What is SaaS? A software-as-a-service overview

What is SaaS? A software-as-a-service overview

Cloud computing is not going anywhere. Neither is one of its most popular types - software-as-a-service tools and services.

Software-as-a-service (SaaS) is a popular - if not the most popular form - of cloud computing. If your business uses any sort of online services and tools, then chances are you are likely using a SaaS solution. These tools are accessible through internet browsers and other applications, making them as portable as they are powerful.

Just how popular is SaaS cloud computing? So popular that 89% of companies use some type of SaaS application. It is also estimated that SaaS tools will be responsible for 75% of cloud workloads and compute instances by 2021.

Knowing that SaaS is only going to grow even more popular, it’s time to make sure that you have an IT team working for you that knows how to incorporate SaaS benefits into your business practices. We’ve collected an overview to get you started.

A cloud computing primer

Before diving into SaaS in-depth, the basics of cloud computing must be discussed. A simple way to describe cloud computing is a solution for storing and accessing data and programs via the internet rather than relying on a computer’s hard drive or other on-site storage system.

Cloud computing does not rely on a computer’s hard drive. Instead of relying on a device’s local storage to access software, tools and applications, it relies on an internet connection. This can make the computing process much quicker and much more accessible for other devices that also are relying on the same cloud-based solutions.

Perhaps the biggest advantages of cloud computing is that as long as there is an internet connection, users can accomplish tasks from anywhere at any time.

What is SaaS?

So, what is SaaS?

The best way to describe software-as-a-service, of SaaS, is a software licensing model. Through this model, people get access to the SaaS tool. If the service operates as a paid model, as many SaaS tools incorporate, then the customer is normally charged a regular subscription rather than a one-time charge that would be more common with an application download.

With more and more companies moving business operations to the cloud, SaaS software and applications are only becoming more popular. The SaaS market is expected to exceed $112.8 billion by this year.

Advantages of SaaS

SaaS tools are accessed via an internet connection through a web browser or other application. This means that there is no need to have every user install a piece of software onto their devices in order for a business to adopt SaaS solutions.

This creates for incredibly flexible solutions that are just as powerful, if not more so thanks to their connectivity. Even if a user is off-site, they can still access a SaaS tool. In today’s mobile, global business environment, the benefits of that flexibility are apparent.

Another advantage of SaaS is that these solutions do not require as much investment in hardware. The application lives on the service-provider’s hardware, not the business that is paying for the service.

There are also advantages when it comes to updates and troubleshooting. Both processes are much more manageable because the SaaS provider understands that having these processes streamlined and painless is key to their own business model’s success.

Common examples of SaaS applications

Examples of SaaS applications are everywhere - no matter the business or industry. Google, for example, offers many SaaS tools, including Gmail, Google Drive and more for enterprise clients.

Microsoft has also gotten aboard the SaaS business model as it frequently promotes its Microsoft Office online products much more than its downloadable, offline versions. The same can be said for Adobe and its Creative Suite products.

Those are all examples of SaaS tools. Others include Salesforce, Mailchimp, Slack, Dropbox and so many more.

SaaS differs from IaaS and PaaS

SaaS is just one of the three prominent cloud computing services that are offered either to consumers or to businesses, sometimes both. The other two types of services are infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) and platform-as-a-service (PaaS).

IaaS focuses on the infrastructure needed to store data online. An IaaS solution typically involves a third-party providers who have the hardware - operating systems, servers, storage systems and more - and they provide that to customers, in most cases, via the internet.

Access to these IT services can be very valuable for businesses, especially if they need to scale up the services they require in a short amount of time. These services are valuable for digital businesses, such as digital marketing, e-commerce and also SaaS providers, too.

PaaS solutions allow clients to develop, run and manage business applications without having to build an infrastructure to support the application in the first place. That infrastructure would include servers and other hardware. This helps customers who have applications they want to develop and operate do so without having to make those investments needed for a platform.

Common examples are API development and management, communications applications and databases, among others.

Custom SaaS solutions for your business

Though many large software providers offer their own SaaS solutions, most often on a subscription basis, some businesses may find more value from a custom Saas solution. Now that so many businesses find their operations and management headed more and more online, software-as-a-service has become a valuable advantage of cloud computing.

Businesses are also beginning to see the undeniable value from having a custom SaaS built to fit their unique needs. Developers create software online that allows business users to login from anywhere that has an internet connection and conduct that tasks needed to get their jobs done.

Advanced Network Professionals offers custom SaaS solutions built with your business’s needs in mind. With our partners, our developers are able to build SaaS platforms with a single universal management environment. That allows one system to control website content, user management, account management and platform behavior.

Learn more about custom SaaS solutions and other cloud based services we are able to offer to give businesses the advantages they need to succeed.

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