What is Saas? A Definitive Guide

Software as a Service (SaaS) is a software distribution model where the applications are hosted on the cloud and made available to the end-user using the internet connection. In short, it is a cloud-based method to provide software to users. 

The users of SaaS subscribe to it with a monthly subscription rather than paying once and installing it.

As a user, you can log in and use the SaaS application on every compatible device you have with internet access. The actual application you use runs in the cloud server that might be located far from your location. 

You can access a SaaS app using a web browser or through the app. Some common examples of SaaS applications are Gmail, Office365, and many more. 

Suppose you are still confused about the difference between SaaS and traditional software installation. In that case, you can refer to SaaS as online streaming of TV shows and traditional software installation as buying CDs and DVDs of those shows. 

Software as a Service is an ideal solution for the corporates, large organizations, small businesses, or individuals who:

  • Do not hassle of maintaining infrastructure, platforms, and software.
  • Do not want to set up the minimum hardware requirements.
  • Are interested in the software subscription model.

The SaaS model helps you save the upfront cost by eliminating permanently purchasing software and hardware as in traditional software.

However, while using a SaaS-based service, you need to invest in good and fast network hardware, as your internet connection speed would determine your subscription’s service performance. 

Some Common Examples of SaaS Applications:

SaaS companies can help every type of business and have helped run almost every type of business smoothly with its implementation. Here are some of the most popular types of SaaS Applications:

  • Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP): ERP system is SaaS applications that are generally suited for big and large corporate houses and organizations. 
  • Customer Resource Management (CRM): CRM System is a SaaS application that helps to manage customer information and track sales and growth through their pipeline with their implementation. 
  • Accounting & Invoicing: These are the type of SaaS applications that are used to perform billing and invoicing services for clients. At the same time, some other SaaS application helps in tracking complete financial and reporting services.
  • Human Resource Management (HRM): HRM Applications are the SaaS applications used to track employee working hours, schedule and manage the hiring process, and manage payrolls for the organizations. 
  • Data Management: These are the SaaS applications that help you analyze, manage, and secure your organization’s data. 
  • Project Management: These are SaaS applications used to manage projects by collaborating, communicating, and keeping track of project progress.
  • Web Hosting & eCommerce: This type of SaaS application helps you to manage to remove servers with its implementation.

Benefits of SaaS Applications

The SaaS application’s most important and main selling point is that it is highly efficient to use and its central management, unlike the standard software installation on every PC.

Hence, as a SaaS customer, you will be getting these benefits if you implement them in your business. 

Mobility

SaaS application provides you the option to access its system from any device and any location. It is one of the most important features of a SaaS application as it does not limit you or your team to work from any confined or specific location. 

The latest work from home trend has been widely successful because of such SaaS applications.

It doesn’t matter what operating system you are using; whether you use Windows, Mac, or Linux, you can easily access SaaS applications with an internet connection.

Cost Savings

Most SaaS applications offer subscription-based services that help cover up the spread-out cost of the application over time.

As a SaaS customer, you will save up the initial cost as you won’t need to invest in high-cost hardware to install and host the application for your organization’s usage.

Scalability

As a SaaS customer, you will need to expand your capacity or add users over time to increase business and its requirements. With SaaS application implementations, you won’t need to purchase new hardware and software. 

You can increase the capability and features of the SaaS application you use with just a few clicks. However, it would come with an increased subscription fee. 

Low Effort Updates

Every SaaS application is maintained and updated over the air without much effort. You can choose and update your SaaS application with just a few clicks. 

SaaS applications’ developers offer security patches and updates, which can be downloaded within a few minutes and installed. 

IT Expertise

As a SaaS customer, you don’t need to invest in large infrastructure for IT systems. The SaaS companies invest a lot to make their customer lives easy and eliminate implementing any such system on the client side.

Moreover, SaaS companies have resources that can easily maintain system reliability and secure the client data better within their budgets. 

Saving & Storage

While working with data, you need a reliable backup and storage option such as a cloud storage option or disaster recovery plan in case of hardware failure or crash resulting in huge loss.

However, your data is regularly backed up and saved in the cloud servers while using a SaaS application. 

With this option, you get the biggest advantage of a better data redundancy aspect and switch devices without losing work and data. 

Data & Analytics

As the SaaS application runs through a centralized platform, it is quite easy to manage and analyze data for analytics use.

Every business that uses SaaS applications generally needs data analytics for reporting and visualizations to provide different insights into their business operations. It helps them check the business growth and calculate their Return on Investment. 

Risk of SaaS Applications

Great performance comes with greater risks. A SaaS company promises that their large infrastructure would maintain every requirement of their customers, and the end-users won’t have to invest a lot in the infrastructure. These are some of the risks that are involved while using SaaS applications.

Pricing

The key feature of a SaaS company is its system flexibility. However, their contract and pricing might not be flexible.

A SaaS application can be costly based on its usage and business requirements. Some SaaS applications might not have the option to scale back to a less expensive plan, or even canceling the contract may not be available once you sign up.

Downtime

One more important thing to consider while using SaaS applications is their downtime. Your entire work process can be paused and inaccessible if the application is down from the server end.

Data Security

Data Security is another risk factor that you might consider while using the SaaS application.

Various companies do not comply with the data security standards that are transparent about their customer data security and integrity. 

Solvency

SaaS applications’ critical aspect is that their customer business depends upon the SaaS company staying in business.

If the SaaS company goes out of business, the customer data and access could be cut off. The only option the customer might have is to migrate their data to a new SaaS company offering similar services.

How to Select a SaaS Company for Your Business?

A SaaS company invests a lot in resources and teams to make its application easy to use for its customers.

It might be easy for customers to use as they can directly use the application once they make the payment. Maybe it is easier than they think.

However, there are various criteria you need to checkout before subscribing to a SaaS application. Here are some key points you need to consider before selecting and paying for SaaS services. 

  • Check the customer support option of the company you are planning to be a customer of. 
  • Know what will happen to your data when you plan to switch to another vendor.
  • Check how the support process works during the trial period.
  • Do they allow you to test in parallel?
  • Do they assist during migration and provide training?
  • Do they provide a backup option?
  • How much integration do they offer with third-party services?
  • Would it be easy to integrate them with current and future technology?

Conclusion

Summing up the discussion, SaaS offers many advantages that help both users and developers. Moreover, if you are concerned about your data and privacy, most SaaS companies provide the option to set up their services on your cloud.

Enterprises are predicted to move to the cloud in the future completely, and while this isn’t necessarily notable in terms of SaaS use. It marks a time of new emerging migration tools and supported applications that will help streamline the move.

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