Software as a Service (SaaS) is a software distribution model in which an external provider hosts applications and makes them available to customers over the Internet. SaaS is one of the three main categories of cloud computing (Cloud Computing), along with infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and platform as a service (PaaS).
In the SaaS model, the provider provides customers with network-based access to a single copy of an application that the provider created specifically for the SaaS distribution. The source code of the application is the same for all customers and when new features or functionality are implemented, they are distributed to all customers.Depending on the service level agreement (SLA), customer data for each model can be stored locally, in the cloud, or hybrid (both on-premises and in the cloud). Organizations can integrate SaaS applications with other software using application programming interfaces (APIs). For example, a company can write its own software tools and use the SaaS provider’s APIs to integrate those tools with the SaaS offering.
SaaS applications exist for critical business technologies such as email, sales management, customer relationship management (CRM), financial management, human resource management (HRM), billing, and collaboration. Top SaaS providers include Salesforce, Oracle, SAP, Intuit, and Microsoft.
SaaS applications such as Recordia and eComfax , are used by a variety of professionals and business users and senior executives.
Advantages of using SaaS systems
SaaS offers many potential advantages over traditional enterprise software installation models, including:
- Lower upfront cost: SaaS is generally subscription-based and has no upfront license fees, resulting in lower upfront costs. The SaaS provider manages the IT infrastructure that runs the software, reducing fees for hardware and software maintenance.
- Quick setup and deployment: The SaaS application is already installed and configured in the cloud. This speeds up the start-up process, as you only need to sign up for the SaaS solution and a few other small settings.
- Simple updates: SaaS providers take care of hardware and software updates, deploy updates centrally to hosted applications, and take this workload and responsibility off customers.
- Accessibility: All you need to access a SaaS application is a browser and an Internet connection. It is generally available on a wide range of devices and from anywhere in the world, making SaaS more accessible than traditional enterprise software installations.
- Scalability: SaaS providers generally offer many subscription options and flexibility to change plans when necessary, for example, when your business grows or when more users (employees) need to access the service.
SaaS, and more broadly cloud computing, can help you make the most of a limited IT budget, while providing access to the latest technology and professional support.
What is new about the SaaS system and what are its differentials?
- You only need an Internet connection and a device (computer, tablet or cell phone) to access this type of software, which is hosted on the service provider’s server.
- Saas are simple, dynamic, and accessible . You do not need to install or perform complex processes (which in the past required a computer technician) to use these solutions.
- It is not necessary to pay for licenses, since most of these services work with a subscription.
- The supplier company is responsible for the security of the stored data.
- There are countless SaaS solutions for all types of businesses.
- In addition to companies, people have benefited a lot from this type of service, which came to simplify access to software services.
Different types of Saas. What are SaaS, PaaS and IaaS and what is the role of cloud computing?
The term cloud computing or cloud computing refers to data, information and resources stored on shared servers over the Internet. All cloud resources are available for remote access , meaning that anyone connected to the Internet can use them. That is the starting point of Sass!
Many of the services we use daily are “in the cloud.” A popular example is the Netflix streaming platform , among many other subscription services used around the world.
The SaaS system broke the technological and technical barriers in the software industry and provides options and developments that meet complex needs at the business level to financial, communication and entertainment resources.
Cloud computing solutions offer three types of services: SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS. They differ according to their function and the type of need they serve.
- SaaS: surely you already used free software that you did not need to install and you only paid for the service and not for a license. That’s the definition of SaaS! SaaS have different versions, some free, others with advanced paid functions. There are numerous examples of services that we use in everyday life for professional work, for entertainment or communication:
Skype : the popular software for text, voice and video communications
Dropbox : multiplatform file storage service that allows synchronization and collaborative participation between users
Paypa l: Platform to send, receive payments and make transfers safely through the internet
- PaaS: It means “Platform as a Service”, in Spanish: platform as a service . Within these platforms (which are also hosted in the cloud) the user is free to host and manage their own software.
An example of a PaaS solution is the cloud computing services platform, Microsoft Azure .
- IaaS: Infrastructure as a Service is a more complex model. In this case, the Iaas offers a space, or as its name implies , an infrastructure to store resources, data and information (in large quantities) within a virtual memory.
SaaS companies and products
SaaS companies – which develop and distribute Software as a Service – offer solutions so comprehensive that they are used in all business sectors. Also for entrepreneurship, personal marketing and daily activities that meet communication and entertainment needs.
The development, storage, maintenance and updating of the SaaS platform as well as the security of the data stored in it is carried out by the company. The customer only has to worry about taking advantage of the service!
To classify a company as a SaaS provider, it is essential that the software has been developed to provide a service and that it is available to the customer 100% through the internet.
Many B2B and B2C companies offer this type of SaaS software . There are solutions for the most varied sectors:
- Payment market
- Customer Support
- Collaborative work
- Marketing and sales
- SEO and Content Marketing
- Streaming platforms
- Data storage
Within the B2C sector (Business to Consumer model) , solutions for collaborative and remote work for small teams, software for medium and large companies and services to personalize multimedia content stand out. Some of the most popular today are:
Slack : Tool for collaborative work and for teams that work remotely and need to maintain communication in real time.
G Suite : Service that provides personalized business solutions, such as e-mail , video conferencing , agenda and calendar . It is an excellent example of software for remote and collaborative work.
Giphy : Database of animated gifs where users manage to create and share this type of content.
