Cloud computing is still one of the hottest tech innovations in modern enterprises, even decades after its inception. In recent years, many organisations, especially small businesses and start-ups, have moved their operations to the cloud. Cloud computing is generally categorised into four main areas, Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), and Functions as a Service (FaaS).
SaaS is a relatively new software product distribution model. The vendor hosts software applications on servers where clients can access and use them via the internet on a subscription basis. The idea of SaaS seems to have caught on with many businesses, and software vendors, and here is why.
Low IT cost
Gartner puts the global IT expenditure in 2019 at an estimated $3.76 trillion. A significant portion of this amount will be spent on enterprise software. In an increasingly data-driven world, the demand for robust enterprise software is on the rise. Nowadays, businesses need data analytics tools, powerful ERPs, and multi-functional data management systems. Unfortunately, these digital tools don’t come cheap; their costs range between thousands to hundreds of thousands of pounds.
SaaS, however, provides a much cheaper way to access and use the latest enterprise software products. Since you don’t have to buy a license for the software, the price is considerably low. In addition, businesses only pay for the features they need, giving SaaS more value for money than traditional software models.
Flexibility and convenience
As a business grows and the market dynamics change, digital demands also change. SaaS applications allow businesses to modify their software services to adapt to changes and new requirements. For instance, the service provider can allow the business to disable and enable certain features and functions of the software at will to make the product more useful or relevant. Also, SaaS hosts usually provide frequent updates at no extra cost.
Since SaaS applications are hosted online and accessed through the internet, businesses can enjoy a more flexible work environment. Remote workers, freelancers, and contractors can collaborate on business tasks through working on hosted applications without necessarily having to report to work.
Lower cost of deployment
With local software solutions, the installation of a new software suite would often entail tedious work over many hours. Depending on the number of workstations in an office, installing software on each one could be a real headache. The SaaS model solves this elegantly, by allowing new users to be on-boarded almost instantly – often as quickly as opening their browser.
No need for on-site server space
Depending on the scale of the business in question, local software solutions often require significant server and storage space. This often means dedicated rooms which in turn require heating (or, more likely, cooling), electricity, and manpower to maintain. With SaaS, all of this is handled off-site, removing the need to dedicate additional physical space to software requirements.
Anywhere, anytime global access
SaaS is all about decoupling software from physical locations and moving it to the cloud. Because of this, most SaaS solutions allow for access from practically any device. This means that users can hop into their CRM software while waiting for a bus, or check the progress of specific tasks while walking in the park. It’s all about frictionless access to cloud-based solutions without the need for a dedicated physical workstation.
Seamless off-site software upgrades
Another big headache when managing local software suites is upgrades and maintenance. Whether this is updating to the latest version or troubleshooting a pervasive problem, it all means the same thing: downtime. While it can be done overnight, this still isn’t ideal for the employees who need to do the work. With SaaS, all upgrades and maintenance can be accomplished offsite at a time which doesn’t affect business operations – and completely seamlessly with almost zero downtime.
The incredible cost savings are what attracts most SMEs and start-ups to SaaS solutions. In most cases, small businesses lack the financial backing to invest in fully licensed or bespoke enterprise applications. SaaS levels the playing field for both large and small organisations in terms of accessing and using cutting-edge digital solutions.