Print Catalog Software-as-a-Service (SaaS): The Radical Complement to eCommerce
You might think this article could have a shorter or less provocative title. Such as "Print Catalogs — The Perfect Complement to eCommerce." Or, "Print Catalogs Boost eCommerce Traffic".
Nothing bad about those titles, but they would miss the point. Which is that using a software service, not just software, really is radical. There is a world of difference between the new (SaaS) and the old (software). If you are making your PDFs to complement your ecommerce site (and why else would you?), then you need the new way — SaaS.
The reasons are easy to understand.
Throughput and scalability — Let's say you want links to a lot of PDF publications on your ecommerce site. For example, you want a downloadable PDF information sheet per product. And your site has 1,000 (or 20,000!) products. Plus you need a PDF mini-catalog posted at the front of 20 different categories. You're running your print catalog software in-house? Forget it. Your one or two dedicated machines will take forever. This is where the cloud providers (Amazon, etc.) come in. They have a ton of servers, ready any time. They can ramp up as many as you want. By running print catalog SaaS, you get all the servers you need, whenever you want. This means these print catalog jobs can be run in parallel, on-demand. Making a few thousand PDFs in a matter of hours is no big deal.
Reliability — This one is a no-brainer. If your in-house machine that runs your print catalog software goes lights out, you're in a jam. A day? A week? A month before it is replaced? But if you're using a software service for print catalogs, you have zero down time. When a cloud server dies, there's a thousand more to take its place.
Cost — You can't beat the low costs of cloud computing. Server time is cheap. There's still all the other costs, such as staff, support, and development. These costs apply equally to software companies as well as SaaS companies. But when it gets into volume production costs for making lots of PDFs, the software-as-a-service strategy wins every time.
If all you're doing is making one print catalog a quarter, these reasons are unimportant. But if you want downloadable PDFs to complement, grow, and support your e-commerce business — then consider the advantages of print catalog software as a service.