Practical benefits of SaaS for businesses and individuals
SaaS are accessible and easy-to-manage solutions. In most cases only a short registration is required and they are ready to use.
- As it is a service hosted in the cloud, it is available at any time and place, as long as the user has an Internet connection. No computers are required to host the software.
- Excellent cost – benefit . The values are low, and in some cases, free. Most of the Saas are companies that work with subscription, which makes the costs very affordable.
- SaaS do not require complex installations or upgrades . Updates are made automatically and are at the provider’s expense.
- They facilitate remote work . It is possible to manage SaaS through mobile devices and you only need an Internet connection to use the service. These facilities are friendly for teams that work remotely, help to enhance communication between them and increase their productivity.
- Safe data . SaaS allow you to store your data in the cloud and at the same time keep it safe. Any error that occurs on the user’s device does not affect the information stored in the provider’s cloud .
- Many SaaS offer custom enterprise solutions or APIS (Application Programming Interfaces ) which add even more value to the service.
- Simple integration with other systems.
Aspects most valued by companies that use SaaS
Companies have found multiple benefits in using Saas services . We already mentioned a few, such as ease of use and access and improved solutions for teamwork, especially for remote tasks. Of the many advantages of implementing cloud computing solutions , which are the most appreciated by Software as a Service users ?
The Deloitte survey data also suggests that ” Rapid implementation and cost reduction are the highest valued factors” of implementing a SaaS service .
Translated in numbers:
- 91% consider that the use of SaaS reduces implementation times.
- 73% say that the use of SaaS helps reduce IT costs.
Customer Service Challenges for Saas Provider Companies
While it is advantageous for companies that use SaaS to reduce costs in licenses, maintenance, equipment and technical service, they also expect the solution to work correctly and offer customer support that is aware of their needs as a customer .
The immediacy is an important challenge for the service to the customer of the suppliers of Saas . Part of the philosophy behind Sass is availability, freedom, and ease of use. Therefore, it is expected that customer support will also follow this line, providing a fast and efficient service.
With these challenges in mind, it is important to consider some good customer service practices :
- Take care of the customer retention rate . Most SaaS companies work under the subscription model , which, in order to attract customers, generally offers free trial periods. Each customer gained is a great achievement and that is why it is important to work to retain it.
The main reasons to watch and take care of this metric have to do with building long-term customer loyalty and getting them to recommend the service to others.
- Provide impeccable customer service that anticipates user needs. A fluid communication with the user will allow you to know their experience with the service and how was their conversion from prospect to customer . This information is valuable when it comes to attracting more clients with a similar profile.
- Maintain efficient customer service. It has been documented that the most valued aspect in a customer support service is the speed of response . Along with other variables, such as prompt resolution of problems and the integration of service channels, the chances of a customer making a long-term commitment to a service increases depending on the quality of support they receive from the company.
Zendesk support adapts its customer service solution to any type of business. If your goal is to attract and retain customers by providing them with a remarkable customer support experience, this is the right tool for you.
Currently, SaaS is part of the range of cloud computing solutions to reduce problems for companies. In addition to Software as a Service, we also have:
Infrastructure as a service (IaaS)
This is an offer of cloud services in which the provider provides users with access to tools such as servers, networks and data storage, as well as backup copies and virtual machines. This saves companies the cost of acquiring and sustaining their own hardware for these operations.
Platform as a service (PaaS)
Create a cloud environment for users in which they can develop applications. In addition to the features already mentioned in IaaS such as data storage and processing capacity, it offers pre-designed tools for users to customize and create their own applications.
When do you use SaaS?
Do you use email a lot or do you work with certain applications from the browser? If so, you use any type of SaaS on a day-to-day basis without realizing it.
It is not necessary to download an additional application to use it, only with the browser you access all your information and tools.
SaaS for small businesses
For small companies, SaaS services in the cloud have changed the way they work, allowing them access to technology that was once unimaginable because of how expensive it is to maintain their own server.
Also, now that mobile devices have expanded the way we communicate over the last decade, where can a small business host its application to coordinate and manage services? Well, on an external server, in a SaaS service.
SaaS for large companies
Software as a service for large companies has facilitated the spread of companies that are capable of abruptly positioning themselves and changing the way things are done in the market niche or need they satisfy.
Today Netflix, an audiovisual material storage platform, has taken off. But why is it so popular? Because the service is fast thanks to the software and infrastructure as a service they use to keep that data flow stable and fast even with sub-par internet connections. In this way, it has become one of the most stable when transmitting.
Advantages of SaaS
Software as a service was born from the need to create solutions for companies that lacked the infrastructure or resources to expand the reach of their servers or have one. That is why SaaS solutions today are as broad as their benefits:
- Cost reduction : With a SaaS service you do not have to purchase an internal server, which is expensive, not only due to the number of processors, machines and maintenance. But also because these towers consume a considerable amount of electricity and generate a lot of heat, so as a general rule they go in a large space designed for it and must have special air conditioning, which is also expensive to install.
- Constant updates : The SaaS service provider is responsible for maintaining the software in its most advanced version and without additional fees.
- Global reach : You can travel anywhere in the world and access to your software, applications and data remains intact. In addition, they are usually cross-platform, which means that you can use your computer, laptop, tablet or mobile to use it. You can even have an App to access from your mobile phone without using a browser.
- Time saving: You can use the software from the moment you hire it.
