Understanding the miracle worker called SAAS
SaaS or Software as a Service is a particular part of cloud computing and is perhaps the most common form of service in the API realm. It can be considered similar to a subscriber TV channel: when users connect to it, they’re connecting to a remote service hosted on a centralized server, using a license to access it. SaaS works the same way: rather than installing and maintaining software, you access it over the internet, making yourself free from complicated software and hardware management. Sometimes also called as hosted software, on-demand software or web-based software, SaaS applications run on servers of SaaS providers. The providers manage all accesses to the applications including availability, performance and security. Google Apps collection can be considered as a great example of the SaaS format. From mail, maps to calendar – all apps are located in a central server and deliver data to account holders via an agreed upon methodology. Here, the mail server, the geolocation system and the calendar generator are centrally hosted by Google servers and are monitored by a team of administrators. These services are offered “free of cost”, with advertisement revenue and data stream bearing the operational cost.
While IT budgets are continually decreasing, the need for innovation and complicated systems are increasing and as a result, the cloud has become an inevitable part of delivering business transformation. Organizations that were “casual users” of the cloud once are becoming heavy users of cloud-based solutions. This surge has lessened the requirement of on-premise offerings to a great extent and cloud vendors are hogging the limelight many times faster than the traditional software vendors.
Historically, organizations were needed to purchase or develop, and then maintain their IT infrastructure despite great costs. Now, SaaS empowers them to simply plug in and subscribe to the services available on shared infrastructure through the internet. The model has flourished greatly in the recent years due to a multitude of benefits it offers to the businesses of all types and sizes. Here’s why the SaaS solution is becoming one of the go-to options amongst organizations.
- Lower overhead costs: Implementing subscription based SaaS application means zero license fees. Having the provider manage the entire IT infrastructure means reduced IT costs for software, hardware and the administrators that a business would otherwise require to manage it all.
- High adoption: SaaS applications can be accessed from any device, at any time. As a majority of people are accustomed with using the web for resolving their queries or searching for products they need, SaaS applications experience high adoption rates, with a reduced need of learning.
- Easy deployment: To access SaaS solutions, all you need to have is internet access and a web browser. Unlike traditional software that often take several weeks to deploy, SaaS solutions don’t need any software to be installed, thus enabling you to access the new software immediately.
- Seamless upgrades: SaaS providers manage software upgrades and updates for their customers, eliminating the need of downloading and installing patches. Hence, at any time, customers can be rest assured of having the most up to date version of the software.
- Security: Several instances show a company’s critical business information remains more secure in SaaS solutions. Since many SaaS providers have multiple datacenters that are distributed geographically, any unfortunate event plaguing a specific center won’t cause interruption since the other centers can continue delivering the service.
- Seamless integration: SaaS providers with great multitenant architecture can accommodate indefinite customer demand. Many providers also offer customization capabilities to cater to specific requirements. Additionally, many provide APIs capable of integrating with existing ERP systems or other business systems.
- Payment flexibility: Instead of purchasing software to install and additional hardware to support it, customers typically subscribe to SaaS applications. Customers pay for the service either on utility basis i.e. the number of online transactions or the number of users or, a monthly subscription fee. This flexibility becomes crucial for businesses with a significant number of users or those having seasonal spikes.
- Simple backup and data recovery: With traditional software, the process of backing up operational or critical company data on a regular basis is highly laborious and painstaking unless an expensive automated solution is there. SaaS providers eradicate this task, instigating automated backup solutions without user intervention, thus ensuring customer integrity of their data.
In addition to these, delivering applications in SaaS platform brings along significant perks for the application end users, including business agility and improved IT productivity, faster time to market and reduced IT budget. With the SaaS model, organizations can expand their reach to new prospects without earlier barriers like geographical boundaries, pricing and lack of resources, amongst others.
Finally, deciding whether to integrate with a SaaS solution or not entirely depends on your approach towards development. If you’ve a basic functionality that requires an infrastructure free from geographical restrictions together with a simple yet robust platform coupled with a highly scalable system, then SaaS should be your best bet.