I have been exploring what is known as the Cloud Stack (or Service Models) in my recent posts. My first post on this subject was Infrastructure as a Service – IaaS: Cloud Computing. IaaS is the base layer, the foundation of all cloud based applications. My second post discussed the middle layer of Cloud Stack, i.e., PaaS (Platform as a Service):Cloud Computing Platform Introduction – PaaS. This post introduces the top layer of cloud computing, i.e., SaaS (Software as a Service). This is the layer directly consumed by customers).
What is SaaS or Software as a Service?
On-Premise applications are quite expensive, affordable only to big enterprises. Why? Because On-Premise applications have a very high upfront capital expenditure (CapEx); which results in a high total cost of ownership (TCO). On-Premise applications also require a higher number of skilled developers to maintain the application. In its current avatar SaaS is going to be the best bet for small and mid size businesses (SMEs/SMBs). Now, they can afford the best software solution for their businesses without investing anything at all on the infrastructure, development platform or skilled manpower. The sole requirement for SaaS is a computer with a browser, quite basic. SaaS is a recurring subscription based model delivered to the customer on demand – Pay as you use.
- No upfront expenses.
- You just need a web browser to access the application. No other hardware purchase or software installation is necessary.
- Quick deployment or it’s already deployed and ready to use. Forget those sleepless nights of traditional application deployment - remember what happens when there’s a go-live at the production server!
- Unlike the traditional apps, cloud architecture makes SaaS highly scalable.
- Multi-tenant architecture makes SaaS highly efficient as the source code is the same for every customer.
- Unlike traditional apps where customization is the key; a true SaaS can meet any requirement by simple configuration.
- Upgrades are applied directly at the SaaS provider’s end. No headache at the customer end.
- Since all the customers are using the same code base, any new tech-innovation is easily integrated by the provider, and is available for all the subscribers.
Who can use SaaS?
Apart for big enterprises who have multiple options, SaaS is a perfect solution for small and mid size businesses. Most SMBs/SMEs have little or no legacy software to carry forward. They can subscribe to a SaaS just like subscribing to electricity or phone, and pay the provider on a monthly basis determined by their usage.
Which industry segment is better served by SaaS?
It can serve almost any software need. Currently you can find many SaaS players in the following:
- CRM (Customer Relationship Management)
- Collaboration Applications
Human Resources (HR) can also make good use of SaaS. But there are a number of other segments that need affordable apps, and are not taking advantage of it. For example: If you are a developer, you’d gain an early mover advantage by developing a high quality low cost SaaS for schools.
Best SaaS Examples
- SalesForce CRM
- Google Apps
- Wipro w-SaaS
Related Cloud Computing Articles at Techno-Pulse