In today’s world, where everything starts and ends with technology, where from the simplest to the most complex of things are being run on latest technological inventions, software is the prime need of the market.
If we look around ourselves, we will find a number of things that will justify the above written statement, from the messages popping up on our phones because of a messaging app or the data displayed on the oximeter which is a daily necessity of us now. From the coffee machine in the nearby shop to the place where you are reading this, everything runs on a certain kind of technology.
Now let us have a look at the technological revolutions that provide us with our much needed services. For example a food delivery app that provides us with the service of delivering food to our doorsteps.
But then there are some things which we get at our end they provide us with the services we need without us installing them. We take these services directly from the softwares. These are on-demand softwares provided to the user through a cloud model.
Now let us have a look at the bigger picture of this thing which sounds way too simple, that it actually is.
Such on demand softwares providing services to users has a name of their own. They are called Software as a Service (SaaS). It is basically a software distribution mode based on cloud, also known as the cloud-based way of delivering softwares.
Reading this will lead you to a question, “how is this any different from the apps we use?”
The answer here lies in the phrase “software distribution through cloud”. Users don't install or run these in their systems, instead they subscribe to it like other cloud services.
This SAAS framework can be accessed through any computer connected with the internet. The person using it might be sitting thousands of kilometers far away from the place where the cloud library is located.
In today's competitive and tech driven world, everyone wants to enter the digital field, running startups, opening digital, marketing agencies are the prime examples of it.
Let us have a look at the services provided by SAAS to its consumers.
(Must check: Agile Software Development, Agile SDLC)
Services provided by SAAS
Customer relationship management (CRM)
CRM is a set of business strategies and software processes that help in building a long lasting relationship with the customer. This feature comes in the business services provided by SAAS.
This is quite helpful for the beginners who have just stepped in the technological world with a hope of doing all the great things. The software in CRM makes sure the smooth flow of work with the customer, avoiding any discomfort. It works with utter efficiency to increase the profit of the business.
CRM keeps all the customer data from their software, from their purchase history to their personal info and purchasing behaviour and helps in serving them better each time.
Enterprise resource planning (ERP)
Another business service by SAAS, enterprise resource planning or ERP is the term for softwares and systems used for planning marketing strategies. It is used to plan and manage all the supply chains management, manufacturing, and financial processes of a company.
It is used to decrease the immense workload from individuals involved in these things in any organization.
ERP covers everything one can think of in business and provides the user with various features.
Apart from these when it comes to business, SAAS provides the users with billing and sales services too, making their work easier than ever.
SAAS overs document management services to the users. These services read, create, manage and send electronic documents and are helpful in all kinds of businesses. Examples of it being, Zoho forms, Slack, and samepage.
Social networking services
As mentioned earlier, SAAS efficiently manages user data and keeps a track of it. Also it provides a cloud database and is efficient in all kinds of data management. Because of this, it is used by social networking sites to keep the track of data of their users. This comes in the social media service provided by SAAS.
SAAS provided its users with mail services to avoid hassle with bulk emails and unpredictability of user numbers. SAAS provides them with email services by the help of which they can manage this challenge. Many service providers use this mail service from SAAS in order to maintain a hassle free exchange of Emails.
After looking at all these services provided by SAAS, there still is a question that remains with all of us. It is “why should we use SAAS? How can it help us in the growth of our organization?”
Everyone wants to know about the advantages of the thing they are trying to know about, so here is an answer to the question with all the “advantages” of SAAS.
(Also read: 7 Types of Agile Methodologies)
Advantages of SAAS
The ease of purchasing
SAAS is easy to buy. Its subscription requires monthly or annual fee, which makes organizations purchase and use it at a low cost. It is lesser than the licensed products which require extra support fee and fee for the license. This makes SAAS an economical and preferable choice for growing businesses and start-ups.
Less hardware usage
As it can be accessed remotely, there is minimal use of hardwares to access and keep it going. It can be accessed from a web browser running on any device 24/7.
As this is distributed through cloud, there is no setup or installation hassle before using it. It comes with automatic updates and also the early setups are much cheaper, making the maintenance cost negligible for SAAS. This is another reason why SAAS is preferred by new businessmen.
The SaaS CRM model allows for rapid scaling, so if your company decides to increase the number of CRM users, it can be achieved in a day.
There is no hassle of lengthy requests to the server or any other such thing. One just needs to simply change the subscription and SAAS will scale itself for as many users as one wants to accommodate. Because of this inherent scalability small business owners prefer using it and scaling it as the business grows with time.
Through standard APIs, SAAS services can easily integrate with other softwares. This eliminates the need of manual setups or complex coding to integrate the services with other softwares, instead it becomes a much easier process with SAAS.
SAAS providers invest heavily in security, making the software and data of users secure. SaaS providers distribute their servers around various geographical locations and maintain automated backups, ensuring a higher degree of protection than your own company might provide.
SaaS can be much more secure than on-premise applications with the right technologies and best practices, and the bank has several choices for maintaining control of the security infrastructure, such as encryption of customer data.
This is one of the main reasons why many companies have migrated to cloud and have started using SAAS instead of the old conventional methods.
With all these advantages SAAS becomes the most preferable service provider for businesses and organizations. But with advantages, come some challenges too, and we can’t ignore the fact that SAAS faces a few challenges too.
Challenges faced by SAAS
Not much control
As it is provided at the users end in a ready to use format, the user has no say in the functionality of it. The capability of the software depends upon the capability of the vendor. Even not much customization can be done as it comes the way the vendor has designed it.
It functions slower than most client/server apps because the data is remotely being accessed and not being taken from any local source,resulting in an increased latency.
As so much data is stored in the cloud, some users complain of security risks. The less secure model of cloud computing is the main reason behind this. When working with data, security risks are always a challenge for the users.
Some famous SAAS providers
Some of the most popular SAAS providers are listed below-
Microsoft office 365
These providers provide SAAS services ranging from CRM, ERP to business and documentation services.
As we reach the conclusion, we must have a look at the future of SAAS in today’s world. The future tells us that cloud computing will evolve with time, providing users with more and more services. It will tend to overcome the possible challenges and will make users grow with time.
(Most related: Cloud computing Tutorial)
SAAS too will evolve with technology and will continue being the first preference because of its ready to use framework. Overall, the future of SAAS looks secured in today’s world like the data of users stored in its databases.