A SaaS system or Software as a Service, is a software distribution model in which both the software and data are centrally managed and hosted on a single server outside the company. This implies that the software used by the company isn’t located in it, but a provider handles the hosting of the software in the cloud, as well as the maintenance and support.
The contracting company accesses the software and all its data through a web browser from any computer. The software and data are centralized and hosted on a single server. That means that all the information, processes, results, etc. stored in this software are easily accessible from anywhere.
“On a SaaS system the software is hosted on a single external server so that it can be accessed from any computer and anywhere”
What does imply the fact that we can operate with applications hosted on external servers? The main novelty is that the use of the software is no longer based on the installation of the application on the desktop computers of the company. Any worker can access the program from anywhere in the world without prior installation, which means a great advantage for companies operating globally. Moreover, licensing, maintenance and support costs are reduced whilst mobility is improved.
This model of software distribution is a completely new system that corporations are starting to benefit from considerably. Anyway, there are still some skeptics who belief that “it is better to have my data on my computer”. However more and more companies are choosing this new model of software distribution, just as companies providing SaaS services are increasing in number and size.
The growth of this sector has happened so quickly that companies are lacking on specialized professionals with superior studies such as a MSC in IT Strategic Management or similar studies, achieving the necessary skills on SaaS, Cloud Computing and other trends in software.
“SaaS provider companies are struggling when looking for specialized professionals on this field”
Let’s analyze the main advantages of the Software as a Service.
One of the big differences with the traditional model is that in a SaaS system the software is already configured. This means a significant timesaving as we don’t need to install and configure he software on every computer that will be using it.
This centralization of software also implies a reduction in acquisition costs. The shared location or hosting of the application reduces the costs of hardware and software license, since the payment of a rent for the service is sufficient. This enables many SMEs to access the use of specialized software that in the traditional distribution model they couldn’t assume because of its high costs.
But not only the acquisition costs are reduced, the same happens with the cost of maintenance and support. The company providing the SaaS service will also take care of these services, so that the contracting company does not need a specialized internal department for this purposes.
Scalability and Integration
Generally SaaS solutions operate in a Cloud context that can be scaled and integrated with other Software as a Service solutions. When compared to the traditional model of software distribution, the user doesn’t need to buy another application or server anymore. It’s as simple as enabling another SaaS system and hosting it on the same server.
The SaaS providers take care of updating their applications and offering them to their customers. The expenses and efforts dedicated to software updates are greatly reduced, since it is not necessary to purchase and install the latest version for each update.
Easy to use and Test
SaaS solutions are easy to use on any operating system. These applications usually incorporate easy samples and guides for users and a support service from the supplier. In addition, users can test the different functionalities of the software before making the final purchase.