Software as a Service (SaaS)

SAAS, which is also known as Software as a Service is quite a popular concept that we can find out there. All people are concerned about moving to the cloud. This has created an ideal environment for the increasing popularity of SAAS as well. SAAS can deliver some key benefits to the businesses that exist out there in the world as well. Let’s deep dive and explore what those benefits are.

Software as a service is a way of delivering applications over the internet as a service. This model allows you to use software through the internet without having to install it on your device and maintain it.

As we advance in technology, more sophisticated software is invented. It is becoming more challenging to maintain and manage software as some require very complicated hardware to run. Therefore, it is cheaper and more convenient to use software online without having to get it installed on your device.

While some people refer to SaaS as web-based software, others call it hosted/on-demand software. SaaS providers manage visitors’ access to the software. They also take care of their security, availability, and effectiveness.

What is SAAS?

SAAS refers to the specific software delivery method, which is providing access for people to get data from a device that is connected to the internet. These software applications are running based upon a web-based model. The software vendors are hosting the servers and maintaining them along with code and databases. In other words, the entire application is hosted in the cloud. You will be able to access it and get your work done.

The popularity of SAAS and cloud-based model is increasing along with time. Due to the same reason, around 60% of software developers tend to work on cloud-based models. One of the most prominent benefits associated with this model is that it will not need any extensive hardware. This is allowing the buyers to go ahead and outsource their work to IT professionals. On the other hand, it is possible to maintain in-house software as well.

The SAAS-based systems are usually available for businesses to use in the form of a subscription model. You will be able to pay and obtain a subscription to the software. Then you will be able to continue to use the software along with time.

Qualities of SaaS

  • Easy access

All networked devices can easily access SaaS. Even with web-based software, you can manage account holders and the privileges they enjoy while logged on.

  • Better secured

Hosting services providers offer security for their clients. While these clients access this software in large numbers, each of their detail is well protected.

That means, no one else will easily access your profile or details even if you share the same hosting platform. Unless they have your login credentials, your details and privileges are reserved for you only.

  • Personalization

Different people and businesses have varying needs. For instance, a company with thousands of employees may need more operational structures than that with a few people.

SaaS allows you to customize your applications to meet your needs. However technical your processes may be, SaaS gives you tools to custom make solutions that fit you.

The tools give you the power to adjust your business structures but that does not affect other businesses or the provider’s architecture. Even when the provider upgrades their systems, the clients’ structures go unaffected.

  • Multitenant

Several users share a host. That does not affect their privacy or each other’s operations. Individual organizations run their processes uninterrupted.

At the same time, the host is required to roll out new programs and improve their architecture to accommodate the growing demand. The design is special in that the hosted organizations and individuals do not get affected during the upgrades.

The multitenant architecture is so organized that everyone can have their processes managed at the same time simultaneously. This happens without the individual clients noticing their neighbors’ activities.

History of SaaS

Software as a service dates back to the 1960s. Powerhouse technology service providers that existed then like IBM offered storage services. Some of their clients included leading banks and other organizations. These data centers were available for the world to benefit from. For decades, these providers offered utility computing services at a fee.

The 1990s was an internet expansion era and that saw a change in the way the utility computing business was run. Application service providers (ASP) were born and their core function was to offer hosting services among others. Management of specialized business apps was part of the package as well. This helped organizations reduce administration costs to a large extent.

The 2010s saw another adjustment in how the business is conducted. In the ASP model, hosting services providers managed their clients’ software. SaaS saw this change a bit. Instead of managing clients’ software, providers make their own and host these clients.

With this new model, the client doesn’t have to own applications. They are ready-made by SaaS providers. All they do is sign up and manage their apps while hosted. That reduces costs further and helps companies focus on their core business.

ASPs also required clients to install apps on their devices. Then, it was easier and manageable because some of the applications were not as sophisticated as today. Therefore, they didn’t require complicated hardware.

ASP also posed challenges when it came to maintenance. Each client’s servers were serviced separately. That meant more costs, time, and effort. It was so inconvenient compared to the SaaS model where maintenance is done at a go and none of the clients is inconvenienced. Multitenant architecture has played an important role in this revolution. This has also helped cut costs significantly.

SAAS is not a new concept to the world. The root of this model goes back to the year 1961. John McCarthy, who is one of the students at MIT said that computer scientists will be able to start using the public utility. That has become a reality as of now. 

The very first SAAS solution was implemented back in the late 1990s. it was where companies such as Salesforce started to enable a subscription-based model of their service to the people who were looking forward to getting hold of it. In the recent past, cloud technologies gained a lot of attention. Along with that, it was possible to see how SAAS is offering some outstanding solutions to the people as well. For example, most of the leading customer relationship management solutions are now available in the form of SAAS solutions. The convenience and effectiveness of these solutions are contributing a lot towards their popularity along with time.

