Cloud Services or Licensed Software for Time and Attendance?

When selecting a new time and attendance system, among the most fundamental decisions is the deployment method. You can go with a cloud deployment hosted by a time and attendance service provider, or with licensed software hosted by your company.

Cloud deployments, sometimes referred to as software as a service (SaaS), use off-site hardware to run on-site applications and services. This can be much more efficient than operating the same software on-site because the hardware is maintained by the cloud service provider.

Because most cloud providers charge based on the number of employees tracked in the system, licensed systems may seem more cost effective for large businesses. However, cloud delivery is much less expensive for any other business.

Of course, cost is not the only consideration when making purchasing decisions.

Here we will cover ten significant benefits of choosing cloud time and attendance software over licensed software to help you find the perfect solution for your business.

1. You Get Greater Uptime in the Cloud

Almost all cloud applications boast great availability, typically ranging from 99.5% uptime to 99.999% uptime.

For you and me, 99.5% uptime is less than two days a year of downtime. 99.999% uptime means less than five and a half minutes of downtime per year!

Are service outages common at your workplace? A cloud based time and attendance deployment is probably your best bet. Data-centers today are much more reliable than internal solutions. Redundant designs and the latest security measures make data safer and service more readily available.

You will not have to worry about downtime with a software as a service deployment.

2. The Cloud is Available Anywhere at Anytime

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. Acumen provides great time and attendance software that works anywhere, on the web, or even your phone or tablet.

You will be confident that your employees and management will be able to access the software they need. Anytime. Anywhere.

Software upgrades seamlessly across multiple platforms thanks to integration with the cloud.

Software upgrades seamlessly across multiple platforms thanks to integration with the cloud.

3. Automatically get the Newest Software through the Cloud

The vast majority of cloud time and attendance providers seamlessly upgrade customers to the latest version of the software without any additional cost.

Any new features 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 (or sometimes hardware) that you have integrated into your business. With cloud software delivery, you’re spared from recurring upgrade headaches.

You will never be forced into purchasing a more expensive licensed system to get the best new features.

4. There is Less Commitment than a Licensed Deployment

Some cloud 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 cloud time and attendance provider.

Despite this differentiation, both “pay as you go” and term-based cloud are better options than licensed software for most companies when it comes to commitment.

If you license software that ultimately fails to meet a requirement or fails to integrate properly, you’re stuck with it. There’s no way to recoup the costs or time devoted to the project. With cloud based time and attendance, there is little invested and little obligation if the worst happens.

You will have the freedom and flexibility to change directions without being bound to a license.

5. Cloud Solutions are Flexible and Scalable

Licensed software and cloud 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 to 25 employees, the license will cost $X; for companies with 26 to 50 employees, the license will cost $Y. With cloud based 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.

You will be sure you’re paying a fair price per employee with a scalable solution.

6. Cloud Solutions are Customizable

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

You can get a custom software solution with Acumen to meet your exact needs.

7. No New Hardware Required

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 or 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, software as a service 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. You’ll save on electricity, maintenance, cooling, and IT personnel too.

In addition, most time and attendance software requires the deployment of one or more employee time clocks. With cloud time and attendance, hardware is optional. Your company could have employees clock in and out via web browser or smartphone. Alternately, if your firm wanted an inexpensive but secure biometric solution, it could deploy a fingerprint reader that connects to a common workstation.

You will save time and money by cutting extra hardware expenses.

Data security with cloud based time and attendance solutions.

8. Your Data is Safer in the Cloud

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

You can rest assured that your data is in safe hands.

9. Faster Implementation, Reduced IT Strain

With no hardware to integrate, no servers to setup, and no software to install, cloud 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.

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 cloud time and attendance provides more flexibility in this department.

Cloud time and attendance certainly lifts the burden on IT departments, both at the integration phase and down the road. Upgrades are automatic with cloud 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.

You will get better use out of your software and your IT personnel with a software as a service solution.

10. Cloud Solutions are Cost Effective

Whether considering up-front costs or total cost of ownership, software as a service 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. Cloud time and attendance providers are less likely to charge activation or setup fees (or the fees will be lower, on average). There is just less involved in the setup process for cloud time and attendance. 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, cloud time and attendance comes-up on top here too. With zero maintenance, no integration concerns, and no upgrades down the road, cloud time and attendance wins-out every time against licensed systems.

The only time licensed time and attendance software becomes more cost effective compared to cloud time and attendance is when a company has thousands of employees. Cloud service 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.

According to some license software providers, after a few years of paying monthly fees, the financial sense of paying monthly fees doesn’t add up anymore.

But even this argument is easily refuted by cloud providers. The automatic software upgrades and maintenance savings legitimize the continued payment of monthly fees to the cloud time and attendance provider.

You will save money by avoiding the expenses of maintaining a licensed system.

Using the cloud is a better solution for your bottom line most of the time.

Using the cloud is a better solution for your bottom line most of the time.

Cloud vs. Licensed Systems: Conclusion

Now that we’ve covered the ten essential benefits of cloud time and attendance over licensed systems, we hope you have a better idea about your options.

While your specific needs might tip the scales more toward licensed systems, in general, your company will be better-served by a software as a service time and attendance system. Cloud systems don’t lack any functionality found in licensed systems while offering a better deployment model.

Experts in Timekeeping and Employee Scheduling 

Acumen Data Systems is a leading provider of time clock and employee scheduling software. We help organizations manage their most valuable resources— the human kind. Acumen offers robust solutions for time and attendance, scheduling and leave management. 

We believe that technology is but one quarter of the workforce management pie. Employees, policy and the environment are just as important. 

Do you have questions about our cloud or licensed deployment options? 

Contact one of our experts to discuss the best timekeeping solutions for your organization.  You can also reach us at 888-816-0933