Software as a Service (SaaS) is a cloud computing model that provides users with access to software applications over the internet. It is a software delivery model in which software and its associated data are centrally hosted on the cloud by a service provider and made available to customers on a subscription basis. In this article we will discuss about SaaS, functionality, characteristics, types, strength, and weakness.
More About Software-as-a-Service
SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) is a distribution model that helps businesses to rent software services from the provider without the hassle of maintaining it. The growth of broadband, internet, and mobile notice a significant increase in the demand for SaaS. It is like a multi-billion dollar business with the prospect of reaching 5 trillion in the coming years.
Purchasing software manually posed a lot of problems for organizations, and this factor was deeply rooted in its source story. It is versatile compared to its predecessor ASP, which to was developed with the principle of accessing business applications through the Internet. SaaS operates in the same manner as ASP, except that the SaaS model keeps in mind a cost-effective universal accessibility model for its customers.
Let’s dive deep and understand the features, pros and cons, types, and how SaaS has reshaped the future of business platforms.
How Software-as-a-Service Works?
Software-as-a-Service works in a multi-tenant structure. The software application maintained by the service provider later hosts it through a web browser for the tenants, and the provider gets remunerated through a recurring subscription. The service provider take care of software updates, bug fixes, and other generic app maintenance. The versatile features of SaaS make it very easy for companies to scale their business without the risk of being capital- intensive.
Characteristics of Software-as-a-Service
The SaaS distribution model has some unique attributes that improve business processes for customers. Companies consider SaaS as the the preferred mode of software operation. SaaS has a few significant features that make it an s in present times.
Here are a few notable characteristics of the SaaS service model:-
The SaaS platform caters to a multi-tenant structure where a single version of the software runs on all host servers. This singular configuration serves all subscribing customers. Even though a common infrastructure is provided to all customers, their data will be segregated and secured based on the Service Level Agreement (SLA) with the provider.
Single Source Code
All SaaS application develops one source code for all their customers. It helps in rolling out new features, updates, functionalities, and such other to all customers at the same time. The source code is regarded as the fingerprint of software so it becomes necessary to implement several protective measures to prevent it from being stolen. Some essential methods used to secure the source code are encryption, obfuscation, access control, and so on.
The tailor-made app helps to construct a business according to client requirements without compromising the infrastructure. Hence a customized structure aids in supporting clients based on their needs and thus enables them with frequent upgrades. This feature helps to make repeated upgrades without running the risk of higher costs.
One of the most versatile features of the SaaS application is its provision to access it anytime-anywhere. Users of Software-as-a-Service are predominantly from the B2B or B2C sectors where the demand is high. Hence the web-based access experience with subsequent credentials is preferred.
Over the years, companies found purchasing Software a cumbersome task, as the burden of maintaining it lay on them. Instead, SaaS applications were favoured among corporates, as they were looking for an easy and cost-effective way to maintain business apps. The recurring operational expense through the payment of subscriptions was accepting to companies, as the cost to the company could be paid based on how the apps were utilized.
Types of Software-as-a-Service
Here, are the following types of SaaS:-
Keeping track of incoming and outgoing finances is easier now with the help of accounting software applications. Organizations of all sizes want to seamlessly manage bookkeeping with the help of the SaaS accounting platform. Accounting software with SaaS is more efficient and easy to use than transitional accounting software.
QuickBooks, Xero, FreshBooks, Wave Accounting, and Zoho Books are some of the sought-after SaaS accounting applications. These software applications offer many features like generating invoices, tracking receipts, account reconciliation, receivable management, and many more. These applications hosted in secure data centers, help to keep customer information confidential.
Customer Relationship Management Software
CRM software is designed to provide customer support with the help of SaaS. The software helps in storing valuable customer data, tracking leads, support tickets, and so on. CRM applications are valuable as it enables increasing sales, improve customer satisfaction, and scale-up profits. The foundation of CRM software is to provide businesses with holistic support, especially concerning customer support and sales leads.
Salesforce created a CRM software regarded as the first ever SaaS provider exclusively available only on the web. As Salesforce became popular, it lead to the acceptance of the SaaS platform. Some of the other CRM models to date are Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Oracle CRM, SAP CRM, Zoho CRM, and so on.
The project management (PM) software in SaaS assists in streamlining the workflow in an organization. It is designed to improve the efficiency and collaboration of work in teams. With the help of in-built tools such as progress tracking, Project Documentation, Planning, and scheduling PM applications acts as a virtual tracker that helps in balancing the high demands of the current work culture. Some of the preferred PM applications are Jira, Basecamp, Asana, Monday.com, Wrike, and so on.
HR Software Application
HR software app refers to the delivery model of human resources (HR) software where the application is hosted in the cloud and made available to users over the internet.
In this model, instead of installing the software on their servers, organizations subscribe to the HR software service and access it remotely through a web browser. Examples of HR software as a service include human resource information systems (HRIS), applicant tracking systems (ATS), talent management systems, employee self-service portals, and performance management platforms.
These systems typically offer features like employee data management, recruitment and on-boarding, time and attendance tracking, leave management, performance evaluations, training and development, and reporting/ analytics.
Overall, HR software as a service offers organizations a flexible, cost-effective, and efficient way to manage various HR processes and functions.
The Utility of SaaS
SaaS can be made useful in various ways across different industries and business functions. Here are some common use cases:-
- Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) leverage SaaS to access advanced software without significant upfront investments.
- Large enterprises adopt SaaS to streamline operations, improve efficiency, and reduce IT maintenance costs.
- Educational institutions utilize SaaS applications for e-learning, student management systems, and administrative tasks.
- Healthcare providers rely on SaaS for electronic medical records (EMR), appointment scheduling, and telemedicine services.
Strengths of Software-as-a-Service
Here, are the following strong points of SaaS platform:-
SaaS eliminates the need for upfront investments in hardware, licenses, and infrastructure, resulting in significant cost savings.
Accessibility and Flexibility
Users can access SaaS applications from any location and device with internet connectivity, promoting remote work and flexibility.
SaaS allows businesses to effortlessly scale their software usage to accommodate growth without disruptions.
Providers handle software updates and patches, ensuring users always have access to the latest features and security enhancements.
SaaS providers offer dedicated support, ensuring prompt assistance and troubleshooting for for users.
Weakness of Software-as-a-Service
Though SaaS is well accepted across all domains of all sizes, following are a few weak points that we need to consider while utilizing it:-
Storing sensitive data in the cloud raises concerns about data security and privacy.
SaaS applications heavily rely on internet connectivity, making them susceptible to disruptions in case of network outages.
As final thoughts, the future is wide open and reassuring for SaaS as it is highly promising and driven by the continuous need for flexible and cost-effective software solutions.