Author: Kevin V.
Author Bio: A TimeClick tech support and sales guy since Jan 2015. Aside from writing the occasional article on time clock software or office networks Kevin loves reading in all forms and cycling to work.
Looking for a software to track your employees’ time? With so many different options on the market (Capterra alone lists over 190 options) educating yourself is well worth your time. This article outlines the overall differences (cost, performance, value) between an on premise and web based time clock software.
Although we are discussing employee time tracking software these ideas apply to business software in general.
Web based software has several names. SAAS (Software as a Service), on-demand, and cloud hosted all mean the same thing. This kind of software is managed and maintained for you and the data resides in the vast dataverse. Whereas an on premise solution is exactly what it sounds like. You purchase a license and then have to install and maintain the software yourself – it resides digitally on your work computer(s).
The difference is that a web based solution is something that you don’t actually purchase. Rather, you pay for a subscription. Often these are monthly or yearly service agreements where you can use the software until you stop paying.
Let’s dive into what to expect from both kinds of software.
Both web based and on premise time clock solutions offer a wide range of features. If a web based solution has a specific feature then typically an on premise solution can be found that has it as well. That said, there is a key difference here.
On premise: Local installations typically mean the software will run as fast as your hardware. Software will still work even if your internet is down.
Web based: Web/browser based and therefore typically more options for a mobile work force. Employees will access web based software through their internet browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, etc) or often a mobile device. Internet speed is a key factor in how the software performs.
Advantage: No clear advantage here. Both are represented well.
On premise: You maintain the software. Support is additional cost and optional.
Since an on premise solution is installed locally to your computers and your office, then you are responsible to maintain your hardware, network and any software upgrades that are required. Granted, you are most likely already maintaining these things. Adding an on premise time clock in this case is simple and results in more control over the software as well as access to it.
Usually the company offers a support plan that is designed to be of value here. Look for email, chat and phone access to the support team.
Web based: They maintain the software. Support is bundled into the subscription.
Here the software is maintained and updated for you. No need to worry about your operating system or computer hardware. No need to worry about purchasing software upgrades. If the software has a bug or breaks, then the responsibility is on the software company.
Advantage: Web based
On premise: You own the software license. You control the data. It resides on your network.
Web based: You don’t own it. Your data is stored in the cloud somewhere. If you cancel your subscription then you have limited access or no access to your data. Security comes down to your trust in the company’s ability to secure your data from attacks and keep it backed up.
Advantage: On premise
On premise: Typically one-time cost and optional support contracts. Cost varies by number of computers. Doesn’t place a limit on number of employees.
Web based: Monthly or annual subscriptions. Either based on features or number of employees or both.
Advantage: On premise software appears to have the advantage. Typically the cost looks higher up front but will often be much less over a longer time period. But the cost depends on the product.
Let’s compare some of the top 20 time clock software in Google’s search results. Note: Price isn’t everything. Value, friendly/responsive support teams, and features are all part of what the price may or may not represent. So when you are reviewing the cost comparison charts keep in mind that there is much more to product selection than cost.
The following is based on purchasing a time clock software with a license size of 10 computers or an account with 10 employees. Data was found on the internet as was available. It is current as of May 10th, 2016 and may have changed since.
Choosing between an on premise time clock software versus a web based solution is all about what is best for your office. If you are concerned about maintenance, hardware, or mobile functionality then a web based solution is probably worth exploring. Alternatively, an on premise solution gives you control of your data and is probably the most cost-effective.
Suggested read: Are you losing money to employee time theft?
On premise software: TimeClick, TimeClock MTS, TimeClockWindow, Time Clock Pearl, and Employee Time Punch.
Web based software: Buddy Punch, TrackSmart, Tsheets, ClickTime, EasyTime Clock, Time Clock Pearl, Open Time Clock, ShiftPlanning, WhenIWork, and Replicon TimeAttend.
5 year costs of the above, both on premise and web based time clocks.