Software as a Service (SaaS)

Software as a Service definition

Software as a Service is an increasingly popular software delivery model. SaaS companies host their software on the cloud, rather than distributing software packages for installation on computers or local systems.

The SaaS model

The SaaS model has seen a significant increase in popularity in recent years. Many of the most well known business tools operate on the SaaS model, thanks to the variety of benefits it offers. It now plays a key role in enterprise-level software solutions in all sorts of industries.  The defining features of the SaaS model are:

  • Cloud-based software infrastructure
  • Remote access via web browser
  • Payment via monthly subscription

Software as a Service is one of the three core cloud computing models, alongside ‘platform as a service’ and ‘infrastructure as a service’.  The SaaS model features a multi-tenant architecture and the software application and data are hosted on servers in the cloud. 

Benefits of the SaaS model:

Compared to the old model of licensing, distributing and accessing software for use on-site, SaaS offers numerous improvements in convenience, performance, scalability, and more. These improvements are especially noticeable in the business environment, where software requirements are higher.

Accessibility

Instead of having to install a software application on a local system, SaaS allows businesses and employees to access the software via a web browser or other frontend interface. Theoretically, this means that you can use the software anywhere, any time. All that's required is an internet connection on a compatible device. This makes the software more responsive, and much easier to use across multiple endpoints or locations. It’s also usually significantly less expensive in terms of hardware and maintenance costs.

Customizability

Another big benefit of SaaS is the ability to quickly and easily test different software configurations. SaaS platforms support greater customizability because they're hosted, updated and accessed through the cloud. This means they can be tuned to meet individual customer needs. It also means they can be integrated with other third party SaaS platforms. This gives users access to other software that can provide additional functionality and features.

Scalability

Cloud-based infrastructure also makes SaaS platforms more scalable. With everything in the cloud, rather than local systems, SaaS platforms are able to respond more quickly to increased demand. This increased demand may be additional user accounts, more customer traffic, higher storage capacity, etc. All these changes are made remotely, without affecting the performance of the platform for the customer and end user. Software updates can simply be rolled out whenever the SaaS provider/developer wants. The same cannot be said of traditional software delivery models, which have many more constraints and limitations.

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