Is software critical to your organization? If so, it is extremely beneficial to have as much control over your software as possible. This is especially true for something as essential as enterprise Research Administration software, also known as eRA software. As such, many leading universities and organizations are adopting Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and moving their enterprise-wide software (including eRAs) to the cloud faster than ever. Why? SaaS offers huge financial and operational benefits.
When done right, with the correct software vendor partner, there are several advantages to cloud-based eRA software. For example, it can reduce administrative overhead costs while improving workflow. Additionally, it can secure an institution’s research data while still providing the access users need. Further, SaaS can trigger significant cost-savings in some unexpected places. Let’s take a look at the benefits of the ideal SaaS model.
Decreased data center costs
eRAs can generate an enormous amount of data, and it all has to go somewhere. As a result, research institutions may self-host their data. Or, they can choose to store it off-site. Most higher education institutions – even R1-level ones – don’t have purpose-built data centers on campus. That’s not surprising, since a large state-of-the-art data center could cost ~$100M. For this reason alone, a self-hosted data center onsite may not be the best option.
Moving volumes of research administration data to “the cloud” may seem like a large undertaking. But adding onto an existing data center is no easy task, and neither is moving one. Over time, centrally hosted software and data storage will exceed available space. And onsite equipment will become outdated.
Given these options, it’s no wonder organizations are looking to offload data storage responsibilities. Rolling application data storage into the cost of the application service is one way to ease the burden of data storage while still controlling access to it.
Increased security is essential, especially for higher education institutions. For starters, there is the need to comply with a host of data privacy regulations. Equally important is the fact that colleges and universities are frequent targets for data thieves. This is because universities have a relatively transient user population, but they give their user communities access to significant computing resources. They also generate a large volume of highly valuable data through proprietary academic and research activities. Independent research institutions face similar considerations as well, given staffing and turnover, and the need to protect proprietary information.
What SaaS does is to place sensitive eRA data outside of the IT infrastructure. It adds layers of physical and logical security. It also makes it easier to back-up and store data. For these reasons and more, a proven and reputable SaaS vendor may have a winning eRA option worth considering.
Typically, two priorities for institutions wanting to store their data offsite are reliability and availability. Placing data in a highly reliable, protected data center enables users to access the information at all times. This is true even when the institution’s own system is down for maintenance. Regardless of onsite issues, such as power problems, the external data source remains safe. This allows the university or independent research institution to find workarounds and continue with the priorities of the day, regardless of the local conditions.
Additionally, data centers typically offer mirroring services that copy client data into a second data center in near real-time. In the unlikely event that the primary hosting location goes down for some reason, the backup location can pick up with minimal data loss. This provides added assurance to the University or organization that is reliant on data for daily activity.
Reduced software costs
Another major advantage of the SaaS model for eRAs is its lower total cost of software. In a SaaS model, users can be liberated from the major front-loaded costs typically associated with acquiring and implementing software. SaaS agreements that benefit the organization allow the enterprise to scale up or down easily. Additionally, many SaaS licenses are not based on the number of users, so SaaS agreements can stabilize software costs over the life of the license agreement.
Improved eRA software maintenance
Commonly, SaaS implementations adopt a continuous-development model. This means that users receive product improvements much sooner than they would with desktop or self-hosted software. Over time, the software developer addresses security and performance issues as they arise. This means that users can keep their IT staff members focused on other areas, and the task at hand, not to software maintenance. The continuous development approach also means less upgrade planning on the part of the local IT staff because they don’t have to delay upgrades to fix OS or hardware dependencies. These are all advantages that benefit the user organization, research institution, or university.
Better eRA software accessibility
Many SaaS applications, like Streamlyne Research, are accessed through the web browser of choice. All it takes is a basic Internet connection to access the full suite of tools available. Web-based SaaS applications like ours eliminate platform and OS incompatibilities. This means that users can work wherever they are, regardless of operating system or hardware limitations. An added benefit is that a Web interface often reduces the learning curve, allowing users to work efficiently on SaaS applications.
Our comprehensive, cloud-based enterprise research administration SaaS suite, Streamlyne Research, helps organizations to manage all aspects of the research administration process. This includes everything from pre-award to close-out to integrations. Streamlyne Research is highly secure and accessible from anywhere, so your research teams can remain productive wherever they are.
Advantages of an SaaS eRA for your research organization
As a leading enterprise research administration software solution, Streamlyne Research can reduce your institution’s overall IT costs. You will enjoy efficiencies across your research program and be empowered by a research storage solution that grows with you, far beyond the typical limitations. Contact us today to learn more and to speak to a knowledgeable Streamlyne team member.