In today’s business world, any internet-based storage system, service platform, or program is powered by cloud computing. A key subset of cloud computing is Software as a Service (SaaS), the ability to access software online instead of through a physical hard drive.
Because of its efficiencies and benefits, leading businesses and companies that want to scale should be taking advantage of cloud computing.
“There are so many facets that have developed in cloud computing over the past few years, and SaaS is one of the key ways businesses can grow because of technology,” says Maurice Hamilton, CEO of IT firm Infinavate, Inc. “If you’re looking to become more agile and innovated, the switch from in-house servers to cloud computing is table stakes.”
Let’s dive deeper into SaaS and see how it can support your business’s innovation roadmap.
How Software as a Service Relates to Cloud Computing
Cloud computing is the shift from physical, on-location servers to programs, services, and platforms hosted remotely and accessed via the internet. Software as a Service is a type of cloud computing program, where software is no longer housed on in-house hardware (servers or individual computers).
How Does Software as a Service Work?
In the past, software users would download and run programs from their personal computers or corporate servers. SaaS programs require the user to pay a subscription, or license, to use online software.
Instead of users “owning” a copy of software, they “rent” access much like other online services (cable TV, media streaming) or offline services (utilities, memberships). Some SaaS platforms require long-term contracts, while others can be month-to-month.
What are the Advantages of Software as a Service?
Physical software used to work in releases or versions, sometimes several years apart, to roll out updates or new features. Bundles of disks would be used to install programs onto personal computers or enterprise hardware. In some cases, those disks would need to be physically present within the hardware in order to run.
Because they are hosted and accessed online, SaaS programs can update their programs as regularly as required, to fix bugs or unveil new features and innovations. Without the need to install software onto a computer directly, IT staff can be freed up to support companies in more important ways.
“For SaaS, I really would say savings are two fold,” says Hamilton. “Hundreds of thousands of dollars can be saved. We are also seeing a huge amount of time savings. Team members can take care of customers on the same day instead of waiting 24 hours to respond. That’s just a more efficient way to manage your business.”
Along with more efficient use of IT resources, SaaS can contribute significant cost savings. Companies no longer need physical space for servers or continued support for software. Most SaaS platforms include support, training, and other customer service as part of their subscription. And licenses added instantly as needed and flexed from user to user with little interruption in everyday workflows.
Examples of SaaS Platforms in B2B and B2C
From productivity, sales tracking, project management, video conferencing, and marketing, almost any service or tool can be made into an SaaS platform. Some of software’s biggest names, like Microsoft Office and Adobe Creative Suite, were previously purchased as physical disks (even up until a few years ago). Now, they are examples of the major shift to online services. Both have moved to SaaS models and can be accessed across devices with little physical storage required.
Leading SaaS Providers:
- Salesforce is a contact-tracking tool that can be accessed through cloud computing
- Asana and other project management platform that gives multiple users the ability to collaborate
- Zoom is a remotely-accessible platform with internet-browser, desktop, and mobile applications
Other SaaS Use-Cases:
- Personal or business email platforms
- Data reporting, storage, or auditing
- Files and document sharing
- Internal communication, video conferencing, and chat tools
- Scheduling, project, and collaboration apps
- Sales or contact CRMs
- Automated communication and marketing programs
- Website and ecommerce systems
- Financial and human resource tools
How Can SaaS Be Used in The Energy Industry?
In the energy market, smart adapters and meters could make a big impact on how data is collected and analyzed. With all that information, it is important to be able to funnel it into reporting for proper decision making.
“Selecting the right SaaS vendor can initiate quick decision making and issue response,” says Hamilton. “Thanks to SaaS, it’s not necessary to invest large amounts of capital upfront in hardware or have an oversupply of unnecessary capacity. You can adopt a variable expense instead of a fixed capital expense. You will only pay for tech as you need it.”
How Can SaaS Be Used in The Transportation Industry?
We’ve seen great transformations happen in the transportation industry due to the application of SaaS. Through the platform creation on Citrix, our client was able to use all the tools and collaborate on the system so the purchasing department could work with the logistics department and sales department. It actually made the transportation organization much more efficient because of the shared software and data.
How SaaS Can Be Leveraged in Any Industry
The potential impact on business in any industry comes back to cost savings, higher employee production, and higher customer satisfaction. Every industry can respond to the market faster and secure their data better because the data is being held at a higher level.
No matter location, size, or industry, cloud computing such as SaaS frees you to manage infrastructures and data centers so you can focus on what matters most to your business. Schedule a discovery call with Infinavate today to discuss how you can save more money on enhancing your cloud computing options.