When choosing new software you have many options. You must decide on features, price, and the way you plan to buy. Purchase was previously the only payment option available but recently subscription has become a more viable option. Subscription plans have you pay a yearly fee for hosting the software online. Purchase, on the other hand, is when you pay upfront and host the software on your own servers. Each type of buying is right for a different type of customer. Subscription and purchase both have their share of pros and cons.
When you choose to participate in subscription you are allowing yourself and your district much more flexibility because the plan is pay as you go. Since you are not tied to a long term contract you are able to cancel after a year. Thus, if you realize the product or software no longer meets your needs you are not tied to it forever. This is beneficial for those of us (like myself) who aren’t risk takers because it allows you low-risk while still reaping the benefits.
Quick start up
Choosing subscription allows you to have a new system up and running in no time! This option does not require in-house servers. You can submit a request online and be using your software within 24 hours. The quick turnaround is accomplished through cutting down many other processes such as the installation and care of servers. This is a huge benefit to the districts that need a new school nutrition software, and they need it now!
Opting to use a subscription means that your software is hosted on the server of a software provider. While at first this may seem like a negative, it is definitely not! When your software is on a hosted server it receives much better care. You also will get more redundancy to ensure that your information is backed up. This hosted server likely serves many districts but it still backs up your information automatically. You can rest easy knowing your sever is safe when you use subscription. The subscription price typically includes maintenance of the software and server. This makes it a wise decision for your program’s budget.
As the name online software implies, you can access subscription from anywhere at any time. Yes, this means you can log onto your school nutrition software from your tablet at a meeting or when you are traveling to a conference. You will never again have to worry about the access to this critical information.
If you decide to pursue purchase of school nutrition software you are taking a large risk. Due to the fact that you pay for on-premise software up front, there is no turning back once you have made the decision. When you purchase new school nutrition software you receive a perpetual license. This essentially means the software can be used forever. Depending on how satisfied you are with the product this could be beneficial or detrimental. Most school districts evaluate the software of a perpetual license based on a 5 year ownership. (Because as we all know technology can change a lot in 5 years!)
One of the major problems with the purchase option is the time it takes to get the new software up and running. Since you have to install the server locally the process can take up to several weeks or months. Some districts just do not have this kind of time when it comes to implementing their new software system. Along with local installation comes the upkeep of the server. This includes all backups and redundancy, which can become expensive and daunting when taken on by the school nutrition department.
A purchase of school nutrition software, unlike subscription is not typically all inclusive. Thus, you would have to foot the cost of IT support, and sever upgrades, among other issues. These things could add up to be an expensive cost for your program. Added costs are something you will want to take into consideration when making your decision.
It is clear that benefits exist with both subscription and purchase. It is important that you take the time to think about what is the right choice for you. Which one of these options do you currently use for your school nutrition software? Why did you chose this route?