To keep it super simple, Software as a service
What is SaaS?
SaaS is often referred to as software-on-demand and utilising it is akin to renting software rather than buying it. With traditional software applications you would purchase the software upfront as a package and then install it onto your computer. The software’s licence may also limit the number of users and/or devices where the software can be deployed. Software as a Service users, however, subscribe to the software rather than purchase it, usually on a monthly basis. Applications are purchased and used online with files saved in the cloud rather than on individual computers.
Benefits of SaaS
Different from the traditional model, in SaaS the software (application) is already installed and configured. The user has the advantage of provisioning the server for an instance in cloud and in a couple hours they can have the application ready for use. This reduces the time spent in installation and configuration, and can reduce the issues that can get in the way of the software deployment.
2. Lower costs
SaaS has a differential regarding costs since it usually resides in a shared or multitenant environment where the hardware and software license costs are low compared with the traditional model.
Another advantage is that the customer base can be increased since it allows small and medium businesses (SMB) to use a software that otherwise they would not use due to the high cost of license.
Maintenance costs are reduced as well, since the SaaS provider owns the environment and it is split among all customers that use that solution.
3. Scalability and integration
Usually, SaaS solutions reside in cloud environments that are scalable and have integration with other SaaS offerings. Comparing with the traditional model, users do not have to buy another server or software. They only need to enable a new SaaS offering and, in terms of server capacity planning, the SaaS provider will own that.
4. New releases (upgrades)
SaaS providers upgrade the solution and it becomes available for their customers. Costs and effort associated with upgrades and new releases are lower than the traditional model that usually forces the user to buy an upgrade package and install it, or pay for specialized services to get the environment upgraded
5. Easy to use and perform proof of concepts
SaaS offerings are easy to use since they already come with best practices and samples inside it. Users can do proof of concepts and test the software functionality or a new release feature in advance. Also, they can have more than one instance with different versions and do a smooth migration. Even for large environments, users can use SaaS offerings to test the software before buy it.
No initial setup costs; applications are ready to use once the user subscribes.
Pay for what you use; if a piece of software is only needed for a limited period then it is only paid for over that period and subscriptions can usually be halted at any time.
Usage is scalable; if a user decides they need more storage or additional services, for example, then they can access these on demand without needing to install new software or hardware.
Updates are automated; whenever there is an update it is available online to existing customers, often free of charge. No new software will be required as it often is with other types of applications and the updates will usually be deployed automatically by the cloud provider.
Cross device compatibility; SaaS applications can be accessed via any internet enabled device, which makes it ideal for those who use a number of different devices, such as internet enabled phones and tablets, and those who don’t always use the same computer.
Accessible from any location; rather than being restricted to installations on individual computers, an application can be accessed from anywhere with an internet enabled device.
Applications can be customised and whitelabelled; with some software, customisation is available meaning it can be altered to suit the needs and branding of a particular customer.