What is SaaS?
SaaS (pronounced “sass”), or Software as a Service, is an increasingly important delivery model to centralize software locations and provide decentralized service. In plain English, this means that you can pay a small amount per month, the way you would for any sort of service, to access particular, specialized software for a certain amount of time. Payment may also be on-demand, in the sense that you pay each time you use the particular program or software. This is extremely useful for businesses seeking licenses for multiple machines, or for individuals seeking an expensive program for a limited time, as SaaS solutions often cost much less than purchasing a license directly.
Very likely, you are already using SaaS. Web-based and Web 2.0 applications like Facebook and Gmail are primary examples of free SaaS solutions used by countless millions. The fact is that computing around the world is switching toward a more SaaS-based model, as the Internet is becoming far more powerful and integrated into business and daily life. Software as a Service represents about 24% of the market for customer relationship management, and it is the fastest-growing segment of the worldwide software market.
What are the Benefits of Software-as-a-Service?
Aside from the cost benefits, which are significant, programs based on a SaaS model improve project collaboration efforts, make administration and updates easier, ensure complete compatibility, and make the program accessible to people around the world. With one central location for their software, developers have much more power and are able to have a far more active role in their program’s development. This in turn benefits consumers, as SaaS programs are likely to be updated and fixed in a more timely fashion. The architecture for updating the program is part and parcel of the SaaS model.
In Which Situations can SaaS be Used?
If you have a business for which purchasing multiple licenses of a particular program would be too expensive, such as advanced spreadsheet use or database tracking, it’s very likely someone has produced a SaaS program to do the same thing. Including a small amount of money per month into your budget is far easier to manage than a huge tens-of-thousands-of-dollars purchase, especially for small business owners. Consequently SaaS is a great option as software for small business. Likewise, if you’re an individual who just needs, say, a graphic arts program for a single project, and you’ll never use it again, SaaS can save you a huge amount of money compared to a purchasing an equivalent program.
Groupware is a popular form of software for business collaboration, whose attractiveness is increased further with the existence of SaaS versions of groupware. An example of collaboration software is that of desktop sharing or screen sharing. By enabling others to view your screen actions in real-time over the web, or alternatively you view the screen of another (known as a remote desktop), you are presented with a solution to host an online meeting, Internet conferencing, or remote support. Such groupware examples follow the SaaS model, where the user can pay for a license of the software solution for a set period of time. Free business software solutions, such as free web conferencing, make the benefits and savings of SaaS even greater.