The year 2020 has introduced new and unusual realities all over the world. The global COVID-19 pandemic and the consequent quarantine and self-isolation have meant that millions of us work remotely these days. As a result, we are relying on technology and various software solutions more than ever to get things done. A new study by Business Facilities shows that “Business VPN usage skyrocketed in Canada, Austria, and the Netherlands, growing by over 200%.” And another study by Clockwise shows a 29% increase in team sync up meetings. Work-related meetings, seminars, and conferences are now conducted via digital channels, and even the proverbial “water cooler chat” is now done over messaging apps.
Thanks to this newly increased reliance on digital collaboration tools, software as a service (SaaS) has seen steady growth in 2020. In fact, according to SaaSMag, “Since cloud services are integral to many global businesses, the growth of the cloud-services market is likely to grow 20% in 2020 alone.” Since cloud-based SaaS technologies have been proving effective instruments for business, let’s take a look at some key questions about SaaS.
What is SaaS?
Software as a service is type of cloud-based software solution that is accessible from any device that is connected to Internet. Using SaaS means companies can minimize their spending on acquisition and maintenance of computer equipment onto which desktop software would be installed. SaaS developers are responsible for making sure that the system is stable and up to date, and the cost of renting a SaaS solution includes licenses and technical support.
Is SaaS Suitable for All Kinds of Business?
Traditionally, SaaS solutions have been considered most suitable for small to medium businesses in a variety of industries, from advertising to travel to digital agencies. However, trends are changing, and more big businesses and corporations are opting for SaaS solutions to minimize cost and maximize functionality.
When Did SaaS Start?
“Computing may someday be organized as a public utility just as the telephone system is a public utility,” Professor John McCarthy said at MIT’s centennial celebration in 1961 (quoted in MIT Technology Review). Professor McCarthy was the author of the term “artificial intelligence,” and his theories presaged what we would later come to know as software-as-a-service. By the end of the 1990s and beginning of the 2000s, we could observe how companies like Salesforce and others were implementing his ideas. In the beginning, SaaS services were not very popular; however, over the last five to seven years, this model has been spreading rapidly in the business community.
Can a Company Customize a SaaS Solution to Suit its Needs?
Businesses using off-the-shelf SaaS solutions will need to adapt their workflows to the capacity of the software they select, though there may be some opportunities for configuration. With custom software, on the other hand, this is not the case. Custom SaaS software can be built around the processes and needs of each unique business.
Who Owns the Information Stored in a SaaS Solution?
A lot of service level agreements (SLAs) with developers of SaaS products state that the ordering client is the owner of data. Moreover, a lot of providers allow users to export and reserve information at any time.
Is Data Safe?
A lot of SaaS developers undergo audits to ensure their data storage and usage practices meet security standards. Should your industry require adherence to specific standards or regulations, you should always ask potential vendors if their software is compliant. If you are working with a developer to build a SaaS solution from scratch, you may include those regulatory requirements in the software design.
What if Internet Connection Is Disrupted?
Dependency on Internet connection is perhaps the main disadvantage of SaaS solutions, and a lost connection may mean delayed work or out-of-sync data. However, some providers have already implemented offline functions, which enable users to work even without Internet access, then sync the that data automatically once the connection is restored.
Pros and Cons of SaaS
In short, the pros of SaaS solutions significantly outweigh the cons for many business use cases.
- 24/7 availability
- Ability to work from any device, even mobile
- Significant savings compared to desktop solutions
- Automatic updates
- High level of security
- Support included in price
- Without Internet connection, work might be disrupted
For smaller businesses, as well as for many big corporations, SaaS is an ideal way of saving money without compromising on functionality.