Tech

What is SaaS? A Quick Intro

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Software deployment has shifted from making regular installations and configurations on hardware to the utilisation of virtual computers through cloud computing. SaaS has made such a shift possible.

This model of software delivery has been beneficial to its providers. According to BMC, SaaS is expected to bring in nearly $105 billion this year, and close to $141 billion in 2022.

What is SaaS?

SaaS, or Software as a Service, is a software delivery model in which software is made available via the web or through an API, and can be accessed by users on a subscription basis.

In simpler terms, it involves the deployment of software over the internet to users/businesses who pay on a subscription basis, either monthly, annually or custom intervals.

Since SaaS can be accessed via the internet, it allows users to make use of it on any internet-enabled device. It can also be integrated with other tools in an organisation through an Application Programming Interface (API).

Benefits of SaaS

SaaS offers a tonne of benefits to not just users, but providers. This section lists out 7 top benefits.

a. Ease of Use / Implementation

Unlike native applications which require you to have specialised knowledge on given hardware, and might incur extra costs to implement, SaaS products can be used easily as they can be implemented with little or no need for configurations.

This is because they’re installed and configured in the cloud. Also, SaaS products offer easy-to-follow guides to help customers quickly get started.

b. Ease of Access

A popular benefit of using a SaaS product is how easy it is to access. Since the software is hosted on the cloud, users can gain access to it via the internet.

This eliminates the worry of the software’s compatibility with your Operating System (OS), be it macOS, Windows, or Linux. Users can make use of the software not only on desktop computers but also on mobile devices, as such applications are designed to be mobile-friendly/responsive.

c. Upgrades

Since SaaS products are centrally hosted, providers can push updates to the software and make it available as soon as possible to all customers for use without affecting their activities.

On the side of the SaaS provider, the efforts made to implement such updates are lower than those required to make it possible for traditional software.

Upgrading traditional software might require purchasing a newer package to install and might also require you to pay extra fees to access support to make the installation possible.

d. Reach

Businesses of any scale can access SaaS products, which in turn, improves their services and opportunities. SaaS enables providers to supply software to the majority of the market, eliminating the limitations of a targeted segment.

This results in broader market reach, making it accessible to not just large-scale enterprises, but start-ups that wouldn’t have had access due to high licensing costs. This brings us to the next benefit, affordable pricing.

e. Affordable Pricing

From the definition of SaaS, we got to know that it is offered on a subscription-based model. These subscriptions are offered either on a monthly, annual, or custom interval. Coupled with the fact that it’s hosted on the cloud, it eliminates the extra costs incurred for hardware installation and maintenance, a problem usually encountered by organisations using traditional software.

On the side of the SaaS provider, they wouldn’t be too concerned with piracy, as customers can only gain access to their product after making payment. This can’t be said for providers of traditional software as their products easily fall victim to piracy.

f. Analytics

With SaaS, everything runs on a centralised platform. This makes it easy for customers to gather data and make accurate analysis. SaaS providers usually offer tools to their users to provide valuable insights, which in turn, helps improve their workflow and efficiency.

g. Scalability

In organisations, the demand for IT resources change, and this is easily adjustable for SaaS customers as they wouldn’t need to purchase additional hardware or abandon them when they aren’t in use.

SaaS providers offer easily customisable options for their users to add or drop resources as their demands change, which in turn, has an effect on their subscription.

SaaS Companies

SaaS companies are those companies which offer software over the internet to provide services to their customers. They host, update, and deliver their product from their server. This section covers some notable SaaS companies and what they offer.

a. Atlassian

Atlassian is a software company based in Australia, that provides products for software developers and project managers. Such products include Jira, a software built for tracking bugs, and for agile project management, and Bitbucket, a web-based version control system. (VCS)

b. Zoom Video Communications

It is a communications company notable for its product Zoom, a cloud-based platform for videotelephony, online chats, content sharing, distance education, and webinars.

c. Dropbox, Inc

Dropbox, Inc is a company that designs and develops document management software. Its notable product is Dropbox, a cloud-based file hosting service. The files uploaded are kept in sync with Dropbox’s servers and other devices where the user has it installed.

d. Shopify, Inc

It is an e-commerce company based in Canada and is known for its platform, Shopify, an e-commerce platform that aids customers to set up online stores and sell products.

e. Salesforce, Inc

Salesforce is a software company that designs and develops enterprise software. It offers services centring on Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and a suite of applications focused on marketing automation and analytics.

Here’s a more comprehensive list of SaaS companies.

Conclusion

As we round up, here are top notable insights concerning SaaS gathered from DevSquad:

  • SaaS organizations operate in over 100 countries.
  • Only 2% of UK businesses are not on the cloud
  • In a study of 786 technical professionals across small and large organizations, 94% use cloud SaaS.

Do you use a SaaS product? Have any favourites? What are the benefits you enjoy while using them? Let’s know in the comments.

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Joseph David is a FrontEnd Developer and Technical Writer
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