- Scalability: This is a service where you only pay for what you consume. If you use a small amount, then the rate will be reduced and will escalate as your need for data transfer increases.
- Security and constant updating: Software patches, the security of your data and improvements in it are the responsibility of the service provider. This is a relief to be able to invest that time in other aspects of the company.
Features of software as a service (Saas) versus on-premise packaged software
What are the differences between software as a service and on-premises software?
On-premise software Software as a service
Hardware in the office.
Services on external servers.
The software needs to be installed on every computer in the company, tested and updated one computer at a time.
You do not need to install software and the update is automatic from the cloud server.
You have to buy operating systems and application licenses like Office.
Fixed subscription model that brings built-in tools that compensate the investment.
Software incompatibility with multiple computers.
Integrated software compatible with multiple devices.
Single server: no additional backups.
Backups in the cloud if one server fails, it remains operational in others.
Expensive: infrastructure, internal servers, special cooling, space conditioning, when expanding the process is repeated.
The payment is based on the use, if the company grows the rate is increased, in an exponential way.
Out of reach for startups and small businesses.
Within everyone’s reach.
The future of SaaS
One thing is for sure, on-premises servers are being displaced by SaaS services , more and more companies use it, especially small ones and those who are just beginning their steps in business life. What is projected in the near future for this service model?
- AI: Artificial intelligence is progressing and evolving by leaps and bounds. It adapts to any type of code and learns from user behavior to design improvements in applications or software.
- Autonomous management: Autonomous operating systems are projected, capable of evolving on their own and depending less and less on human intervention. In terms of computation and data processing speed, AIs are getting bigger every day thanks to hardware improvements.
At Stratus Media Solutions we have 2 software as a service:
- Web content manager – Banaky (creation and management of web pages)
- Video platform – Onwikio (video management and streaming)
Are you ready to use SaaS?
Now that you know what Saas (software as a service) is and the benefits it offers, do you want to get on the cloud?
Remember, if you have a growing company or are starting one, it is an economical, safe and reliable solution.
Without installing operating systems or applications on your computers, without spending time learning to use new software because the tools offered by a SaaS provider are very similar to those you have already used in other models.
Speed, confidence, security and adaptability. If you are looking for that for your business project, this is the best option for you.
What is SaaS?
Software as a service (also known as software on demand) is a software distribution and licensing model, in which centrally hosted software is provided to customers through a licensed subscription over the Internet.
That is, instead of the company having to purchase expensive hardware or install software licenses on its own servers or computers, the provider easily gives you access to an application over the Internet by paying a monthly or annual fee.
SaaS products are also known as web-based software, leased software, or hosted software.
Under this model, the SaaS company simply hosts the software on its servers and delivers it to its end subscribers over the Internet. The SaaS solution provider is responsible for providing access, cybersecurity functions , IT support, and performance during the course of its operation.
The Software As A Service is part of computing technology and cloud storage, along with the known services Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS, for its acronym in English) and Platform as a Service (PaaS, for its acronym in English).
SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS are simply three ways to describe how a company can use the cloud to benefit the business:
- IaaS – Cloud-based services such as cloud storage , networking, and virtualization.
- PaaS: hardware and software tools available on the Internet.
- SaaS – Software that is available through a third party over the Internet.
- Local: software that is installed in the same company facilities.
A Gartner survey found that more than a third of organizations see cloud investments as one of their top three investment priorities.
As we will see later, there are currently an infinity of Software as a Service applications to perform various types of tasks ranging from classic office software, unified communications, marketing platforms, design software and a myriad of business applications.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Saas
As we have already mentioned, software as a service offers a wide range of benefits related mainly to costs, security and usability. Among the main ones we can mention:
One of the biggest advantages of SaaS applications is the ability to run through an Internet browser, so it does not matter what operating system the device used to access them is used.
So regardless of whether the user is trying to run the app on Windows, Mac, or Linux computers (or even Android or iOS smartphones), the app is still accessible.
This makes SaaS applications incredibly versatile in two different ways.
On the one hand, it means that the user does not need to worry about the compatibility of their operating system with SaaS applications. Perhaps most importantly, they can not only be used in the office on desktop computers, but can also be used on mobile devices.
SaaS applications are designed to be mobile-friendly so that they can be used in a wide range of situations and circumstances, on the go.
Updates and patches
Another key benefit of SaaS applications is that because they run in the cloud, the provider can centrally update the software without negatively impacting users’ business operations. This is in contrast to software on installations that often require a degree of endpoint security testing and compatibility before routine updates and patches can be applied.
Therefore, the SaaS model avoids testing mishaps that slow down the development cycle and access new functionality for users, while ensuring that security updates are applied in a timely manner, unlike the locally installed software, which may remain vulnerable to attack until IT service management personnel have completed testing.
This brings us to another of the most important advantages over SaaS, and the minimal initial investment required to enjoy the benefits. For local software, it is sometimes not just that business PCs or other desktops have compatible hardware and software configurations, but also additional servers and network switches that might be required as part of an overall investment in services. IT infrastructure, required to ensure software availability across the enterprise.
Software-as-a-Service eliminates that need, meaning that even the smallest companies can access sophisticated software tools through SaaS-based cloud applications that only large companies could afford to build a few years ago. many cases, buy.
In addition, SaaS applications are very scalable, in the sense that if it is necessary to add more users to the service or, on the contrary, reduce them, you simply have to adjust the contracted billing plan.
