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Events — 28 Mar 2022

In-house VS SaaS: Pros and Cons

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In-house VS SaaS: Choosing your affiliate tracking solution

To build or not to build? This is the common question that enterprises, affiliate networks, and agencies face when they need a reliable and accurate tracking solution. In contrast with the popular opinion, lower costs of employing Saas apps it’s not the final argument in this decision. 

What has the bigger impact is the opportunities Saas and in-house solutions provide for a business. Can on-premise software give the desired automation and optimization options? Will software as a service provider allow the needed flexibility and customization? What solution allows tracking the metrics a business needs in real-time?

We compared in-house and Saas tracking solutions by the most important criteria, such as ease of implementation, scalability, and security. Read on to explore the main pros and cons of each software model and make an informed decision.

Implementation and maintenance

Building an in-house tracking solution for partner marketing is a rocky road. To create and implement the technology, a business needs a lot of time, human resources, IT infrastructure, and equipment. 

Developing in-house software for affiliate management may cost you from $250,000 up to $500,000.

However, the biggest flaw of building a solution from scratch is the unpredictability of expenses. According to the McKinsey survey, in 66% of the cases developing in-house software is fraught with significant cost overruns. In 17% of cases, such projects go so wrong that it threatens the company’s existence. 

Another aspect of building an in-house tracking system is maintenance. The advantage of running an on-premise tracking tool is full control and ownership of the product itself and the data you get from it. Perhaps, it’s the very reason for building a software solution from scratch.

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However, with great power comes great responsibility, and companies have to pay for control and ownership. They need to invest regularly in the IT infrastructure and personnel to maintain an in-house solution and keep it available for the end users. It may cost more than $15,000 a month. 

In the meantime, running your tracking and operations on a Saas is a more cost-effective and less labor-intensive way. Ready-made tracking platforms are easy to implement even if you need advanced customization. You can pass all the heavy lifting to the Saas provider. The expenses are way more predictable and in most cases boil down to the amount of your monthly subscription fee. 

The maintenance of the Saas tracking system also requires not as much input from your side. The Saas vendor takes care of it, while your in-house team is involved only with reviewing the process. Though the third-party solutions on average do not provide full data ownership, you can eliminate the risks related to it. Choose a reliable tool that provides robust tracking options and ensures your data safety. 

Customization opportunities

Building a marketing tracking solution in-house is probably the best way to shape it just the way you need it. This option allows the best possible customization and flexibility opportunities. 

Yet, this approach has some pitfalls; you may simply not be aware of the specific processes and issues of tracking. When you eventually encounter them, you’ll need to adjust your platform and add new features, which, in its turn, will take more time, money, and labor. Thus, you risk lagging behind your schedule. 

Saas solutions are built with expertise in the industry and customers’ best interests at heart, so you may be aware that you’ll get all the basic functionality by default. Moreover, you can find many solutions that offer tons of customization options. 

For instance, Affise Performance allows you to make adjustments in design, system settings, content and navigation, alert system, statistics dashboards, and legal information. Learn more about our platform customization opportunities here

However, the key to success with customization is to find out whether you really need the customization you’ve planned initially. Try to focus on the adjustments that add value to your project, workflows, and processes. Customizing a solution for bells and whistles isn’t worth the hassle, whether it’s a Saas product implementation or in-house software development.

Integrations

The ability to support integrations with various services, smoothness of implementing these integrations and the speed of data transfer between services are crucial criteria for choosing a tracking solution. With an on-premise tracking platform, you can incorporate the easy setup for integrations with other services your company uses. To nail it, your developers should have in-detail knowledge about all the platforms you want to integrate with. 

The Saas model, on the contrary, can simplify integration with third-party services. Saas apps often offer a set of ready-to-apply integrations with the most-used solutions: CRMs, fraud-prevention tools, marketing automation services, etc. 

Another thing that can make integrations in the Saas model run smoother is an open API. It allows businesses to connect with third-party services directly, seamlessly integrate data, and set up automated software updates. 

Finally, a good Saas vendor can help you set up the integration with a custom service if you need it. Though Affise has both an open API and a robust set of pre-built integrations, we can not embrace everything that the modern market offers. So, when one of our customers needed integration with Sportintech, our team quickly set it up.

Fraud-prevention

Advertising fraud is one of the biggest threats to your marketing budget. According to Juniper Research, total losses to ad fraud will reach $100 billion by 2023. Apart from it, advertising fraud distorts the tracking results, making you mistaken when planning future campaigns.

Learn more about affiliate marketing fraud and how to prevent it with Affise

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The best way to protect your campaigns from sharp practices when building in-house solutions is by integrating with anti-fraud software. The variety of startups offering such tools is quite profuse, so you can choose the most suitable solution.

However, Saas products can combat fraud even more effectively by combining their own robust technologies with the top market solutions. A great example of such collaboration is an advanced anti-fraud by Affise and 24metrics

Thanks to leading fraud detection algorithms, this technology finds fraudulent traffic with unprecedented accuracy. The prevention technology allows you to ban fraudulent traffic off the bat, without making you deal with fake conversions and affiliates at the end of the month.

