Let’s cut through the jargon and get back to the basics. Here’s 5 things you can sum Software as a Service (SaaS) up by:
It’s delivered over the internet
Software as a Service is a term used to describe applications that are delivered over the Internet, generally on a subscription basis, meaning there’s no need to install the software yourself. Instead, SaaS applications run on a service provider’s hardware, and the provider takes care of performance, capacity, availability, security and software updates. SaaS is one of three main cloud computing service categories, alongside Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS).
You might know SaaS by another name
Alternative names for SaaS include cloud-hosted, web-based, on-demand, and browser-based software. Online email systems like Hotmail and Gmail are one of the earliest and most widely recognised examples. Using these platforms, your emails are stored in the cloud and can be accessed via a web browser from any device or location – you never actually need to download the software.
It’s easy to get up and running
SaaS is a flexible, scalable and cost-effective model that can be deployed almost instantaneously to perform a wide range of tasks. Businesses may strategically use SaaS to outsource specific functions, thereby eliminating the expense and effort involved in maintaining dedicated software, and allowing the organisation to focus on its core business.
You don’t have to pay chunky installation or hardware costs
The beauty of SaaS is that it enables subscribers to pay for only what they use, without the need for expensive infrastructure upgrades. Vendors generally price their service based on usage, such as capacity or number of users. However, since customer data resides with the vendor, it’s also common to charge per event or transaction. And some SaaS applications are free, with revenue generated through advertising or other sources.
It’s got it’s challenges
Despite the many benefits, SaaS does present several challenges that can restrict its use. Firstly, since data is stored outside the customer’s premises, privacy and security can be an issue. Secondly, because host servers may be geographically distant from end users, this can result in unacceptable delays, meaning SaaS may not be appropriate for applications that demand real-time access. And finally, if the vendor goes out of business, or suffers an infrastructure failure, customers may unexpectedly lose access to critical applications.