For vendors, this means being able to offer a software service to the majority of the market, regardless of geographic location or company size, rather than just a limited and specific market segment.
This means that prices can be more affordable for more companies of all sizes. For users, this means being able to use services that were not normally available, thus expanding and improving their business services, increasing productivity and overall business opportunities.
Savings and storage
Storing data on company premises means that you need to invest in the necessary infrastructure and solutions to be able to make reliable backups , such as through cloud storage or another disaster recovery plan to neutralize any serious hardware failure that could cause significant data loss and put information and business operations at risk.
However, with SaaS solutions, data is routinely backed up to the cloud, which, in addition to providing redundancy, allows employees to switch between devices without losing work or data, simply by logging into their account. unique regardless of what primary device they use.
Data and analytics
Because everything runs through a centralized platform, it is easier to capture data and for analytical use. Companies using SaaS software generally have access to reporting and business intelligence tools and visualization that can provide valuable insights into business operations.
The above allows to optimize workflows and carry out different business activities in a much more efficient way, which translates into savings.
For the provider, since access is subscription dependent, there is no need to worry about piracy, which could otherwise cost you and affect pricing policies.
So, if your company is considering investing to migrate software and platforms to the cloud, some of the advantages of using SaaS products that you should consider are the following:
- SaaS products can be accessed on any device through a simple internet connection.
- Flexible pricing based on user needs.
- Quick distribution between employees and collaborators.
- Continuous functional improvements included in the cost of the subscription.
- Quick security updates.
- Highly scalable and flexible.
- Wide range of compatibility with various operating systems.
- Without expensive hardware investments.
When it comes to the disadvantages, we can say that the main one is that SaaS applications generally require an uninterrupted Internet connection to work. However, the increasing availability of high-speed telephone networks and the imminent arrival of 5G technology make this less of a problem.
It is worth mentioning that some SaaS applications have an offline mode that allows you to have the basic functionalities, even when you do not have an Internet connection.
Every day there are more applications and functions that Software as a Service covers. We can find office applications, accounting solutions, human resources, graphic design or marketing, among many more. Here are some examples:
- Microsoft Azure: Azure can be used both to host company-built applications and to access other Microsoft SaaS services. Microsoft cloud-based products like Dynamics 365, Outlook, and Office 365 are all built and hosted on Microsoft Azure . Using Azure as the foundation for your SaaS applications enables you to take advantage of powerful technology and smart tools like analytics and machine learning. If you are not familiar with the benefits that this SaaS platform offers, consult our article What is Microsoft Azure?
- Trello – Create boards, lists, and cards that allow you to organize and collaborate on your projects flexibly and productively. You can create a dashboard for your team and add details like comments, attachments, due dates, and more. Trello is an efficient project management SaaS product that enables small businesses to easily collaborate on projects from start to finish and can stay in sync across multiple devices to work on the go from a mobile phone.
- Hubspot: It is an inbound marketing platform that also includes platforms for sales and customer relationship management (CRM). Hubspot supports sales teams in targeting potential customers, running email campaigns, converting customers, engaging with them, and measuring the results of their campaigns. It also offers email marketing automation that allows you to create your own workflows, publish created content, integrate contact profiles, follow up with your customers and solve their queries for effective marketing campaigns.
- Buffer: if your business needs to manage several social media channels, working on them separately can be exhausting. Buffer , a popular SaaS social media management tool, allows you to post to multiple social media accounts from a single Buffer account. You can schedule posts, track content performance, and manage all your profiles in one place. Buffer has smart analytics that can determine what content is performing well and recommend appropriate strategies to improve the performance of your content.
- Freshbooks – is a SaaS billing and accounting software aimed at small business owners. It has an accounting suite that can simplify any financial management task. If you are new to accounting, Freshbooks’ intuitive design and automated processes will come in handy. You can run analytical reports and look for financial patterns to grow your business. With the FreshBooks mobile app, you can stay connected and take care of your accounting on the go.
- Zoom: During the quarantines caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, no other SaaS company gained as much notoriety as Zoom . Telecommuting prompted the California-based video conferencing service provider to cover everything from sales meetings to yoga lessons. By mid-May of last year, Zoom’s market capitalization had soared to more than $ 48 billion, a value higher than the 7 largest airlines in the world.
- Shopify: When it comes to ecommerce, no platform is more popular than Shopify. The Canadian company makes it possible for any entrepreneur to grow their business through e-commerce, connect with customers and sell their products. Since its founding in 2004, Shopify has been one of the driving forces behind the ecommerce revolution of the past decade. Today, the platform is home to more than 1 million stores in 175 countries, with more than 218 million shoppers using it in 2019.
- Semrush: Being a complete suite for digital marketers, SEMrush consists of 28 advanced tools for everything related to marketing. Whether you are an SEO professional, PPC expert, social media manager, copywriter, or content marketer, SEMrush has the tools to achieve your goals with effective marketing strategies.
- Slack: It is the most popular SaaS communication tool for remote teams as it brings together all communication needs in one place. Users create groups of messages called “channels.” Channels can be created for a team, project, location, customer, or anything else. In these channels, the entire team can have conversations, collaborate, and share files. Sharing files is very easy with Slack , as it integrates with more than 2000 applications.
- BambooHR: According to the company, 89% of its clients are SMEs. The BambooHR management system and human resources software provides personnel data modules, tracking and reporting functions throughout the life cycle of a company’s employees. With BambooHR you can easily create new jobs, share them on social media sites, manage incoming applications, onboard employees, and prepare your compensation.
