Why You Should Migrate Your WMS to the Cloud

Published on 20 June 2023

Why You Should Migrate Your WMS to the Cloud
Generix Team
Generix Team

No point burying the lead here: unless your company’s operations fall into a very specific and narrow category, you should migrate your Warehouse Management System (WMS) to the cloud as SaaS. 
If the lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of a SaaS WMS isn’t enough to sway you, there are still many more reasons why it proves a better deployment option than on-premise. Read on to discover the main advantages and benefits of migrating to a SaaS WMS. As a bonus, we’ve also included some key considerations to roadmap and successfully execute your WMS migration strategy. 

SaaS in a Nutshell 

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard of the “cloud” by now. Maybe you’re already saving some of your personal files on OneDrive, Google Drive, or Dropbox? If so, then you’ve been saving your data on the cloud, which is to say, on a service provider’s servers, and you’ve been accessing your files via an internet connection. 

“Software as a Service”, or SaaS, follows the same logic with one exception: it’s not just files and folders that are hosted on the service provider’s infrastructure, but the actual system itself. To use the software, companies subscribe to the solution provider’s services and access the WMS’s capabilities over an internet connection, which is done via a “normal” operating system like Windows, MacOS, Android, etc.  

With its subscription model, a SaaS WMS like the SOLOCHAIN WMS/MES spares companies the high initial expenditure required to buy the system’s licence. It also saves companies from having to procure and implement the infrastructure needed to run the solution.     
If you want to explore the topic of cloud technology further, you can read more here

Benefits of Migrating to a SaaS WMS

The use of cloud-based technology and SaaS solutions has been steadily becoming more widespread over the past ten years. A study done in 2016 by Axit/Siemens indicated that over 50% of logistics experts in Germany already leveraged cloud services to manage their processes. Numbers have only grown since. And for good reasons. Let’s take a look. 

Lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)

Let’s cut to the chase: a SaaS WMS can be up to 30% cheaper to implement and leverage than a new on-premise solution—even if that solution is just the newest version of your legacy system. Here are three reasons why. 

First, as we’ve seen, a SaaS WMS spares companies from having to purchase and deploy the infrastructure needed to run the solution (servers, cables, adapted screens, etc.). Everyday computers and mobile devices that are normally already in use in the warehouse are all that’s needed to leverage the system’s capabilities. 

If your company leverages a legacy on-premise WMS, you may be tempted to think that this doesn’t apply to you since you already have the required infrastructure. However, it’s more than likely that the new version of your legacy WMS will require important investments in your existing infrastructure. Given the speed at which technology evolves, if your legacy infrastructure is more than 8 to 10 years old, it’s safe to assume that you’ll be starting from scratch. Therefore, take the time to thoroughly (and honestly) assess the costs of maintaining and updating your infrastructure when you compare the TCO of an on-premise WMS with that of a SaaS version.  

Second, because a SaaS WMS is hosted, maintained, and updated by the service provider, companies don’t have to invest in a large IT team to support the solution. This leads to significant savings on maintenance fees and contributes to lowering the solution’s TCO. 
Third, while subscription fees may eventually amount to the costs of the solution’s licence, the SaaS version of a WMS will still give you more “bang for your buck”.  

Here’s why.

Remember when you had to purchase the new Office Suite from Microsoft again and again to keep benefiting from the software’s latest version? Well, the same holds for an on-premise WMS: the system eventually becomes obsolete, leaving operators with an underperforming system and/or forcing them to buy a new licence in order to benefit from the latest version’s capabilities. 

Not so with a SaaS WMS, which is perpetually being updated by the service provider, ensuring that users always benefit from the system’s latest and most advanced functionalities. 

Faster Time to Market

A lower TCO is not all that a SaaS WMS delivers. Since cloud-based applications are already running on the service provider’s systems, a SaaS WMS usually takes less time to implement than on-premise solutions. 
This remains true even when a company already leverages an on-premise WMS: because the system doesn’t require new infrastructure to be implemented, the migration to a SaaS WMS like the SOLOCHAIN WMS/MES will typically be faster than deploying the latest version of the legacy system. 

With faster times to market come reduced operational disruptions and quicker ROI, two collateral benefits that speak loudly in favor of a migration to a SaaS WMS.

Increased Scalability, Flexibility, and Adaptability

No matter what deployment method you choose, a WMS is no small investment. Your CFO will therefore want to maximise ROIs and avoid further costs, planned and unplanned, that would inflate the solution’s TCO. Meanwhile, your COO will want a solution that is as powerful as it is flexible, so that operations are adequately supported year-long.

As we have seen above, the subscription fees to a SaaS WMS cover all system updates, which are performed by the service provider. By migrating to SaaS, you effectively get a version-less WMS that always gives you access to the solution’s latest improvements at no extra cost. Meanwhile, the service provider also bears the financial responsibility of keeping its infrastructure up to date in order to maintain service levels. 

Scaling to meet demand, whether seasonal or because of growth, is consequently far easier—and cheaper؅—than with on-premise WMS solutions. New functionalities and capabilities are enabled by the service provider on request, and do not require new infrastructure investments. 

In short, a SaaS WMS delivers the flexibility and adaptability that companies need to remain competitive and adjust to meet demand while its subscription model saves your CFO from the bad headaches caused by unexpected costs.

Building a Global Network More Efficiently 

As we’ve noted above, a SaaS WMS brings down infrastructure costs relative to an on-premise solution. For companies with a network that stretches over many territories and countries, that advantage is all the more significant. 

Not everyone can afford the infrastructure to support a privately hosted software architecture in their facility, let alone in many facilities across the globe. Consider, also, that with every new facility comes the need to purchase and implement the required infrastructure, which drives up the costs of expansion and slows down time to market. 