Data security & compliance

In the previous years, a great chunk of internet users have fallen victim to cybercriminals or had their data compromised. Thus, consumers are growing more concerned about their data privacy and protection. That’s why data security should be the be-all-and-end-all for modern businesses and the tracking solutions they utilize. And that’s why governments and organizations have set up a wide range of data and privacy regulations in the previous years. 

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Unfortunately, safeguarding the data and staying compliant with the rules it’s arduous work for those who decide to build on-premise software. It may require more time and human resources, which makes the total cost soar. Another way is outsourcing part of this work to third-party services, which hurts reliability. 

Apart from the technical part of this issue, businesses need to take care of the compliance validation, which involves streamlining processes, educating the team, hiring lawyers, and more. Enforcing all regulatory requirements may be much easier if you choose a relatable Saas product.

Saas vendors work as data processors when it comes to tracking solutions. It means they fulfill obligations under the GDPR towards existing customers and their employees. And, of course, they put a lot of effort into staying compliant and keeping their customers’ data safe. 

To ensure your Saas solution is reliable, pay attention to such evidence as compliance certificates. For instance, Affise addresses the regulations and rules rigorously, which is approved by numerous documents. We have the ePrivacyseal and SOC2 Type II compliance certificate proving our trustworthiness and compliance with the most stringent industry standards.

System reliability and troubleshooting

Building your own solution allows you to gain control over its reliability. In theory, it means roughly no downtime and fast troubleshooting with your internal resources. In practice, you need quite a huge team of professionals working on keeping your software going. Moreover, any upgrade – which you will definitely need – come across as an expensive and time-consuming undertaking.  

Sticking to Saas applications allows less control but at the same time takes care of system reliability off your shoulders. With a quality solution, you may count on a high degree of reliability.

Such solutions as Affise ensures 99.9% of the system uptime. Sounds impressive, isn’t it?

Another aspect is no need to keep the in-house IT team for maintenance and troubleshooting. A Saas product with a dedicated customer support team can help you tackle any issue with unprecedented speed and quality.

Finally, upgrading the Saas tracking solution may take a little less hassle. In most cases, your role boils down to validating the update, which means minimal involvement in the process. However, you have much less control over the updates, but the Saas provider will always inform you about them in advance.

Scalability

Businesses are built to grow, and tracking solutions they use should follow this trend. On average, on-premise software doesn’t take account of this pattern, as businesses build it relying on their current needs. It makes further scalability an arduous and time-consuming process. All changes applied to the growing business needs may take a lot of long-term planning and resources for scaling.

Meanwhile, Saas solutions are built with various businesses in mind, from small companies to enterprises. It creates a great base for scaling as an evolving company has easy access to more suitable solutions for the new stage of its growth and can switch to them without wasting resources.

To sum up

Saas

In-house

Implementation and maintenance 

  • Predictable cost;
  • You can start within several business days;
  • Effortless maintenance.
  • Cost is often higher than expected;
  • Requires a lot of time and effort for implementation;
  • High-maintenance.

Customization opportunities

  • Customization opportunities are relatively limited, but the flexibility is still high enough;
  • Easy to make changes.
  • Highest possible customization and flexibility.

Integrations

  • Easy integrations with third-party services through pre-built integrations;
  • Fast data transfer with open API;
  • The possibility to request a custom integration.
  • Complicated integrations with third-party services;
  • Fast data transfer.

Fraud-prevention

  • Robust set of in-house and third-party solutions;
  • Unique protection solutions built in collaboration with industry leaders.
  • Robust security to integrations with fraud-prevention services.

Data security & compliance

  • Full compliance with no effort from your side;
  • Robust data-protection technologies and processes.
  • Additional time and resources needed to achieve compliance and protect data;
  • Complicated enforcement of regulatory requirements.

System reliability and troubleshooting

  • High reliability – up to 99.9% of uptime for specific solutions;
  • Troubleshooting is on the Saas vendor side;
  • Regular no-hussle updates.
  • High demand for additional resources to provide reliability and troubleshooting;
  • Expensive and time-consuming system updates.

Scalability

  • Scaling with minimal time and effort required.
  • Long-term planning and profuse resources are needed for scaling.

All in all, Saas is a reasonable option for quickly growing businesses. Despite certain limits in customization and integrations, software as a service offers easy implementation and maintenance, robust fraud-prevention tools, reliable data security and compliance to stringent standards, excellent reliability, and scalability.

If Saas is your tracking of choice, try Affise – the platform for data-loving marketers that provides accurate tracking with a wide range of tools. Our solution offers various attribution models that help you get meaningful insights even in the cookieless era.

Try Affise today! Submit for a free trial and
check out all platform’s functionality by yourself!

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Anna Averianova

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Content Manager

Anna is a Content Marketer with a background in B2B, creative approach, and eagerness for professional improvement. She aspires to produce content that helps achieve business objectives and benefit readers. When she’s not delved into writing another exciting article for you, she’s probably fooling around with her cat.

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