Businesses are constantly looking for more efficient, cost effective ways to develop and maintain the software solutions they require.
Building your own IT infrastructure can be prohibitively expensive, particularly for small firms. As a result, many businesses are looking to the cloud for alternatives.
What is Software as a Service?
Software as a Service is a technique that allows businesses and other users to access software ‘on-demand’, online. Instead of installing it on your computer or your business network, the software you need is stored ‘in the cloud’. You then access that software using a regular web browser.
Software as a Service (SaaS) is becoming increasingly popular amongst business users and consumers. There is a range of reasons for this popularity, including cost efficiency and ease of use.
This technology is not, of course, suitable for everyone. But how could Software as a Service potentially help your business?
1. It is cost efficient
Software as a Service provides several important cost benefits for businesses. To begin with, the initial investment is likely to be very low. You do not need to plough resources into the development of a proprietary solution. Instead, you can be safe in the knowledge that the software is already designed and ready to go. Deployment times are therefore significantly shorter.
Additionally, you do not need to invest in your own server space. Instead, you pay only for the storage you need – and you can divert elsewhere the resources you would otherwise be dedicating to looking after your IT infrastructure.
2. It is quick to implement
Because the development work is already done, SaaS solutions are often very quick to implement and deploy. Indeed, complex software can frequently be ready to use within a matter of weeks or even days.
Most SaaS providers will offer some sort of training to help you and your staff get the most out of the product. Depending on the nature of the product, and your arrangement with the provider, this could involve remote support or in-office training.
3. It is scalable
Software as a Service grows as you do. All too often, businesses find themselves unable to expand their operations because they are hobbled by their own hardware restrictions. With SaaS, you don’t need to plan ahead to make sure that you have enough server space, for example. Instead, you can add extra storage as you need it. Just as importantly, this means that you are not paying for capacity you are not using.
4. It is easy to maintain
SaaS solutions are easy to maintain simply because you do not have to do the maintenance. Instead, potentially time-consuming tasks like upgrades and patches are carried out centrally, by the software provider. The other major advantage here is that you benefit from a system of constant upgrades, with new features rolled out as they are developed.
5. It can be secure
There has long been concern about the security of SaaS. But with constant new innovations in encryption, these services are now more secure than they have ever been.
Indeed, some believe that hosted, on-demand software is actually more secure than conventional delivery methods. Spencer Parker, from security firm Websense, said last month: “If I’m relying on my desktop antivirus to stop a virus, it’s still got to my desktop. But if I’ve got a cloud web SaaS solution it’s been stopped before it can even get to my network.”