If an employee opens Office 365 from their laptop on a business trip, they are accessing a SaaS application. Instead of being on their desktop computer at the office using Office 365, the employee had the same level of access remotely through a cloud-based platform. Gmail, Slack, Dropbox, Microsoft Teams, and OneDrive are all examples of Software as a Service applications that an authenticated user can access anytime, from anywhere with internet connection. In 2020 and 2021, SaaS became especially critical to keeping businesses up and running during the COVID-19 pandemic by allowing more employees the ability to continue working during stay-at-home-orders and quarantine by providing companies with the tools to allow their staff to work from home. Learn how SaaS is different than IaaS and PaaS, and the key benefits to successful Software as a Service adoption.
Differences between IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS
To understand Software as a Service (SaaS), we need to briefly look at Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS). Most businesses have a mix of IaaS, SaaS, and PaaS cloud-based applications. It’s important to know how these applications are similar and work together in day-to-day business, and how they differ.
Platform as a Service is made up of developer tools, operating systems, networks, firewalls, data centers, servers, and storage. PaaS is primarily for application developers focused on coding with the main goal of keeping their servers up to date. They aren’t as focused on the underlying infrastructure, like IaaS, or the end user experience, like SaaS.
Infrastructure as a Service is comprised of networks, firewalls, data centers, servers, and storage. IaaS are virtual machines running in the cloud and are utilized by software developers, and system administrators. As a software developer, you may be limited in the Platform as a Service world, so you use an IaaS system, or as a system administrator, you want a stand-alone virtual system across the cloud.
If your head is spinning with these acronyms, not to worry! What makes Software as a Service both incredible and powerful for businesses of all sizes is that it’s made up by IaaS and PaaS systems. Let us illustrate and explain:
– Data Centers
– Developer Tools
– Operating Systems
— Data Centers
– Hosted Applications
— Developer Tools
— Operating Systems
— Data Centers
As you can see, Software as a Service is an all-encompassing, cloud-based application, and platform category that describes numerous tools that keep today’s businesses running effectively and safely. Hosted applications are focused on the end user experience and are typically sold on an on-demand, as needed basis.
Businesses today use an average of 80 IT-sanctioned SaaS apps, and companies that use them claim they can bring new capabilities to market about 20-40% faster due to their successful adoption of cloud platforms. Remember, it isn’t a question of if a business is utilizing SaaS, PaaS, or IaaS platforms, it’s whether they are using them in an effective and safe way for their business. Let’s dive into the benefits of successful Software as a Service adoption strategy.
Benefits of SaaS adoption
Gone are the days of inserting a disc to install software on a computer and entering a serial number from the pamphlet in the box. Many people use Software as Service without even realizing it. Email and storage are among the top cloud-based applications users connect to and utilize throughout the internet.
If you’ve ever been sent a document to complete via DocuSign, you have used a SaaS application. Even Netflix is a SaaS company that sells subscriptions to users to stream television shows and movies. When someone signs up for Netflix, their unique data is stored in the SaaS provider’s data center. Remember earlier? A data center is an example of an IaaS platform. Let’s discuss why it’s in a businesses best interest to successfully adopt a SaaS system.
SaaS is scalable, secure, and accessible 24/7
Software as a Service is unlike traditional software because it allows access to authenticated users from anywhere at any time through cloud-based applications on the internet. The user will need their username, password, and a device. To add an additional layer of security, a second device such as a cell phone might be required for two-factor authentication.
SaaS platforms are often subscription based, making them available as soon as the business is ready to sign up. Start-ups and businesses who are making a transition to a new service can take advantage of this feature, plus get up and running in a matter of minutes with just a few clicks. Businesses won’t miss a beat or a deadline with Software as a Service. There are also free trials to make sure the platform is right for the company before committing. Due to the free trial, users will have an opportunity to get familiar with the platform making the already user-friendly service an easy transition when the trial ends.
While companies can take advantage of cost-savings with annual payments, monthly payments are also available with most SaaS services. This is a great option for small businesses who have smaller budgets or start-ups looking to spread fees throughout the year. Subscriptions are usually based on user seats instead of a set number of seats allowing businesses to only pay for what they need.
If a business is working with an IT company to manage their SaaS platforms or other cloud services, they can often negotiate the best pricing because of their established relationship with the SaaS company and their familiarity with the brand. SaaS applications often require accompanying applications to guarantee security on employees’ cell phones and other remote devices. An IT company that knows exactly what SaaS applications your business needs is the key to not over-paying for hosting applications while still receiving the important benefits you need.
SaaS is sophisticated software without ANY internal development
While SaaS platforms like email and storage are great, many businesses require much more intricate software to manage their day-to-day job functions. Examples of these tasks can be anything from loan originations to writing digital work instructions for the construction industry. We have seen companies nearly bankrupt themselves trying to develop a software that molds exactly to the needs of their business.
SaaS spares businesses that excruciating and expensive process by giving the business a customizable solution that meets their needs that can be accessed from anywhere. Not every company is proficient in technology development, nor does every company have the resources or the time to develop a software on top of keeping their business running smoothly.
SaaS is for goal-oriented businesses
For businesses who want to keep the momentum going and not get bogged down with IT-related distractions, SaaS is the perfect low-maintenance solution to keep the focus where it should be, on the business. Companies and the people who run them should be problem solving on how to get more revenue, donors, or clients through the door, not on why an employee can’t work from home or download complicated software on their desktop computer.
Software as a Service is reliable, installment-free solutions where all users are always working from the latest and greatest version of the platform on the cloud. If an employee must stay home with a sick child, their work doesn’t have to come to a screeching halt, they can continue their day from home by accessing their programs on the cloud like they would from the office. For companies that want to focus on the vision and the future of the company, a successful SaaS adoption strategy is a must to keep priorities in check.
Power your business with Elemental Technology Cloud Services
As you can see, adopting a SaaS strategy for your business is much more than downloading a few cloud-based applications for your employees to utilize. These cloud-based platforms fit into a large strategy that play a huge role in your company’s future. Allow us to partner with you and ensure your Software as a Service strategy is both successful and safe. Learn about our Managed IT Services and Cloud Services here.
Technology, like a business, evolves by the day. Companies of all sizes rely on IT functions like PaaS, IaaS, and SaaS to keep their businesses functioning efficiently on the cloud. Reach out to us here with any questions about SaaS and how we can customize an affordable IT plan to tailored to fit your growing business.