Software as a Service (SAAS)
What is SaaS ?
Saas is a technique of sharing software applications and product delivery to the user online. No need for hardware and software installation. An internet connection is all that is needed.
The fiercely competitive business world pushes businesses to adopt an accelerating approach, they have to be adaptive and must provide technical solutions at a lower budget. Software as a Service (Saas) provides a logical solution for cost cutting via reduced or no installation cost, minimum maintenance cost and no need to bear heavy infrastructure investment.
In the early 1990s the internet was starting to take off and seeked it as an opportunity to help ease a common point for small and medium businesses. The rising cost of posting and managing specialized business software. The companies became the first Application Service providers (ASP) which took care of software hosting and maintenance software for small and medium businesses. Businesses could access software over the internet. Fast forward to the present is the model Saas. Companies develop and manage software and everything is available over the internet. Software can be accessed by PC, phone or tablets anytime from anywhere. Many existing businesses switched to the Saas model like Google Drive, Shopify, Sales force etc. Using primitive software packages updating was expensive, time taking and encountered disruption but this is not the case with cloud.
Saas applications are reliable and secure as they run on the cloud not on the company’s server. Saas applications are secure, the data centers are protected by strict digital and physical safeguards to avoid hackers. Companies also manage separate teams allocated for protection against security breaches and denial of service attacks. Companies do not need to buy expensive software licenses and bear the expensive infrastructure cost and manage large personnel teams.
Saas is a technique of sharing software applications and product delivery to the user online. This approach is efficient in terms of reduced cost and time consumption. Saas software are
- Based on subscription model that need periodic renewal (monthly or annually)
- These are centrally hosted in the cloud
- Can be accessed over the internet
Rather than installing the software applications are run over the internet using a browser. It has freed companies from the burden of maintaining hardware and software management. The application security, availability and performance is all on the host’s shoulders.
Saas model as previously explained is subscription based, so it has lower cost. The software itself manages the IT domain thus hardware and software budgets are low. Since the software is already available on the internet so there is no impedance that hinders setup as well as deployment. The software up gradation is centrally hosted thus diminishing the additional load of up gradation at required intervals. There is no question of compatibility so no testing formalities.
Being a subscription based model Saas offers flexibility of renewal as per the needs according to business and clientele size. Accessing data using a centralized system renders its analytical use quite easy and smooth. There is no fear of piracy as the access is paid.
The software and internet are only the two primary prerequisites of accessibility. Worldwide the access is available at any time. It does not matter which device or operating system is being used. This makes Saas applications versatile. Not only Mac, IOS, Androids these can be run in IPads and smartphones too.
Risks and Challenges:
The Saas model requires the software application to be operational around the clock i.e. 24 hours so they can be accessed whenever required. To remain updated in terms of features, security and other updates is another stipulation. Despite all the efforts, what happens is that still vendors face interruptions in services and enterprises often lose some of the controls while using cloud.
Often there is a hidden cost of training owing to new features being added. Switching to other application involves laborious efforts of moving large folders and files over the internet
The in-house application gives little or no control thus the latest version of software is used.
- The privacy of customer and the confidentiality is a primary focus
- Saas offers a finite rate of application software. There are a lot of non-host websites available.
- In case of absence of internet connectivity there is no access to your data.
The 4G and 5G technologies have resolved Saas issues to a significant level. Some of the applications now do operate in offline mode and can be accessed in case of losing connectivity too.
All-embracing Saas has benefited both the client and the service provider. Recently, Artificial Intelligence has been a growing trend parallel to Saas. Over the last year Google has made its efforts multifold in the field of Artificial Intelligence. It has developed as a mobile workforce and is also nurturing and flourishing small and medium businesses. Companies are transforming to Agile Saas services, though the change is not easy but has to be embraced for the long run market sustainability. There has been an exponential increase in the number of applications run on our tablets, PCs and Smartphones.
The future of Saas revolves around automation, Artificial intelligence and predictive analysis. The bulk of data will be fetched automatically and shall be converted into precise information.
This information is to be used meaningfully for which strategies need to be designed. It might involve more dependency towards Artificial Intelligence, training regarding data analysis and stream lining of end user processes. It is predicted that some eminent companies might prefer to have their own Cloud management system and security protocols. But for small businesses it provides endless expansion and growth opportunities.