Get Out Of The Cloud: The Argument For Hybrid ESPs

Say goodbye to the cloud: Email marketers have a new way to work with their data.

It’s called the Hybrid Email Service Provider (ESP). And if you believe it, it allows you make data-driven decisions “where the company’s data already lives,” without having to upload it to the cloud. That’s the premise of a study by MessageGears and The Relevancy Group.

Granted, this paper hardly seems objective. It states that Hybrid ESPs are more effective than Software as a Service (SaaS)/Cloud solutions, and it just so happens that MessageGears offers a hybrid ESP.

So why bother reading it? Because it might help you discern the limitations of the SaaS model. And they do exist. Of the SaaS users surveyed, for example, 43% state that getting new data sources into an SaaS application is difficult. And 37% gripe about the time it takes to move data in and out.

What’s more, 35% complain about limitations in the amount of data that can be used, and the same percentage complain about the need to reformat data.

SaaS users also feel stymied by reporting and analysis (30%), the need for vendor services to effectively use the application (26%), the time it takes to get reporting and analysis complete (22%), lack of access to real-time data and poor customer service (21%).

Not that any of this has prompted companies to forsake their old SaaS solutions. Overall, 59% still use those services. Mid-market firms are slightly more likely to do so, while enterprise companies are less likely.

In addition, 42% use commercial, on-premises software. And 32% go for custom in-house solutions (clearly, this was a multiple-choice question). Finally, 23% use multiple Saas providers, and a mere 18% use hybrid ESPs.

Why so low? Because hybrid ESPs are a “relatively new concept” (actually not so new in digital terms — it appeared roughly six years ago).

The survey found that “industries sensitive to data replication, privacy, and security are more likely to utilize Hybrid ESP solutions,” the report states. “Twenty-three percent of Financial Services organizations have implanted Hybrid ESP solutions.”

The argument continues. Respondents also identified these additional hurdles to using SaaS/Cloud ESPs:

  • Security concerns of sending data to our vendor — 63%
  • Privacy policy prohibits form sharing with our vendor — 44%
  • Have to involve IT and vendor services — 43%
  • Do not have the people resources — 28%
  • Difficulty accessing our internal systems and data repositories — 25%
  • Difficulty integrating data for our ESP — 23%
  • Takes too long to move data to our ESP to actually use it — 12%

Convinced? The paper by David Daniels with Nicholas Einstein argues that “most marketers are frustrated by data limitations and the complex user interfaces that inhibit usability of these cloud services. In addition, many marketers require more technical resources to get email marketing campaigns out the door.”

That may all be true. And it may be a good reason for exploring hybrid ESPs. But there’s one thing we don’t understand: Is the cloud really going away -- now that we’ve just gotten used to it?


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