Cloud Document Management vs. On-Premise (Server Based)

Scott Hambrick
Posted by Scott Hambrick

document-management-software-cloud-serverWhen should you buy software to install on premise?

When should you choose a system that’s hosted in the cloud?

First, I’m going to describe the type of companies that thrive on server-based electronic document management (EDM) systems, also known as “on premise” software.

Companies suited for on-premise document management installations have….

  • Very large file size document AutoCAD, aerial photos, x-ray (radiographs), well logs, etc. can be huge files and are best handled over a LAN, rather than the cloud and the Internet. Internal networks can run jumbo frames at 1 gigabit or more, making it fast and easy to transfer these files and open them on your workstation. A file that might take minutes to get from the cloud can be opened in seconds when served up “on premise.”
  • Lots of documents. We’re talking terabytes of documents. Storage prices are falling and have been for decades. Often, large companies can store your records on an in-house system much more cheaply than on a cloud-based service.
  • Substantial existing infrastructure. This includes mature disaster recovery plans, lots of hardware, IT staff, SQL licenses, etc. Adding a few terabytes of storage can be done at a small marginal cost. Companies that have already gone to the expense of hosting and running lots of enterprise software can easily add EDM to their portfolio.

So, an ideal situation prompting the purchase of on-premise EDM would be:

  • Existing IT staff, infrastructure and policy
  • Large file sizes
  • Large archive size

If your company has these characteristics, it’s almost certain that buying your own document management system will be the most economical choice.

By comparison, companies suited for cloud-based document management systems have…

  • Lots of users versus the amount of records they must manage. For example, a manufacturing company might have a set of documents related to the sale, design, manufacture and delivery of a widget. Those records may total in the thousands of pages, but nearly EVERY person in the company needs access to them at some point. Sales, Engineering, Production, Quality, Shipping and Receiving and Accounting will all dig into that document set. The requirement for sharing, parallel work processes and the relatively small storage need is well served with a cloud based EDM where you pay for storage, not users.
  • No IT staff. If you don’t have an IT staff, the cloud is for you. Cloud-based EDM is easy to implement with no installation necessary, no new server to bring on line. This keeps the IT man-hours to a minimum, maybe at zero.
  • Lots of employees working from home or in the field. The load balancing, redundant internet connections, robust firewalls and other features make cloud document management systems very well suited to supporting work-from-home populations. Most of our customers could never afford to reproduce the results in house.

There are certainly more company characteristics that might influence the choice to purchase your software in the cloud, but, in my opinion, these are the most important ones.

Please give me a call or send an email and we’ll talk over your situation. I’ll point you in the right direction. Call Scott Hambrick at 855-200-6164 or


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