What is Software as a Service (SaaS)?

Nowadays, software is present everywhere no matter what field or industry it is. It is software applications and programs that help us track shipments that are assigned for a delivery, manage inventories for business houses, monitor the traffic, and even stay up-to-date with customer relations.

For decades, software has been used commercially and there has always been a certain way that companies have used it. 

For instance, there are business houses that run specific software designed for their convenience to keep track of their system and internal matters. In the last few years however, there has been a remarkable change in this ‘setup’.

With time and advancement in techniques, more and more businesses are now switching to what is called the ‘Software as a Service’ setup or model; because this is the model which suits their setup and helps them keep track of their system in a better, more efficient and cost-effective way. 

The ‘Software as a Service’ delivery model is a unique way which helps a customer/client use software and applications that are remotely hosted by a service provider but can be accessed and used by the clients as their own. 

The clients do not need to purchase the license for the software or any additional drivers or applications for the usage, or infrastructure.

It has been found that the reasons why more and more businesses and individual customers were driven towards SaaS were because of pure business requirements:

The ability of this model to bring down the Information-tech related expenses

If the software needed to be hosted on the client’s side, it would need to be purchased; which is not necessary in SaaS. Software as a Service models are hosted in a shared or multi-tenant environment. The software and hardware costs are low when compared to traditional models. 

The service provider in a Software as a Service model purchases the license for the software, and the customer just needs to pay so the software can be used using the pay-as-you-go scheme that cloud systems so successfully implement.

And this is why Software as a Service model is preferred by small-scale businesses that do not have the funds necessary to purchase and setup their own set of applications.

Decreasing the time taken for deployment

The Software as a Service model is a neat one. There are no installations involved or updates that are to be done by the client. 

So, a client can just get started and get down to business in this model. This significantly decreases the time taken for deployment, which was present in traditional systems where installation and updating the software applications was a necessity.

Ease of access and maintenance

Since the software isn’t hosted by the customer, there is no need to worry about the maintenance of the applications, or about updates regarding newer versions. The software and applications can be accessed by the business body easily.

Integration and Scalability

Generally, Software as a Service models reside in cloud systems that are both scalable and can be integrated with other Software as a Service offerings. 

So in case an enterprise needs a new application, they need to switch to a new Software as a Service offering owned by the Software as a Service provider.

Ease of using the system

The applications and software do not need a technical expert to take care of them. Anyone can use it efficiently just by getting hands on a few necessary details. Software as a Service applications are easy to use, as they come with samples and best practices inside it. 

So, the users can check the concepts and features of a new release in advance. Not only that, the applications can have more than a single instance and so combining for one version is smooth.

Better performance

A SaaS model undoubtedly exudes better performance. With no need to install or update the application, the system can be used more efficiently and has more scope for a better organized structure, thereby increasing the performance.

Easier to administer

Though the SaaS model is hosted at a remote server, it is much easier to administer as compared to the traditional methods. A client can access it from anywhere and yet get all the features that are necessary for the completion of a specific task.

Automatic updates on the applications

An advantage with SaaS is that the software and applications don't need to be updated manually. These are updated by the service provider, so when you as the customer access it, you access the updated version automatically.

Easy to collaborate

Outsourcing your software and application needs (installation, setup etc) gives you enough space to change it anytime you want and make it more flexible as per your requirements. You can easily add new applications with the existing ones without needing to make many changes.

Taking a closer look at the business applications and the industry today, it can be said that SaaS helps various business models, whether large or small, accomplish their errands effectively, accurately and quickly. Some of the global leaders have taken in this change and developed their systems at par with this technology.

Software as a Service model has become increasingly dominant with the advancement in cloud computing services. It is related to application service provider (ASP) in a way, along with that of on-demand computing software-delivery model. 

In SaaS, the service provider allows the customers to have network-based access to a copy of the original software/application that is hosted on the service provider’s side.

While this service model is the least efficient of the three service models cloud computing provides, when looking from the point of view of a customer who just needs access to applications for better performance without having the need to develop another version of the software or develop a new software altogether, or has any storage needs, this model is just what is needed by the customer.

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