What is SaaS?
Software as a service (SaaS) is a software distribution model in which a third-party provider hosts applications and makes them available to customers over the Internet. Also referred to as ‘on-demand software’, SaaS is essentially software that is hosted online in a cloud environment and delivered to customers in a subscription model.
SaaS is one of three main categories of cloud computing, alongside Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS).
While delivering software over a network is not a new concept, SaaS applications have grown rapidly in recent years. According to Transparency Market Research, the global market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 27.9% between 2015 and 2022. The market was valued at US$23.88b in 2014 and is expected to reach US$164.29b by the end of 2022.
Some of the SaaS success story is driven by savvy vendors who have matured their offerings into an economical, secure and manageable software delivery model. Their cost, scalability and availability value proposition is obvious, the ease of use is compelling and benefits to business are extensive, lending further credence to the notion that the growth in SaaS adoption is by no means a passing trend.
Here are 8 reasons why SaaS should be on your agenda
- Low barriers to entry
Conventionally, software has been sold as a fixed license with a higher up-front price. You purchase the software license outright and receive the rights to a particular version that can be installed (and managed) locally. Future upgrades to latest versions would typically incur additional fees. You also need infrastructure to install it on – meaning more upfront investments.
SaaS applications are subscription based – you pay for what you use, as you need it. Typically there is no or low upfront fees and any software upgrades are automatically accounted for in the subscription fees. Further impetus comes from the SaaS vendor providing, managing and maintaining the IT infrastructure needed to run the application in the cloud. By selecting an experienced SaaS partner with a proven track record in application delivery, rather than trying to build infrastructure and software platforms in-house, organisations can avoid lengthy, expensive deployment cycles and free valuable capital to invest in growing the business, not the infrastructure.
- Speed to market
Traditional software required extensive planning and lengthy project management to deploy. Change management programs were created, transition phases planned, transformation programs developed, risk mitigation plans devised and user acceptance tests implemented. Deployments could take weeks, months or even years.
SaaS enables businesses to pass ownership of applications to individual business units instead of being reliant on your in-house IT department. By empowering your business units to take ownership, they can deploy within minutes. This cuts the time to benefit and allows for rapid deployment with little risk. The usual pain points associated with large software deployments, such as budget approval, project management and scaling infrastructure, are mitigated.
- Scalability (up and down)
As businesses grow and adapt, their technology needs constantly evolve. Increasing capacity historically required extensive investment in additional infrastructure, hiring extra resources and lengthy project management programs.
As SaaS solutions reside in cloud environments, the onus of scalability belongs to the provider. Any risks or costs of fluctuating capacity is theirs, and in most cases, as simple as changing your subscription package. Under the SaaS model, they are responsible for capacity planning, ensuring uptime and providing security as new users are provisioned or existing users de-provisioned.
Organisations using SaaS are more agile. They can quickly source and deploy applications as needed (without in-house infrastructure and resource planning), making it faster to prototype and run a proof of concepts. They can experiment with new strategies and explore opportunities dynamically.
The SaaS model helps businesses effortlessly change or upgrade software applications giving users instant access to new features and latest capabilities. Depending on the SaaS application and your service level, you often have an array of specialists and experts at your disposal to provide support and training as required.
SaaS vendors are only successful if their applications remain available. If you can not access their software, you are going to source alternatives to maintain productivity levels. As a result, vendors invest heavily in architecture and redundancy to deliver very high levels of availability.
Leveraging the cloud to deliver their application provides inherent availability benefits, including the ability to have dynamic geographically-diverse redundancy and the ability to quickly ramp up or wind down servers on the fly. In most cases, your SaaS providers will achieve much higher levels of availability than you can deliver internally.
SaaS software is hosted in the cloud and accessible over the internet, enabling users to access it wherever they are connected. Users are able to access their live data and applications from anywhere in the world, empowering your teams to work more efficiently regardless of their location. This makes life easier for home-workers or for those that work across multiple sites.
Not only can it be accessed from anywhere in the world, SaaS applications can typically be accessed on any device – from laptops and tablets, to smart phones. SaaS can deliver true anywhere, anytime, any device, without you having to invest in the resources to deliver it.
- Backups and Data Recovery
Traditional software required a costly backup and data recovery solution that was often manually implemented and then required someone to take the disks home, or arrange the offsite pick up service to take the tapes offsite. It was laborious at the best of times, and expensive.
SaaS solutions eradicate this painstaking task, instigating automatic backups without user intervention ensuring the integrity of your data.
SaaS vendors will typically offer multiple APIs to allow you to easily access and manipulate your data from their application to your internal ERP and software. This removes the need to build your own APIs or run complex import routines to get your legacy applications to talk to one another.
Vendors often go one step further by creating APIs that talk to other SaaS solutions that can be securely enabled with a couple of clicks, making it easier to pool data from multiple applications or streamline activities.
SaaS will continue to grow and organisations will become more receptive as the offerings mature and the benefits understood. Key of course is connectivity, identity management, security, and support – and that is where blueAPACHE come in.
If you want to know more about SaaS, connectivity, or managing your legacy applications, contact the blueAPACHE account team.