Software as a Service (SaaS) delivers the software applications through the web. Nowadays, most of our favorite services are hosted on the cloud, whether we are aware of it or not. They are always accessible requiring just a web browser and an internet connection. Through the SaaS platform, these software applications can be licensed on a subscription basis making it more economical for customers too.

SaaS is an “on-demand software” and can be scaled easily with rise in demand, offering organization flexibility and savings. In addition, it requires vendors to manage all the technical issues – meaning customers don’t need to provision for in-house IT expertise. Furthermore, SaaS applications can also be integrated with other softwares using Application Programming Interfaces (APIs).

SaaS is now a standard delivery model for many business applications such as-

  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM),
  • Business Information Systems (BIS)
  • Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)

Why is SaaS so popular?

Software as a Service is one of three main categories of cloud computing, alongside the PaaS (platform as a service) and IaaS. SaaS cloud usage is increasing continuously over the years because of the following reasons:

  • Accessibility: Ability to run via an internet browser 24/7 from any device
  • Operational Management: No installation, equipment updates or traditional licensing management
  • Cost Effective: No upfront hardware costs and flexible payment methods such as pay-as-you-go models
  • Scalability: Easily scale a solution to accommodate changing needs
  • Data Storage: Data is routinely saved in the cloud
  • Analytics: Access to data reporting and intelligence tools
  • Increase Security: SaaS providers invest heavily in security technology and expertise.

What are the benefits?

SaaS solutions are beneficial in a variety of business scenarios:

Startups and small businesses will find SaaS handy when they don’t have the time, capital or expertise to build their own applications or host applications on-premises.
Larger companies may use SaaS technology for short-term projects or applications that aren’t needed all year long.
Any company can benefit from SaaS technology when dealing with applications that require both web and mobile access.

Challenges of SaaS:

Not surprisingly, the number one advantage to using SaaS is also the number one challenge – an internet connection. With the increasingly wide availability of broadband and high-speed networks, this is becoming less of an issue. But there are a few other scenarios to consider before deciding to go with a SaaS solution.

Other challenges may include the following:

  • Loss of Control: The vendor manages everything, making you dependent upon the vendor’s capabilities
  • Limited Customization: Most SaaS applications offer little in the way of customization from the vendor
  • Slower Speed: SaaS solutions can have more latency than client/server apps
  • Security Risks: While the SaaS provider secures the application itself, strict measures should be taken with sensitive data

The future of SaaS:

The future promises a great acceleration with wider adoption of cloud computing and new technologies to bridge the demand. Smart connected solutions with Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI) that take advantage of big data to provide accurate insights for business intelligence.

As technology continues to evolve, SaaS models will as well. But the fact is that out-of-the-box and ready-made tools will always have a place in business.

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