What you need to know about Software as a Service (SaaS)

Hands up if you’ve heard of SaaS? Not to be confused with the SAS.

For whereas the latter refers to an elite, somewhat secretive military fighting organisation, with a propensity for also churning out best-selling authors, the former is a little more service oriented. And uses a lot fewer guns.

SaaS stands for Software-as-a-Service and is one of a long line of new-fangled IT jargon that the corporate world needs to get its head around.

The Background

In the olden days of IT solutions, new programmes, new business applications or pieces of software would need to be purchased from the vendor, then downloaded directly onto the hard drive of your computer system.

SaaS marks a major sea-change from this traditional way of doing things.Made possible by the rapid evolution of the internet, mobile tech, Wi-Fi, and the cloud, SaaS is a means of delivering essential services, software, and applications through an internet connection, directly to your computer or other connected devices.

The development, over the past decade, of the cloud, has created remarkable new possibilities for computing – way beyond simply storing data. Providing the platform for new technology advances, with SaaS a prime and increasingly influential example. 

The means by which we can access applications for all manner of purposes, without the need of physically installing them as a permanent item on our systems. Instead, they’re hosted in the virtual sphere of the cloud, ready to be called upon when required; and only when required.

Real-World Examples?

SaaS is the driving force behind so many of the things we’ve quickly taken for granted in our modern-day world of mobile internet and smart technology.

 

The Facebook we all routinely press our thumb to on our phones is an example of SaaS secretly at work in our everyday personal lives. LinkedIn, Flickr, and Google Apps likewise. All examples of many millions of active users, all able to access the same platform, at the same time, via their own internet connection.

For Professional & Business Services

SaaS take-up in the professional services environment has grown exponentially in recent years and is expected to continue that particular upward cycle for the foreseeable future, with a Forbes prediction that SaaS spending could increase by upwards of 450% over the coming decade. While Gartner suggests that SaaS is well on-track to become the accepted means of software delivery for standard business services.

It’s not a surprise, as we’re already seeing a certain stealthy take-up at a local level. Companies with whom we work and support across South Wales are ever more frequently turning to different cloud-based means to access essential business software; the most notable example being the conversion to Microsoft 365.

And with sound business reasons. Microsoft 365 is, perhaps, the very essence of a classic SaaS provision. Delivering its classic, tried and trusted Office suite via the internet. A pure software on demand offering, allowing users to call upon Word, or PowerPoint, or any other app, as they need it, rather than having the entire suite downloaded onto their device. 

Microsoft is not alone in this feature. SaaS is the means by which businesses access all manner of increasingly popular services, such as:

  • Salesforce
  • Slack
  • Google Apps
  • Amazon Web Services

And a seemingly endless raft of niche applications for insurance, finance, accounting, project management, and admin services.

Benefits

The reason for the take-up is simple. SaaS offers benefits to a business that can directly, and positively impact on the all-important bottom line of the profit sheet.

  • Cost-Effective – SaaS significantly reduces installation costs, extended licencing, and set-up fees. It’s also a more cost-efficient in use, paying only for the services you actually use.
  • Scalability – It removes the hassle and additional strains on cost and productivity when your business needs to increase or decrease capacity. There’s nothing to install or remove, as everything is on-demand via the internet
  • Mobile – With an increase in mobile and remote working, employees need access to the services and data required from wherever they may be. SaaS offers seamless access to essential services, accessed over the internet, directly to the device being used.
  • Productivity – There are key productivity advantages by adopting SaaS, as it’s a means to access services instantly, at any time or location. A powerful tool when collaborating on tasks across multiple locations. 
  • Future Proof – You need never worry about out-dated or obsolete software as the version you call upon over the internet is always the most recent version. Providing up-to-date service, PLUS additional layers of security.

More than Just a Fancy Acronym

So, yes, we understand that SaaS is yet another piece of jargon that’s slipped into the common working lexicon, and yet another term to get to grips with.

But make no mistake, this is a term you ought to be aware of, a technology that you already use (even if you didn’t realise), and the foundation for how we will have our business services delivered to us, on-demand and across multiple platforms, for the years ahead.  

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Tagged with: Cardiff IT support, cloud based solutions, cloud computing, hints and tips, software as a service

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