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Digital Experience Platform Deployment

Cloud or on-premise deployment for digital experience platforms? 13 considerations

You’re sold on the value of a digital experience platform (DXP). But should you deploy it in the cloud or on-premises? The answer depends on your needs.

What you’ll want to think about

The decision to deploy your CMS on-premises or host it in the cloud is an important one. Whether you’re adopting your first digital experience platform, migrating to a new one, or upgrading a current one, here are 13 factors to consider before making your decision.

1. Scalability

If your company has a high volume of visitors or seasonal campaigns and events, you’ll need flexibility to adjust bandwidth and computing capacity. Otherwise, your customers will be blocked from interacting with you right when you’re looking to engage with them.

With an on-premises solution, you’ll need to invest in additional servers, which will probably not be used outside of those peak periods. A cloud-based solution will let you automatically scale based on demand, and you’ll usually only have to pay for what you actually use.

2. Geographical requirements

If your customers are located in a large geographic area and you’re going to show all of them the same general content, an on-premises solution connected to data centers could be all you need.

But if you’re investing in a new digital experience platform, you’re likely doing so because you want to deliver personalized experiences to your customers. For targeted content to smaller groups across multiple locations, a cloud-based solution can offer better speed and performance.

3. Quality assurance and user acceptance testing

Some cloud solutions offer a richer testing environment than you’ll get with on-premises deployment. You can create high-volume testing scenarios, which is useful if you tend to have sudden bursts of traffic on your websites.

An on-premises solution will allow your testers to work in a stable environment that takes advantage of your existing technology assets. If your testing methodologies are designed for a fixed environment with few spikes in traffic, then the peak traffic testing that you’d get with the cloud may not be essential for you.

4. Application feature deployment

Digital experience platforms often contain new features. But whether your CMS and DXP is hosted on-premises or in the cloud, upgrading and patching it takes planning, resourcing, and testing.

With an on-premises solution, you’re in total control of upgrades, but you’re also responsible for everything — including when things go wrong. With a software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution, your provider handles the updates entirely for you and implements them at the same time for all customers. Platform-as-a-service (PaaS) and Infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) environments are a happy medium, giving you control over when updates happen so you can properly do testing.

5. Speed of deployment

If you don’t need to spend time building infrastructure for scalability, your time to market will be shorter. This is where a cloud solution can be really advantageous — because in an experience-driven market, the first to get to market usually wins.

6. Three- to five-year growth strategy

Is your organization expecting to grow quickly in the next three to five years? Do you have seasonal or industry-wide volatility? If you answered yes to either of these questions, you’ll want the instant scalability that a cloud solution provides.

A cloud solution means you’ll be able to scale up if you’re growing or scale down if things don’t go as expected — which could mean substantial savings you wouldn’t otherwise get with on-premises deployment.

7. Cost

When you calculate the total cost of your digital experience platform, the price tag of the software is only one part of the equation.

If you’re thinking of hosting on-premises, you’ll need to factor in the cost of additional servers, operating expenses for deploying, configuring, and maintaining the infrastructure, and higher recurring costs for IT. With a cloud solution, you’ll likely have lower upfront costs and fewer capital expenditures.

8. Systems integration and compatibility

This is one area where on-premises deployment will offer significant advantages. You’ll have control over the implementation process, and you’ll probably find it easier to integrate your systems, use your development tools, and connect to your data. With cloud solutions, you’ll have less control and will need to put more energy and thought into integrating your data systems.

9. Development and DevOps

With on-premises deployment, your developers will have more control, and there will be less impact on their operations. However, some cloud deployment providers can mold their product to your DevOps environment and adapt it to your existing development standards.

10. Data security and privacy

If you decide to deploy your CMS on-premises, your data will remain on your own servers and will be as secure as your IT team makes it. The cloud means your data will be travelling more, but cloud services often use more secure technology and stricter privacy policies than you might be using at your company.

11. International data compliance

If you do business internationally, your company has to comply with data regulations that differ based on each country and industry. Working with a cloud provider eliminates the headache of compliance, as providers tend to adhere to the most stringent international and industry regulations.

12. Availability

With an on-premises solution, you’ll need to make sure you have the additional servers and hook-ups to data centers so you can serve large audiences. A cloud solution means you’ll need an always-on internet connection and a service provider that’s committed to rapidly fixing outages.

13. Replication, redundancy, and disaster recovery

Cloud solutions offer a clear advantage in the unlikely event of a worst-case scenario. Because cloud solutions are spread over several data centers and regularly back up your data, your online presence can stay entirely intact despite whatever might be happening at your headquarters. If anything should happen, you’ll be able to recover faster and at a fraction of the cost.

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