When selecting a new time and attendance system, among the most fundamental decisions is the deployment method – that is, software as a service (SaaS) hosted by the time and attendance service provider or licensed software hosted by your company.

Since most SaaS providers charge based on the number of employees tracked in the system, licensed systems are typically more cost effective for large businesses. However, SaaS delivery is much more economical for all other businesses.

Of course, cost isn’t the only consideration when making purchasing decisions. This article will cover ten significant benefits for choosing SaaS time and attendance software to help in your purchasing process.

SaaS Time & Attendance Benefit #1: Great Uptime

Almost all SaaS applications boast great availability, typically ranging from 99.5% uptime to 99.999% uptime. For you and me, that equates to less than two days a year of downtime. 99.999% uptime means less than five and a half minutes of downtime per year!

If service outages are common at your workplace (e.g. “email’s down!”), SaaS time and attendance deployment is probably your best bet. Datacenters today are much more reliable than internal solutions. Redundancies and the latest security measures make data safer and service more readily available.

SaaS Time & Attendance Benefit #2: Available Anywhere

One of the intrinsic benefits of software as a service is that it is available anywhere. As web-based software, it is accessible whether you’re traveling, whether you have employees around the world, or whether you’re on a smartphone. (Most SaaS time and attendance software is at least somewhat functional via smartphone.)

SaaS Time & Attendance Benefit #3: Newest Software

The vast majority of SaaS time and attendance providers seamlessly upgrade customers to the latest version of the software without any additional cost. Any new features, then, become magically available to users as soon as they are rolled-out.

This significant advantage over licensed systems could save your company thousands of dollars just with one upgrade. With licensed software, the new version may not be compatible with legacy software (sometimes hardware) that you have integrated into your infrastructure. With SaaS delivery, you’re spared from recurring upgrade headaches.

SaaS Time & Attendance Benefit #4: Low Commitment

Some SaaS time and attendance providers offer “pay as you go” delivery, which is essentially month-to-month service. Others use term-based contracts, much like cell phone companies, where customers may pay a penalty if the contract is ended prematurely. It’s important to understand the terms of the service before signing-up with any SaaS time and attendance provider.

Despite this differentiation, both “pay as you go” and term-based SaaS are better options than licensed software for most companies, regarding commitment. If you license software that ultimately fails to meet a requirement or fails to integrate properly, you’re stuck with it – and there’s no way to recoup the costs or time devoted to the project. With SaaS time and attendance, there is little invested and little obligation if the worst happens.

SaaS Time & Attendance Benefit #5: Scalable

Licensed software and SaaS time and attendance are both scalable. However, with licensed software, you may run into license tiers where they charge a flat fee for a given range of employees. For instance, for companies that have 1 – 25 employees, the license will cost $X; for companies with 26 – 50 employees, the license will cost $Y. With SaaS time and attendance, you are charged a per-employee fee – so you never get stuck overpaying for seats.

In addition, some licensed time and attendance software just won’t scale to meet the needs of larger businesses. Other software will require more powerful (and costly) servers to run properly for companies with thousands of employees.

SaaS Time & Attendance Benefit #6: Customization

While rare, even SaaS can be customized. Companies that sell software that is only licensed may try to convince you that no SaaS company will customize their software. Acumen is proof they’re wrong. We’ve been customizing our SaaS time and attendance software for our valued customers since 2001.

SaaS Time & Attendance Benefit #7: No Hardware

Since the application and all data are hosted remotely, there is no need to buy, integrate, and maintain onsite servers. The savings potential here is huge if you don’t currently have any servers or if you don’t have the storage / processing power to support your time and attendance system on existing servers.

In addition to the up-front savings created by not purchasing a (new) server, SaaS time and attendance will also help you save year after year because you don’t have to maintain or pay for the costs to run the server. A 427W server running 24/7 consumes 3,741 KWH of electricity on average per year – or nearly $400 at the average US commercial energy price (2010), $0.1023/KWH.

In addition, most time and attendance software requires the deployment of one or more employee time clocks. With SaaS time and attendance, hardware is optional. If desired, a company could have employees clock in and out via web browser or smartphone. Alternately, if a company wanted an economical biometric solution, it could deploy a USB fingerprint scanner that is installed on a computer.

SaaS Time & Attendance Benefit #8: More Secure

With no on-site data storage, your data is actually more secure. While it may seem somewhat counterintuitive, your data really will be safer if hosted by a SaaS time and attendance provider. Datacenters and data transmission today are incredibly secure. The latest network security applications, 24-hour monitoring, and high security are all standard at most datacenters.

SaaS Time & Attendance Benefit #9: Faster Implementation, Reduced IT Strain

With no hardware to integrate, no servers to setup, and no software to install, SaaS time and attendance provides a much faster roll-out and requires far less heavy-lifting from your IT personnel than licensed software that is hosted on-site.

As we’ve discussed, licensed time and attendance software sometimes requires new computer capital expenses, both hardware and software. It may also be more complicated and costly to enable multiple users to use the system. Licensed time and attendance software also typically requires the integration of employee time clocks while SaaS time and attendance provides more flexibility in this department.

SaaS time and attendance certainly lifts the burden on IT departments, both at the integration phase and down the road. Upgrades are automatic with SaaS time and attendance. Hardware and software will never need to be updated in order to keep your time and attendance system running. IT will not have to manage and maintain servers.

SaaS Time & Attendance Benefit #10: More Cost Effective

Whether considering up-front costs or total cost of ownership, SaaS time and attendance is more cost effective than licensed time and attendance software for nearly any business with less than 1,000 employees.

First, consider initial costs. SaaS time and attendance providers are less likely to charge activation or setup fees (or the fees will be less, on average). There is just less involved in the setup process for SaaS time and attendance, so companies can pass-on the savings to the customer. Beyond that, there is the savings gained through the freedom from hardware and software expenditures and upgrades. Lastly, the cost of personnel labor and IT resource utilization is much more costly with licensed time and attendance.

When it comes to total cost of ownership, SaaS time and attendance comes-up on top here too. With zero maintenance, no integration concerns, and no upgrades down the road, SaaS time and attendance wins-out every time against licensed systems.

Truly, the only time licensed time and attendance software becomes more cost effective compared to SaaS time and attendance is when a company has thousands of employees. SaaS providers offer steep discounts for large companies, but oftentimes the ROI just doesn’t compare to purchasing the software outright in the licensed software deployment model. After a few years of paying monthly fees, the fiduciary sense of paying perpetual monthly fees doesn’t add up anymore.

But even this argument could be refuted by SaaS providers by claiming that the automatic software upgrades and maintenance savings legitimize the continued payment of monthly fees to the SaaS time and attendance provider. This is especially convincing, though, because at the 1,000+ employee level, the IT infrastructure can be extremely complex and the savings can be easily seen.

Licensed Vs. SaaS Time & Attendance: Conclusion

Now that we’ve covered the ten essential benefits of SaaS time and attendance over licensed systems, we hope you have a better direction and more confidence in your time and attendance initiative.

While your specific deployment may have special considerations and requirements that may tip the scales more toward licensed systems, in general, chances are that your company will be better-served by a SaaS time and attendance system. SaaS time and attendance systems lack no functionality of licensed systems while offering a better deployment model.

Please contact us to learn more about our employee time and attendance systems or request a quote today.