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Software as a Service (SaaS) is a common cloud computing model, licensed on a subscription basis and centrally hosted.

Businesses are able to access the software immediately after subscribing and can reap numerous benefits from the utilisation of the service, including low usage costs, ease of use, scalability and integration. Applications such as office & messaging software, payroll, DBMS software, management software, CAD, CRM and development software, to name but a few, are available in SaaS.

What is SaaS?

Going into a little more detail, SaaS is a web-based service which can be subscribed to, usually on a monthly basis. This means that there are no upfront costs. The subscription can also be terminated if a business no longer has a need for the service. It removes the requirement for companies to handle installation and maintenance, and applications are consistently and automatically updated. And, as the service is used online, files are saved in clouds rather than clogging up storage on individual computers.

What is it used for in business?

SaaS can be used across a number of business processes, including; communications, accounting, planning, performance monitoring and sales tracking. The vendor becomes responsible for all elements of the service thus reducing company risks. The increase in use of mobiles for more than just communication, the standardisation of digital technologies and usability of SaaS programs have made it a superior option for businesses adopting software for their in-house computing infrastructure.

“Be careful to consider the pros and cons of SaaS. Certainly, a low total cost of ownership is one of the main attractions. Cloud computing means no on-site installation and being able to get going quickly is an advantage. The downside is the same as any off-the-shelf solution. You are sharing the same product with potentially thousands or even millions of other users, so features may appear or disappear without warning. And if it’s being used for a complex business process, what happens if your processes change or you need to adapt to new market conditions? SaaS software can be great for simple or commonly required software, such as basic CRM (e.g. Pipedrive) or accountancy (e.g. Xero). Make sure if you use a SaaS solution, it has a strong ability to be adapted and provides a developer API in case you need to make changes.” said, Nick Thompson, managing director at DCSL Software Ltd.

Advantages of using SaaS

  • Businesses can start using the software imminently. The application can be ready within a few hours, reducing issues and time constraints with installation and development.
  • As SaaS is a multitenant environment where software access is shared, and therefore so is the cost. Companies can pay for what they use and with no setup costs, service software can work out as a much cheaper option.
  • The scalability and integration of the cloud environment means that a company will not have to purchase and install new software as the technology is automatically updated to improve service efficiency.
  • Investment in design and development makes the software easy to use as it already comes with the best practices.
  • The software is compatible across all devices. Services can be accessed from laptops, mobiles, computers and tablets and from any location.
  • SaaS usage is scalable, users can choose how many of the services will be beneficial to the company and which ones can be accessed. If the demand changes at any point, packages can be updated to suit the requirements of the business.
SaaS is frequently used in business as a relatively cheap and efficient software package, which provides services to a company through subscription. There is no initial monetary outlay as costs are spread over months of utilisation. There are also no delays in software adoption as it only takes a few clicks of the mouse for the software to be available to the business. As the software has a multitenancy, there will be some restrictions in compatibility. But as an all-round service, SaaS provides businesses with the programs they need to work effectively, digitally.

By Hannah Richards, Amplified Business Content