SaaS (software as a service) companies that provide hosted locator software and locator software plugin vendors have their pros and cons depending on one’s needs and goals. MetaLocator is familiar with these differences having evolved from starting out as just a plugin in 2007, then into a fully hosted solution operating in a SaaS model.
Advantages of Locator Software Companies
One of the biggest advantages to choosing a partner for your locator project (as opposed to a plugin) is the ability to scale transparently. When working with a plugin, the software will only ever have as much capacity as your Website. Typical websites on low-powered hosting platforms rarely have the computing capacity to support a searchable map. Hosted solutions can provide high-performance database and Web server capacity by spreading the associated cost across their entire customer base.
SaaS companies also differ vastly from plugins when it comes to servicing customers. Typically, a SaaS company is going to provide tailored customizations. Along with this comes more flexibility in services, including quick updates to help a specific customer if needed. When purchasing a plugin, it may come with a simple “README” file or similar documentation leaving the buyer to perform any customization.
A company that has dedicated itself to providing locator software is a much more stable relationship compared to a plugin vendor. Plugin vendors often have a library of 10 or more plugins and their attention to the locator plugin may wane or disappear altogether. With such divided attention, plugins rarely provide the feature depth commonly found with a hosted solution.
SaaS solutions may also provide a wider scope of support for users. Since the product is a service, they can provide direct support beyond just advice. Users oftentimes can contact the SaaS company and be walked through any issues they are having.
Another major difference that SaaS provides is consistent, automatic updates. For example, MetaLocator is always releasing new features for our customers, which are automatically added into your account. Typically, plugins are more of an “off the shelf” purchase. You get what you get at the time, sometimes there are available updates but they commonly require action from the user. This means there is no guarantee that a plugin will ever be updated, serviced or improved.
Advantages of Plug-Ins
One of the main reasons plugins are popular is due to the affordability they offer. Hosted locator software can be significantly more expensive. This is commonly due to the significantly higher value that can be delivered by a hosted locator. While affordable, plug-ins lack the support and development provided by a true SaaS locator.
Another perceived benefit is once a user purchases and downloads a plugin, they own a license to that product. The software is on your hard drive for you to use. With SaaS services, customers pay periodically (usually monthly) to continue to use the service. Once they stop paying, they stop receiving the service. Plugin vendors are also moving to this model, where a key must be entered into the plugin configuration for its continued operation.
Although plugins don’t add new features for specific customers, they still can have planned updates. These planned updates are to help better the experience of users. Although changes and updates are not required or promised, typically plugins will update to help with user retention and acquisition. Unfortunately, those updates commonly require the webmaster to manually apply them, and test to ensure they didn’t break any existing features.
MetaLocator as a SaaS Company
MetaLocator began its journey as a website plugin. Since, we have evolved into a high powered SaaS company. At MetaLocator, we pride ourselves on always innovating and evolving. Our product is consistently updated and automatically implemented to our users, allowing them to present the best image to customers possible at all times.
As a SaaS company, MetaLocator helps users capture information and data about your customers. This provides insights and helps users define a better marketing strategy to their target audience. MetaLocator has powerful built-in analytics that can pass information to a Google Analytics account. This allows the software to be useful with any third-party tools that can use Google Analytics. MetaLocator will also allow you to pass information on leads to leading CRM software like HubSpot and SalesForce.
What’s the difference between locators from a hosted service, like MetaLocator, and locators from a plugin? The major difference is the time required for setting up the locator. With a plugin, you receive little or no assistance. This takes time away from your staff’s schedule to work on more lucrative projects. If you pay someone else to do it, those costs go even higher because you are fronting the entire cost of development.
Our support team is always on top of customer needs. One of the mentioned benefits of SaaS companies is the support offered, but MetaLocator looks to take that to the next level. See how MetaLocator stacks up against the competition by checking out our comparison pages.
To learn more about MetaLocator and our offerings, see our products page.