And then, on top of it, you still have to face communication challenges. Data that is hosted in one part of the world should be just as quickly and easily accessible to users in remote locations for the entire network to be efficient.   

A WMS provider like Generix Group solves all these problems through their SaaS infrastructure. Generix Group has a cloud infrastructure that stretches around the globe, with data centers strategically placed to ensure that companies reliably have access to their data from any node in their network. This makes is far easier— and cheaper—for companies to efficiently integrate their network. 

Improved Resilience 

The fear that SaaS WMS are not as resilient as on-premise systems is an all-too-common myth. The fact of the matter is that a SaaS WMS is just as resilient than an on-premise version—if not more. 

SaaS WMS providers, such as Generix Group, typically favor a Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) when they build their system. One particularity of an SOA is that the system’s functionalities are delivered as many discrete services. This means that, should one functionality falter, the other “services” can keep on running unperturbed. Advantages to this kind of architecture are a more resilient system, fewer disruptions, and a quicker resolution when problems occur, as the SOA makes it easy to identify the service that needs to be repaired.

You can read more about the advantages of the Service Oriented Architecture of the SOLOCHAIN WMS/MES here.

Something else to keep in mind: with a SaaS WMS, companies are well protected by comprehensive SLAs. Generix Group, for instance, guarantees that the system will be up and running more than 99 percent of the time. 

Finally, in the eventuality that a problem does occur, there’s usually no need to call and dispatch teams in the warehouse—which of course incurs costly delays. With the system housed on the provider’s servers, the necessary corrections can be made rapidly and efficiently by the WMS supplier, bringing disruption times to a minimum.


In the early days of cloud-technology, we’d sometimes hear of private accounts being hacked and sensitive content being shared over the internet without consent. Such events have contributed to the perception that cloud applications are note secure enough. The truth, however, is that cloud-technology was rarely to blame. 

  • Reports show that at least 95% of all security breaches are the fault of the users, not of the application itself.

Interestingly enough, the security of cloud-technology appears to be on par with, if not better than that of on-premise solutions. Gartner reports that, through 2020, public cloud infrastructure workloads have suffered nearly 60% fewer security incidents than traditional data centers. And, with proper cloud visibility, control tools, and permission management, companies that are leveraging a SaaS WMS can bring down security risks even further.  

That’s just some of the benefits unlocked by migrating to a SaaS WMS. If you want to know more about the advantages of a SaaS WMS over an on-premise implementation, click here

Roadmap to a Successful Migration

So just how easy is it to migrate to a SaaS WMS? The answer to that question will vary depending on the complexity and maturity of your current software architecture, as well as on the desired end-state. 

Due diligence is your first step towards developing a solid migration strategy. You must define and gather all your requirements and pre-requisites to ensure that your SaaS WMS integrates fully with your software architecture and adequately supports your business for years to come. Leveraging an RFP template for a WMS can be a useful tool—if you don’t have one, you can use the one developed by experts at Generix Group North America. Chief on your list, you will want to:

  • Thoroughly document your tech stack’s current state
  • Evaluate the performance of your current infrastructure and software architecture
  • Research and list all required WMS functionalities
  • List all integration requirements, both internal (ERP, TMS, MES, etc.) and external (e.g., with supplier or customer facing applications)
  • Define your KPIs and performance benchmarks
  • Identify potential risks, dependencies, and migration constraints

You can find more information on this topic here.

Once you have a good understanding of your current state, it’s time to think about the desired end-state: will you migrate all your applications and systems to the cloud? Or will you favor a hybrid solution, keeping some systems (like your ERP, for example) on-premise while others (your WMS, for one) are hosted on the cloud? 

It’s good to know that migrating your entire software architecture to the cloud will maximize the benefits of SaaS technology. Having all your systems on the cloud makes for a more scalable, adaptable, and cheaper software architecture. 

On the other hand, migrating everything all at once can cause significant operational disruptions. That’s why some companies prefer to migrate their systems in increments. After all, a SaaS WMS like the SOLOCHAIN WMS/MES can easily be integrated with on-premise systems and applications. 

Evaluate the risks and rewards of the different possible scenarios. Once you’ve determined what the desired end-state is, you’ll be in a position to ensure that every change and improvement to your software architecture is completed with an eye for the next steps. 
Finally, don’t hesitate to get outside help from experts used to planning and executing migrations to SaaS technology. Experts at Generix Group North America, for instance, have the experience and industry knowledge to assist you in developing your roadmap.  

An Eye to the Future: SaaS WMS, Systems Integration, and the IIoT

The number of supply chain operators is constantly increasing who are turning to the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) to maintain end-to-end visibility on goods, further integrate their operations, and obtain the information they need to make data-driven decisions. 

  • Migrating to a SaaS WMS is in line with the evolution of technology solutions in the field.

Paired with other cloud-based applications and systems, a SaaS WMS like the SOLOCHAIN WMS/MES offers all the agility and adaptability you need to meet your business objectives efficiently and scale to growth with ease. 

And one last thing: the subscription model of SaaS technology naturally encourages strong and personalized ongoing relations with the service provider. 

There is a strong incentive for providers to ensure that the solution performs at the highest possible levels, for fear that clients move to a competing solution. Consequently, SaaS WMS vendor often become something of a business partner, helping you meet your objectives by maintaining and supporting the solution as your requirements evolve. As you set out to evaluate your SaaS WMS options, keep that in mind and seek out firms you can envision becoming business partners in the future. 

After all, in market so competitive, companies need all the partners they can get to maintain their edge. 

About Generix Group North America

At Generix Group North America, we provide a series of solutions within our Supply Chain Hub product suite to create efficiencies across your entire supply chain. Our solutions are in use around the world and our experience is second-to-none.

We invite you to contact us to learn more

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