On-demand or on-premise: Which is better for talent management?

John Kleeman HeadshotPosted by John Kleeman

Is it better to run assessment, learning and other talent management software on-demand, in the Cloud? Or is it wiser to run software on-premise, within your organization’s firewall?

I recently wrote about this on the SAP community and received a lot of feedback; I‘d like to share the topic with readers of the Questionmark Blog.

In this post I will share 6 reasons why the Cloud is usually better. And in my next post I’ll give you 4 reasons why it may not be.

1. On-demand gives you access to innovation and use of mobile devices

questionmark-iphone

A critical advantage of on-demand deployment – or software as a service (SaaS) — is that you get the latest version of software. Most providers upgrade all their customers at the same time to the latest version, and you get bug fixes, feature improvements, security fixes and innovation as part of the service. With on-premise, you are in control of when you install updates. But due to the resources required to upgrade, it’s commonplace to only upgrade once every year or two, and therefore be several versions behind an on-demand system. Support for the latest mobile devices is an obvious casualty..

To quote Ed Cohen of SuccessFactors:

“If you look at the rate of innovation that can occur with a SaaS product as against a company maintaining a behind the firewall instance of something, it becomes super important for learning and talent.”

 

2. Deployment is easier with on-demand and allows quick pilots

An on-premise system needs setup of servers and software installation. This takes planning, time and resources, whereas an on-demand system can usually be deployed within hours of ordering it. An on-demand system is also easier to scale up and expand. You can start small with one project and add users or departments as needed.

3. On-demand requires less corporate IT bandwidth

This is often the strongest reason to go on-demand in the learning and assessment space. Corporate IT departments are typically overloaded, and talent management software is not their top priority. This creates a bottleneck, which in turn delays deployment.

On-demand still needs the involvement of corporate IT, but you can usually make headway and provide improved functionality quicker than when deploying on-premise.

4. You don’t need to worry about scalability with on-demand

With an on-premise solution, you have to scale servers to cope with the busiest times (e.g. an end-of-year deadline, exam season or a compliance milestone). But if you use on-demand software, you delegate this to the Cloud provider, who will usually be able to expand to handle your highest load.

5. On-demand is easier to make secure

Both on-premise and on-demand can be very secure, but achieving a high level of security is expensive and involves constant vigilance. Unless you invest heavily in security, Cloud providers will usually provide higher security than the typical on-premise solutions.

This point is well described by SAP’s  Prashanth Padmanabhan in his blog article Why Do We Keep Our Valuables In A Bank Locker?. He states:

“… one of the SAP – SuccessFactors Hybrid customers announced publicly that their own security audit found that SuccessFactors cloud infrastructure was more secure than their own fire wall.”

And the respected UK Universities and Colleges Information Systems Association says in its Cloud briefing paper:

“In practice, data is probably more secure in cloud services than can be provided by in house solutions.”

6. On-demand is usually more reliable

Usually, providing your users have good Internet connectivity, an on-demand system will also be more reliable and have higher up-time.

Stylized picture of bridge

Unless you invest heavily in your on-premise infrastructure, a professionally maintained on-demand server is likely to provide a higher level of 24/7 availability and uptime than a locally maintained system. A professional system is likely to have redundancy in every component and will not fail if a piece of hardware fails, whereas it may not be cost-effective to have such redundancy in an on-premise system. Redundancy makes sure, just like in a bridge over a river, that if one piece fails, the rest of the bridge survives.

In a follow-up post, I’ll explain some reasons why on-premise can be better.

Perception Version 5 Streamlines Blended Delivery & Enhances Accessibility

Joan Phaup

Posted by Joan Phaup

Excellent news: Questionmark Perception Version 5 is now available for you to download and try out!

This newest version of Perception makes the participant experience better than ever and brings enhanced security, scalability, deliverability, accessibility and translatability. Now it is easier than to deploy surveys, quizzes, tests and exams to an increasingly mobile, global and diverse audience.

Version 5 makes it simpler to deliver a single assessment to many different types of devices and manage the combined results all together. Questionmark takes the guesswork out of blended delivery by auto-sensing each device and delivering assessments to it in the right format, automatically. Whether your assessment is taken on  desktops, laptops, smart phones and other mobile devices — or embedded within wikis, blogs or Web pages — you can manage all the results together.

Here are some  key things to look for in Perception Version 5:

  • A new logon and assessment list screen that make it easier for participants to find assessments, view schedules, reports and other information.
  • Easier navigation through assessments and ready access to embedded tools such as calculators and charts
  • Outstanding accessibility tools and ease of use with assistive technologies
  • Multilingual participant interfaces available in 20 languages
  • Streamlined management of multilingual assessments
  • Enhanced failsafe functionality to protect data if an internet connection is lost
  • Greater scalability including easier deployment in load-balanced environments

Perception’s new logon and assessment list screen makes it easier for participants to find assessments, view schedules, reports and other information. It’s also easier to navigate through assessments and access embedded tools such as calculators, and enhanced failsafe functionality protects data if an internet connection is lost.

Version 5 includes new options for improving the accessibility of assessments. It is easy to use with assistive technologies such as screen readers, and participants with low or partial vision can adjust text size and contrast. Participants unable to use a mouse can now navigate assessments via keyboard and/or other devices.

There’s even an optional Translation Management System to help test publishers, businesses and other organizations that need to deliver assessments in multiple languages by streamlining the management and delivery of localized content to multinational workforces.

As you can see, it’s impossible to tell all about Perception Version 5 in this space. So click on these links to learn more!

If you really want to get up to speed on Version 5, come to the Questionmark Users  Conference in Miami March 14 -17 and attend the tech training sessions that will focus on it!