SaaS: higher productivity at lower cost
In general, Software as a Service or SaaS offers many benefits that work for both providers and users.
While some companies may prefer to set up their own cloud management services and use cross-device and site orchestration to control their own data, for most SMBs, SaaS solutions offer unmatched opportunities that can help them start their digital transformation. , to develop, expand and offer its customers more value in its products and services.
An example of SaaS in action: the suite of Salesforce solutions
Marc Benioff, a co-founder of Salesforce, started the company in 1999 with a “mission to ‘End Software’ through his creation of the ‘cloud.’” What he created was a new kind of software: programs that were immediately available online. With this vision he created SaaS, revolutionized business technology, and likely cleared the path to big data and analytics.
A growing small business can invest in the Salesforce customer relationship management (CRM) platform, which runs Sales Cloud and Quip. The CRM platform is the centralized location for all a company’s data as it grows, with Sales Cloud serving as a specific tool for the sales team that manages every aspect of the sales process. Quip is a collaboration tool built directly into Salesforce that allows multiple users to access and update documents and other files at the same time.
The business owner initially pays for three seats: one for the owner, one for the sales manager, and one for the second salesperson. In six months, when the business has expanded, the owner upgrades to 10 seats and adds another platform to the mix: Marketing Cloud, for the new marketing team. The employees all use laptops and can work remotely as needed. Even when one salesperson is thousands of miles away, they can collaborate on documents and update cases so the marketing team at the home office has accurate data at all times. At an important meeting with an investor, the owner pulls out their smartphone, opens the Salesforce mobile CRM app, and answers investors’ questions with current data.
All decisions regarding business growth are based on dashboards that report accurate data at all times. Because the company is running a fully integrated system, sales, marketing, customer service, and anyone who uses the CRM platform all have access to the same information: a single customer view.
Software as a Service (SaaS) empowers your company to be better
There’s a reason SaaS has become the dominant software model: Its advantages for both providers and customers are numerous. While Salesforce was among the first companies to deploy cloud-based software, today it is by no means the only one, and the cloud has even more to offer companies. However, the most common use is SaaS, and software providers that use this technology are helping empower businesses to be more efficient, agile, and in charge of the customer journey.
What is the purpose of SaaS?
The primary goal of SaaS is to help you reduce the costs and implementation time associated with installing and using the necessary business software.
Think about it: with SaaS, you don’t have to waste time installing software on each user’s computer or worry about keeping software safe from malicious hacking attempts. Instead, SaaS providers take care of the technical aspects of software development and maintenance so that you can start using it as soon as you create an account with a particular service provider.
What is the difference between SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS?
I mentioned earlier that SaaS is a subset of cloud computing. Two other subsets of cloud computing include Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS).
Platform as a service refers to cloud platform services that allow you to use your platform to develop, deploy, and manage applications. Common examples include Microsoft Azure or Google App Engine . In this scenario, the cloud provider is responsible for managing the servers, storage, networks, and virtualization services, while its IT team is responsible for the development and maintenance of the applications.
Infrastructure as a service refers to virtualized computing resources such as servers, storage, and networks. You can use these resources to install an operating system for your server and to develop, deploy, and manage your applications. Common examples include Amazon Web Services or Google Cloud Platform . By using IaaS, you are responsible for virtualization as well as managing applications.
SaaS differs from IaaS and PaaS because the SaaS provider is responsible for managing everything. From virtualization and application development to servers, storage and networking, the SaaS provider takes care of it all.
So how does SaaS work?
As I mentioned earlier, software installation used to require a physical disk and a tedious installation process. Software as a service is hosted in the cloud and, in most cases, does not require installation.
Instead, you will visit the software’s website and sign up for an account with your email address. You will also need to create a password or request that a password be sent to you.
Once you have registered or received your password by email, you will use those credentials to log in and access the tools and features of the software.
However, there are some SaaS that offer both a web browser version and a desktop version. Both the browser version and the desktop version require Internet access to function.
The benefit of offering both a browser and desktop version is that the desktop version allows users to stay logged in rather than having to enter their username and password each time.
The registration and registration process is the same, only in this case, you will also have the option to download the desktop version if you wish. You can then use your email address or account name and password to log into the desktop version and use the software on your desktop.
What are some examples of SaaS?
There is no shortage of SaaS solutions today and their number continues to grow. They are generally divided into two categories: SaaS Business to Business ( B2B SaaS) and Business To Consumer SaaS (B2C SaaS). In some cases, you will find an overlay where a particular application serves both the consumer and the business sector.
Shopify is an e-commerce platform that makes it easy to create an online store without having to hire a designer. Although the main purpose of the platform is to allow you to sell physical and digital products, Shopify also has a host of tools that make it easy to manage and promote your store.
For starters, once your Shopify store is up and running, you can connect it to platforms like Facebook and Amazon and sync your products.
Second, your app market has thousands of apps that add additional features and functionality to your store. From additional payment gateways and shipping options to integrations with email marketing platforms, you can quickly turn a basic store into a powerful e-commerce website.
- Email and SMS Marketing
- Live chat
- CRM and marketing automation
- Transactional emails
- Landing pages and registration forms
- Facebook Ads Management
- And more…
Sendinblue integrates with many other SaaS platforms like Shopify so you can focus on nurturing your customers and subscribers.
