grow in the coming years, it’s important to consider scalability as part of your eCommerce platform decision. Both on-premise and SaaS platforms are scalable, but the speed, cost, and ease of scaling are different.

On-Premise

When you’re working with an on-premise solution, it’s relatively easy to change your licensing structure as your company grows. Where it can get more complicated is acquiring and provisioning the servers you need to support your growth before the increase in traffic adversely affects your site.

Your IT team must be proactive in determining when more resources are needed to properly scale an on-premise platform. You must also have enough budget to make infrastructure purchases, including primary servers and redundant servers for backup and business continuity.

Some companies choose to outsource the monitoring of their on-premise solutions to a third-party provider of managed services, which can take some of the guesswork out of determining when and how to scale, but the costs of scaling your own infrastructure will always be a factor you’ll need to consider

SaaS

One of the major benefits of any SaaS solution is the ease and affordability of scaling, and eCommerce platforms are no exception. SaaS eCommerce platforms are built to handle thousands of transactions a day, so even if you run a successful promotion or flash sale that drives unprecedented traffic to your site, you’ll have the resources you need to handle the spike.

Of course, as you scale, so do the fees you pay to your platform provider. But because of the scale at which these providers operate, the monthly licensing fees are minimal compared to what you’d pay for adding on-premise servers.

Conclusion

For many growing companies, eliminating the infrastructure costs and concerns that come with scaling is reason enough to choose a SaaS platform. When it comes to scalability, SaaS is clearly the best choice.

For more information on back-end scalability, business system integration, time to market info, and more, you can download the complimentary JBS/BigCommerce white paper SaaS Versus On-Premise: The eCommerce Platforming Showdown.

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