Distribution

A lot has changed since SaaS took over the ASP model. Initially, we needed vendors to sell the apps to organizations. The installation process also costs money and time. With SaaS, there’s no need for middlemen. The applications are available online.

Besides, you used to purchase the applications and pay a maintenance fee. This purchase was quite expensive and the support fees complicated things further.

With SaaS, no purchase fee is required. The subscription model was adopted. Therefore, members-only pay monthly or annual subscription fees. Besides, some SaaS providers have free plans available although they have limited features.

For paid plans, you only subscribe for what you need. That means you can discontinue service without suffering losses for services paid for but not utilized. This has seen organizations save so much money.

The multitenant architecture has also played an important role in reducing costs further. Initially, you had to pay a maintenance fee for the provider to service your application. Today, with SaaS, maintenance and upgrades happen at the expense of the provider.

Such convenience has seen companies grow faster than before. This is because their data management is well taken care of and at cheaper prices.

Security was also an issue before. You could lose data, or data could be breached more easily than today. That has been improved and now your data is securely stored in the cloud.

SaaS Models

SaaS has two models, i.e. vertical and horizontal SaaS models. The horizontal model accommodates more clients than vertical.

In horizontal SaaS models, you have a provider offering common services to clients irrespective of their niche. That means anyone can sign up with them and benefit.

With the vertical model, you get more specialized services. This model is focused on the niche you’re in. which means you get specialized features to help you thrive in your niche.

Large organizations are more likely to go for the vertical SaaS model. On the other hand, small organizations may prefer the horizontal option because of its affordability and features that will help them grow wide.

SaaS Adoption

With every technology comes adoption challenges. SaaS is not spared. The technology has faced a few adoption challenges.

One of the issues that make people and organizations hesitate adoption of SaaS is data security. Because of its multitenant architecture, clients fear the security of their data. For that reason, they reluctantly sign up for this technology.

Another issue is latency. Most SaaS providers have their storage in a specific place. This may be far away from the client’s location. The distance may inhibit the fast retrieval of data. This too may pose adoption challenges especially for clients that deal directly with customers.

Latency may slow down customer service. That means loss of clients and reduced customer satisfaction levels. As a result, the loyalty levels will drop significantly. This means a loss of revenue for the client.

Time and again, there may arise the need to switch providers. This means the transfer of large data files. The transfer process will take time and money. Besides, the chances of losing data during the transfer are high. For that reason, organizations opt to retain their traditional methods of storing data.

There’s also a legal issue with SaaS. Some jurisdictions have implementations limiting some functions of SaaS. As a result, some features are restricted or inhibited. This affects service delivery and clients may not be ready to lose clients in that regard.

Customize SAAS software

Even though SAAS software solutions are hosted in the cloud, you will have complete freedom to go ahead and customize them according to the needs you have. The SAAS solutions are providing a high level of customizability for you. You will be provided the chance to customize the user interface so that you can change the overall look and feel of the software. On the other hand, it is also possible to modify specific areas of the solution, so that you will be able to alter what data is appearing and when it is taking place. You can also turn on and turn off some of the basic features that are available in SAAS as well.

It will be possible for you to tweak the personal workspace on your own while you are using SAAS. On the other hand, it will be possible for you to use a task list or a dashboard that is available with SAAS solutions to get only the information that you want to see. No matter what, it will be possible for you to customize SAAS solutions according to the unique work style that you have.

Safety of SAAS solutions 

When it comes to a SAAS solution, data will be stored in the cloud. This is where most people worry whether the data stored in the cloud is safe or not. You don’t have to worry too much about the safety of the data stored in the cloud. That’s because SAAS solutions providers are using highly secure servers to manage the instances of software along with data. On the other hand, it is also possible for us to see how they are using the latest available encryption methods to ensure the overall safety of data as well. 

Using SAAS is a safer method available for you to consider than hosting applications and data on-premises. That’s because the level of security offered along with the SAAS solutions is significantly high. Leakage of data cannot happen at all.

We can see how numerous debates are taking place around cloud security. Cloud technology is safe enough to ensure the safety and security of data. Hence, there is no need to worry too much about the returns that SAAS solutions are offering. They are delivering the maximum level of safety to the people who use them at the end of the day.

Find the best SAAS vendors based on the reputation

When you are trying to start using a SAAS, you will have to do some background research and learn more about the reputation. There are some SAAS vendors, who will suddenly disappear. It can happen due to business failures. In such instances, you will have to face struggles. For example, you might suddenly lose access to all the data that you have. You will need to keep this risk in your mind and locate the best SAAS vendor out there.

At the time of selecting a SAAS vendor, you should check and see how long the vendor has been there in business. On the other hand, you will need to take a look at the client base and determine whether it is a strong one or not as well.

Conclusion

SaaS has been around for a while now and offers important solutions to most technical challenges. Adoption may be a challenge but there has been steady progress by organizations to sign up for this. With time, most of the issues raised inhibiting adoption have been taken care of and clients’ confidence in the technology seems to grow by the day.