Well to start, let’s clarify what Software as a Service (SaaS) is. According to Gartner, it is “software owned, delivered and managed remotely by one or more providers. The provider delivers software based on on set of common code and data definitions that is consumed in a one-to-many model by all contracted customers at any time on a pay-for-use basis or as a subscription based on use metrics.”
That sounds a bit complicated, but in simpler terms, cloud software is offered to customers via the Internet on a pay-as-you-go basis. It’s extremely popular today, with most people using it daily without even realizing it. And this simple model leads to countless benefits for businesses and consumers alike. It’s so beneficial, in fact, that global SaaS software revenues are forecasted to reach $106 billion in 2016, and according to Cisco, by 2018, 59% of the total cloud workloads will be Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) workloads.
So what’s the big deal with cloud-based software? Here are seven benefits that make it awesome:
1. Anywhere, Any Time
When it comes to SaaS, the software is hosted in a cloud environment, meaning it’s accessible to users via the Internet. And with so many Internet-enabled devices today, users can easily access the software from wherever they’re connected, using the device of their choice.
For employees who are regularly on the go, this can make all the difference, and it can affect the outcome of a sale. It’s impressive to be able to access real-time data, order history and order capabilities on the go or right there, with the customer.
2. Time to Benefit
With cloud software, you’ll see the benefits quick. The software is already installed and configured for you, meaning an organization can have the new solution ready for use in a matter of minutes or hours, rather than weeks. This is thanks to less time spent on installation, as well as fewer potential issues in regards to deployment.
3. Lower Costs
Cloud software is offered using a pay-as-you-go model, which offers the benefit of predictable costs. Organizations are able to pay just for what they need and use, without spending on new hardware to support the service. In fact, as the software provider owns and manages the environment, and does most of the work to set it up, the only cost an organization really faces is the subscription.
The pay-as-you-go model leads to more accurate budgeting, because even as an organization scales, they’ll have a pretty clear idea of the costs they’ll face. Cloud-based software eliminates the costs of upgrades, management, maintenance and licensing, meaning costs are quite low compared to traditional software deployment. This truly evens the playing field, as small businesses are now able to use software that was previously unavailable due to high costs.
Cloud-based software is extremely scalable, allowing organizations to enjoy the services they need, easily. To scale up, businesses don’t need to invest in additional server capacity, licenses or hardware. Instead, they can simply adjust their subscription with the provider and continue working as usual.
With the traditional software model, upgrades are a pain. Often, organizations were forced to purchase a new package and reinstall it, or jump through multiple hoops to receive the upgrade. Now, it’s simple. Once the provider upgrades the software, it becomes immediately available to subscribers, and can be immediately implemented. This is a seamless and automatic operation that is simply part of the ongoing subscription.
Security is always top-of-mind when it comes to new business technology. While many still believe that security in the cloud is faulty, the truth is that providers most likely have higher levels of security than organizations can provide for themselves. Software providers offer redundancy in geographically diverse, secure data centers, as well as automatic data backups. And with data center hosting, organizations get the additional benefit of disaster recovery. As cloud software is their business and core competency, they know it best. Leave it to the provider to keep your software solution secure.
7. Proof of Concept
With traditional software, it’s not really possible to test the service before purchasing it. You get what you get, and it often results in money wasted. Cloud software, on the other hand, often allows users to test drive in advance. Many provide free trials, allowing for a painless discovery phase in which an organization can decide if the software is right for them. This is also a chance for the provider to prove its worth and the benefits of its service.
Learn more about RapidScale’s approach to software development on our CloudSoftware page here.