Squarespace is an all-in-one website builder that uses drag-and-drop functionality to make creating a website easy. The platform offers a website builder as well as marketing tools, such as the ability to collect email addresses and send email campaigns.
Squarespace has basic e-commerce functionality. You can create a simple online store and sell digital and physical products. It integrates with other tools like Stripe and PayPal and MailChimp if you need more advanced marketing features. Other integrations are possible through Zapier , an online service that allows you to connect third-party applications with each other.
BigCommerce is another popular ecommerce platform that offers many features for online store owners. It is geared more towards business store owners, although it does have the Small Business Essentials plan. The platform, like Shopify, allows you to create your store and sell on multiple channels like Facebook, Amazon, and more.
You can easily manage your inventory right from your dashboard and see how your store is doing in terms of sales. BigCommerce integrates with Google Shopping and has an App Marketplace where you can find thousands of apps to add additional features to your store.
Square Online allows you to start a free online store and sell your products from anywhere. You can sell on Facebook, Instagram, in person, and anywhere else you want.
Square Online Store is a great option if you are on a budget. You can set up and manage your store for free and only pay when you sell something. You can sell for free as long as you want. The base charge is equal to Square’s standard invoice processing fees.
The free store has a basic functionality. If you want more advanced features, like using a custom domain, removing Square branding, and the like, you can upgrade to one of their paid plans.
HubSpot offers a range of services geared towards business owners. Its most notable product is the free CRM software that allows you to keep track of your incoming customers and leads.
Other products that HubSpot offers include:
- Marketing Hub, which allows you to create and manage ad campaigns, add live chat or marketing bots to your site, automate your email marketing, and more.
- Sales hub that lets you keep track of your sales channel, schedule meetings and send emails, manage customer reach, and track sales rep performance.
- Service Hub, which includes tools like tickets, chat bots, live chat, calls, canned emails and snippets, and more.
- HubSpot CMS that allows you to create landing pages and blogs complete with live chat, chat bots, and email marketing forms.
HubSpot also offers a number of free tools that you can use to test your products before making your final purchase decision. The pricing of your products is based on the number of contacts you have stored in your database and starts at $ 50 per 1000 contacts.
Dropbox is a great example of a SaaS that serves both the B2B and B2C sectors, with different plans for business users and private users. They offer cloud storage for all your important documents and files. Thanks to its desktop and mobile application, you can access your files on your computer and any mobile device you own. You can also sync files from your computer and smartphone to Dropbox servers.
Salesforce is one of the most popular CRM solutions for both small businesses and large companies. They offer an integrated solution that enables all of your departments, from HR to Marketing and Sales, to track your customer’s journey and follow up at the right time with the right offer.
QuickBooks makes it easy to manage your books, submit proposals and invoices, and see how your business is doing financially. You can easily share the information with your accountant and they can take care of your books online without having to go to your office.
QuickBooks is a great example of a SaaS tool that offers both a web browser version and a desktop version. They also have a few different plans available to choose from, depending on the size of your business.
Benefits of adopting SaaS
So now that we’ve covered what SaaS is and how it works, let’s go over how your business can benefit from adopting software as a service.
Access the software from anywhere
One of the biggest benefits of using software as a service, as opposed to traditional on-premise software, is that thanks to its delivery model it can be accessed from anywhere. Whether you work from home, an office, a shared workspace, or your local coffee shop, all you need is an active internet connection to access various cloud services.
Today, working remotely is becoming more common. If you or your employees have to spend a few days working from home, you can continue to do so even without a company laptop or computer.
This means you don’t have to worry about logging off employees checking company property and emphasizing whether it will be damaged or abused in any way.
Instead, they can use their own laptop or desktop computer to do the same old tasks. This ensures that employee productivity is not compromised, whether you want to start implementing remote work policies occasionally or make a full transition to a remote team.
SaaS is already preconfigured and pre-installed in the cloud. That means it’s ready to go as soon as you sign up.
No need to wait for your IT department to finish the installation process on all machines in the facility. There is also no need for an even longer setup process.
Imagine this: your business has 30 employees and you just bought 30 copies of Microsoft Office so they can collaborate and share documents.
But suddenly your business is booming and you need to hire more people. Now you have to buy more copies of Microsoft Office for the same price you paid for the first 30 copies.
Quite expensive, right?
It is not that expensive if you use software as a service. Most of the time, the more users you add to your plan, the less you will pay for each one in dual user.
Not only that, but adding users is quick and easy and if you need more storage or additional features, you can upgrade your plan with the push of a button.
And to make things better, you don’t have to worry about acquiring better computers that can handle the software requirements, as this is all handled by the software vendor itself.
Along with better scalability and faster time to launch, your costs are naturally lower. That is how:
- Total cost of the software over time – A continuous subscription may seem expensive at first. But when you look closer, it’s actually cheaper in the long run. For starters, you don’t have to buy expensive updates when a new version of the software is released. Second, you don’t have to worry about maintaining your own servers or other hardware to run the software you need.
- Lower upfront cost: In most cases, when you use SaaS, there are no additional setup fees charged unlike traditional software.
- No additional maintenance or support costs, as I have said before: all technical aspects associated with using the software as a service are handled by the software provider. They are in charge of maintenance, updates and support, as well as making sure they have the proper hardware to run the software. You don’t have to pay for technicians to come set up or update the software. There is also no need to have staff available to make sure the software runs as intended.
