One of the newer forms of cloud computing is software-as-a-service (SaaS), which is, essentially, a software distribution model where a service provider hosts applications for customers and makes them available to these customers via the internet.
What’s making SaaS popular is its ease of access. It has become an everyday delivery model for numerous business applications, all while being implemented into the delivery strategies of various enterprise software vendors.
SaaS offers a variety of options for business applications, including email, collaboration, customer relationship management (CRM), billing/payroll processing, sales management, HR, financial management, database management, enterprise resourcing planning (ERP), content management, and document editing and management, to name a few.
Organizations usually pay a subscription fee for SaaS, on a monthly or annual basis. This is a drastic change from the traditional model of paying for software through a perpetual license, with a high upfront cost and ongoing support, with the latter usually being optional and for an additional fee. Which means that enterprises who’ve transferred to SaaS get to save money.
Among the top reasons for using SaaS is it saves IT departments of various organisations from the headache of installing and running applications on their own systems. The cost of hardware, maintenance, software and support immediately goes down.
SaaS offers a pay-as-you-go model of payment for enterprises, that allows them to shift costs to an ongoing operating expense for easier budgeting. An enterprise can stop subscribing to SaaS offerings whenever they want, which allows for greater flexibility in budgeting.
Apps delivered via SaaS are available OTA, so users can access the software from any devices and location, as long as there is an internet connection.
SaaS products can run on MacOS, iOS, and Android, and, of course, Windows—as well as run on multiple browsers such as Google Chrome, Apple Safari, and Mozilla Firefox.
SaaS offers unprecedented scalability, allowing enterprises to offer or cancel services and/or features as needed, and SaaS is no different. That’s a key advantage of SaaS for organizations that are experiencing quick growth.
SaaS also offers regular automatic software updates, so enterprises can forget about buying new releases when they are available or installing patches such as security updates. This is especially important to organizations with a limited IT staff.
Among the leading enterprise SaaS providers are ADP, Adobe Systems, Box, Citrix Systems, Dropbox, Google, IBM, Intuit, Microsoft, Oracle, Salesforce.com, SAP, ServiceNow, and Workday. But hundreds of companies offer their software as SaaS, from mobile management tools to expense report management, from video transcoding to financial transaction services, such as CreditPilot - a FinTech company that utilizes SaaS to provide ready-to-go financial platforms MNOs and MVNOs, so they in turn can offer a range of financial services to their subscribers, all through the use of a smartphone, and without the necessity of having a bank account - something that’s been previously unavailable to some two billion unbanked users in the world.