Traditional Composition vs SaaS | How Do They Compare?

“How does my existing composition application compare to today’s SaaS options?”

We get this question all the time.

Both from Elixir customers considering a move from older Elixir variable data print applications, as well as companies using other legacy software.

The initiative to expand correspondence across multiple channels has many companies looking to their traditional composition tools to vet their capabilities and get the most ROI from existing investments. This is a prudent exercise and one that best includes a high level and long-term view of the company’s objectives related to communication.

If your company is pushing the envelope regarding the capabilities of the existing document composition system then this information might provide some helpful context.  There can be a place for both systems too. It depends on your goals.

The comparison below summarizes a few important things to keep in mind.

Key Considerations

Traditional Document Composition

SaaS Platform Capabilities

Limited Scope
Focused primarily on the backend design and print production side. Limited or no collaboration with lines of business.
Extensible Scope
Architected to incorporate a large range of business processes into the workflow. Application logic allows more activities to be managed upstream by a wider scope of users.
Flat User Experience
Common toolset for all users requiring technical expertise for even simple tasks.
Dynamic User Experience
Browser interfaces are capable of presenting role-specific functionality for each user; non-technical and technical.
Siloed Content & Resources
Managing content and resources in a variety of systems can make access difficult, time consuming, and introduces the potential of duplicate versions of the same content.
Centralized Content & Resources
Centralization supports a ‘create once and use everywhere’ approach; text, graphics, business rules and entire workflows can be reused and usage is tracked.
High Total Cost of Ownership
Multi-year contracts; often including incremental costs.
Lower Total Cost of Ownership
Subscription-based pricing; pay for use.
Disconnected Delivery Channels
Traditional composition systems are often so print-centric that additional channels must be supported separate from the core application.
Cross-Channel Output Support
Simultaneous and dynamic output can be served from centralized resources. On-demand, batch, and interactive possible from one platform.

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