Integration with other software and tools
If you are like most business owners, you are probably using more than one piece of software to run your business. Today, almost every major business application is accessible, from accounting software to enterprise resource planning, such as SaaS. As a result, you can easily integrate all of your programs, tools, and applications and make them work together.
It’s easy to connect your customer relationship management (CRM) software with your email marketing software, send your sales numbers from your spreadsheet to your accounting software, and more. This means that you can eliminate the need to manually transfer data from one program to another.
You also don’t have to waste time switching between different tools, which means you’ll have more time to get things done.
Almost instant updates and save
How many times have you been working on something only to be interrupted by an update notice? And then having to restart your computer to apply the update?
That doesn’t happen when you use software as a service. All the new features that are added to the software are available almost instantly in the browser. All you need to do to access them is refresh the page.
On top of that, you don’t have to worry about saving your progress as any changes you make will be instantly saved to the cloud. They are also instantly visible to other team members and employees, which in turn means faster collaboration.
Disadvantages of adopting SaaS
Unfortunately, despite how good SaaS is, there are also some downsides associated with it. You will have to consider them carefully when deciding whether SaaS is the right option for you.
Trust on the Internet
Software as a service relies on the Internet connection to function. That makes it available no matter where you are or where you work from. You can take a business trip and still be able to access your software. Or you can work from home and still be able to collaborate with others on your team. This is especially helpful when unforeseen circumstances arise and force you to adopt a new way of doing business.
But as useful as working remotely and only needing Wi-Fi sounds, it also comes with its own set of challenges. For example, what happens when you have to travel and your destination does not have high speed internet available ? You may not be able to complete your tasks as quickly as you normally would.
High speed internet is not the only problem. In cases where your electricity goes out due to external circumstances, your internet will also shut down. This means that you will have to find a different place to work, such as relying on your local coffee shop or local library. Again, if those places don’t have fast or reliable internet, your productivity and workflow can suffer.
Alternatively, in such scenarios, you can revert to using traditional business applications and alternative SaaS. However, keep in mind that you will need to transfer your work to your regular cloud applications once you have reliable internet access again.
Another downside to be aware of when it comes to SaaS is the security risk that comes with it. Since the number of online threats is increasing, it is natural to be concerned about the possibility of losing confidential information.
Some of the security concerns associated with SaaS include:
- Bad identity management – Not all SaaS providers offer secure access. Besides that, some of them don’t provide support for role-based access controls. Some of them do not offer an encrypted connection between your data and your applications.
- Access from anywhere problem – The main benefit of SaaS is the ability to access the application or program from anywhere. But that also means accessing from an unsecured or unencrypted connection. This leaves your data vulnerable to hacking attempts and other security vulnerabilities.
- You don’t always know where your data is – SaaS providers rely on virtual machines to deliver software to their customers. Typically, those virtual machines will be distributed worldwide to ensure availability for XNUMX hours. They will also move data between machines to ensure better deliverability and address load balancing needs. While this provides a better user experience, it also means that you can’t really be sure where your data is, as there is no way of knowing which virtual machine it is stored in. For example, if you travel to Paris on business and generally reside in Los Angeles, your data may be moved to a data center in Europe so that you can access your data faster.
It’s worth mentioning that even though your data is stored in the cloud, you still own it. Most SaaS providers have service level agreements (SLAs) that state that your data remains theirs. They also make sure that you have the right to get your data back at any time.
However, if you are handling sensitive information and security is of the utmost importance, a private cloud could be an attractive option for you. A private cloud allows you to run SaaS on premises. The difference between a private cloud and a public cloud is that in a private cloud, you will share the computing power with the rest of your employees.
However, keep in mind that while this significantly improves security, you will need an IT department to handle maintenance and maintenance instead of the SaaS provider.
You should also take into account the level of customization. Most SaaS applications have integrations with third-party tools through extensible application programming interfaces (APIs).
Some of the tools even allow users to use their own set of colors or fonts to make the interface more visually appealing.
These customization and integration options are nice and greatly improve your workflow and productivity. However, they cannot be compared to fully customized business software.
Support response times
The last thing to consider is the support response time for any SaaS application. I mentioned earlier that any technical aspects associated with using the software are handled by the SaaS provider. This includes not only updates, maintenance and development, but also supporting your users when something goes wrong, such as service interruptions.
Unfortunately, this means that if there is a global problem with a particular application, you will not be the only one seeking support. You may be stuck in a long waiting line before a support agent can solve your problem.
And in some cases, you may need to turn to email support if there is no live chat or phone support, which can cause even longer wait times. This delays your work unnecessarily. While these situations are not common, they do happen, so they are worth keeping in mind.
What to consider when buying SaaS for your business
So far I have covered what SaaS is, how it works, and the pros and cons of using it. I have also shown you some examples of SaaS B2B and B2C applications and tools. Now, let’s go over what to consider when purchasing SaaS for your business.
Determine the need
The first step is to determine the need for a software tool. For example, maybe you are tired of manually following up on your customers and potential customer inquiries. Or maybe you want an easier time doing payroll each month. In this case, you probably know right away that you need some kind of accounting software or customer relationship software.
But in some cases, the answer may not be so obvious. You can deal with a minor inconvenience and do things the hard way because you don’t know of any existing solutions. You may want to see more engagement on your social media posts, but don’t know there are tools to help with this.
