Editions   North America | Europe | Magazine


Premium Commentary & Analysis

The Reality of SaaS & the Delusion of Software Ownership

You can’t buy software like a press. It must keep moving with the technology infrastructure, the market, and your business. SaaS is a subscription model that better matches the reality of the way you need software to keep evolving.


Our mission is to provide cogent commentary and analysis about trends, technologies, operations, and events in all the markets that comprise today’s printing industry. Support our mission and read articles like this with a Premium Membership.


About Jennifer Matt

Jennifer Matt is the managing editor of WhatTheyThink’s Print Software section as well as President of Web2Print Experts, Inc. a technology-independent print software consulting firm helping printers with web-to-print and print MIS solutions.


By Wayne Lynn on Nov 09, 2022

Well said Jen! Love the notion that it's not the buying of the solution but the implementation that creates differentiation and value.


By David Richter on Nov 09, 2022

I can't read the entire article, but... on principle I'm against subscription models for anything beyond newspapers or magazines (and a few other mindless consumables like cable, etc). Not into other people telling me how/when I can use the tools for my job. SaaS is a cancer that's ruining every industry — even healthcare, ironically. It's taking us back in time to feudalism and turning everyone into neo-serfs. We’re now little more than digital tenant farmers, and the tech oligarchs are the modern day “landlords”.

Ask anyone using Adobe products since they started this Creative Cloud nonsense: have constant updates actually been the professional advantage they sold it as, or have constant updates actually resulted in more down time because updates break something in your workflow? Personally, it's been headache. I could still do 100% of my work on CS6 (maybe slightly more slowly but it can be done — content-aware is nice, I'll say that much). All the additions — which mostly seem to be a means of making stockholders happy — haven't actually been all that useful to me, or anyone I know who uses Adobe software (at least for print work)... and have caused MAJOR problems more than once.

I've been using Photoshop since the 90s... these days I tell people to use the Affinity Suite. You don't even have access to Pantone swatches in PS without subscribing to them these days. If I didn't have client files (PSD, AI, INDD) coming in/going out so often, I'd completely remove Adobe from my workflow.

I'm sure there's some situation where SaaS isn't worse for the consumer, but every iteration I've seen has only been only advantageous for the landlord.. err, company.


By Michael Jahn on Mar 14, 2023

Full disclaimer - I work for SmartSoft, developers of PressWise, a PrintMIS system that is Cloudy / SasSy. APplogise for my preaching here - but we have a different take on the "Staying on Main Street" 15 years ago, very few of our customers offered Wide Format, any we really did not support estimating and print production very well - now the overwhelming majority do, and we developed support. 5 years ago, very few of our customers were offering Embroidery and Screen Printing - so we needed to develop support for that as well. Adding new features is a daily thing as our customers needs change - being able to deploy these changes overnight is a massive benefit to having a Cloudy / SaaSy solution.


By Chuck Thornburg on Mar 15, 2023

I also work for a software company (OneVision, Inc.) and I do see the benefits for some companies to move to a SaaS model. However, I don't agree with the train/journey metaphor as it implies that it is universal for companies that do not embrace SaaS. The model we use is a perpetual license or a rental with unlimited user access. Support/maintenance is charged annually or included in the rental rate and includes all software upgrades. The very real difference is that our users drive our development and it continually evolves. Some years ago we had 80% of the worlds newspaper market and our focus has evolved to developing workflow automation for the Wide Format, Label, Magazine, and Commercial segments. Unlike the train/journey metaphor, where the tracks are laid, predefined workflows, and you must adapt and follow where they lead, the user defines and designs the workflows for their unique environment. The key here is versatility, both in the freedom to build a workflow designed specifically for you by you, and a close relationship with the software company that listens to you and continues to develop and expand functionality based on user/manufacturer feedback and trends. We do not offer a SaaS model but rather the software can be deployed in your network on hardware/virtual server or in AWS or other hosted environments that affords you some of the same benefits as SaaS.



Join the discussion Sign In or Become a Member, doing so is simple and free