In the above scenario, you will eventually get tired of the situation and realize that there must be a better way. This will naturally take you to the second step in the process: knowing what features you need.
Make a list of required features
So you’ve determined that you need a better way to handle any problem. The most logical step is to make a list of the necessary characteristics that the solution should have.
If you work alone, then this step is relatively easy. But if you work in a large company, it becomes more complicated. You will need to listen to and receive feedback from multiple people. Some things to consider are:
- The objectives of a particular tool. – Ask yourself, as well as others in your company, what specific goal this tool should help you achieve.
- To do list – you will also want to jot down a list of all the tasks this tool should help you with
Don’t be afraid to be explicit in your instructions and ask your employees what features they want to see in a tool and encourage them to do their own research. You can even set a timeline for everyone to think about these questions, take notes, and then review and compare them.
Look for a solution
You are now armed with a list of features, tasks, and goals that your tool of choice should have. Now is the perfect time to take the next step and find a solution.
The research is time consuming and not particularly exciting. However, if you don’t do your research, you could end up with the wrong SaaS application which will end up costing you more in the long run.
Research will not only ensure that the tool is the right solution for your business and situation, but it will also prevent you from wasting time, money, and resources on unnecessary software.
There are several ways to do it and the simplest is to Google it. Today, there is a lot of information about SaaS applications. From professional review sites to Youtube videos and more personal reviews, you have many options to choose from.
All you have to do is search for a term that describes your problem. For example, you can search for “how to share my screen with others” or “how to record my screen for a tutorial.”
In some cases, you will get an instant response in the form of a video or blog post explaining the process and links to recommended software. This could even help you determine the type of software you need.
But sometimes, you’ll get thousands of results, each of which recommends a different tool. Obviously that’s not very useful.
Then what do you do?
You go to the next step: ask your colleagues and your professional network.
Ask your colleagues and the network
Besides a good Google search, there are a few other ways to research the perfect SaaS for your needs. It is almost the same as researching where to go for your next vacation or what grill to buy for the next summer gatherings.
Rather than relying on a software vendor to come to your door and present their product, you will turn to their professional and personal network.
To get started, talk to other decision makers in your industry and ask them for software recommendations. A phone call or email is a great way to get in touch or you can go a step further and discuss it over lunch.
You can also ask your employees if they know of a tool that would work or see their recommendations if they included it during the second step of the process.
If you are in a Facebook group with other business owners in the same industry, you can make a post and ask them to share their preferred tools, as well as what they love and hate about it.
Another great place to get recommendations includes LinkedIn groups or even LinkedIn connections.
Don’t ignore local business meetings and events as you can use them as an opportunity to get your peers’ opinion and genuine recommendations.
Lastly, don’t ignore your personal network. Sometimes your friends and family can be a great resource when looking for a new software tool.
No matter who you ask, they will be more than happy to share their experiences with you and point you in the right direction.
Read third-party comments
Another way to decide if a particular software is the right choice is to read third-party reviews.
There is no shortage of third-party review sites that aim to give you an objective overview of what each software provides. They often post side comparisons, as well as the actual customer experience, so you can get a complete picture of what to expect.
Take advantage of free trials
By now you should have a pretty good idea of the type of software you need. It might even have some specific recommendations. The next step is to see if those particular SaaS products offer a free trial.
Most SaaS offer a free 14-day trial period during which you can explore all the features they have to offer. . Some even have a detailed onboarding process to help you get used to using and working with the tool.
However, remember that you will not be the only one using the software. Consider also asking some of your employees to sign up for the trial so they can help others in your company. This will also give you invaluable feedback on whether or not you have found the right tool.
It’s worth mentioning that some SaaS apps will offer a free version that might be perfect if you run a smaller business with fewer employees. Be sure to check the pricing plans and software licenses to see what is available and how you will be billed if you decide to subscribe.
Contact different providers
After you’ve done your research and tested a few apps, I recommend that you contact the software vendors directly, especially if they don’t have a strong onboarding process in place.
The reason behind this is simple – they are the best qualified people to tell you if your app is the right choice for your business. You can also discuss various software licensing and pricing options and can even create a custom onboarding solution or deployment process.
This will ensure that your employees adopt the software quickly so they can get back to doing their jobs.
As you talk to sellers, keep in mind that you are in charge, as you are the one making the buying decision. They should be able to tell you how their software helps and provide you with best practices for using it. If you are not comfortable with their service or how they answer your questions, consider going ahead and finding a better solution.
In the end, deciding on software for your business is not something you do lightly. Doing your research before making the final decision and knowing when to say no is crucial. By doing so, you will end up with software that not only solves your problem, but you also enjoy using it.
Bottom line: is SaaS for you?
In general, SaaS has many benefits for companies, both small and large. It’s a great option and a great solution if you want to improve your business workflow, collaboration, and productivity. It’s also a great option if you want to lower your operating costs and only pay for the features you need and use.
However, if you handle highly sensitive data, a custom-built solution might be a better option, as it can provide you with better security features. It is also not the best option if you don’t have a fast and reliable internet connection as the SaaS software delivery model requires an internet connection to function properly. This is another situation where custom on-site software applications may be more suitable.
And that’s a wrap. I hope you liked my article on the advantages and disadvantages of SaaS and that you have learned how it works.
Now you should be fully prepared to find the best SaaS for your business needs, so get to work.
Have you used SaaS in your business before? Let me know in the comments below!