If you’re in the business world, chances are you’ve heard of SaaS, either on a highly involved level, or at least in passing. For those who are still confused as to exactly what SaaS is, let me explain.
SaaS, or software as a service, is any sort of centrally hosted software that is used by customers on a subscription basis. So any time you’re using a program that you don’t personally own, you are using software as a service. Services like Dropbox and Salesforce have become increasingly popular, on both an individual and commercial level, allowing those who use them to have access to the benefits the software provides without having to shell out a lot of money to own the software or worry about hosting space.
But businesses should be vigilant about choosing to subscribe to SaaS and do proper research. Here’s a few things to keep in mind:
- Although initial cost of SaaS will always be lower than purchasing the software, remember that a big part of why these software companies are so successful is because at the end of the day, they still make a profit. Companies like Adobe, for example, have completely switched over to an SaaS model and only offer their software on subscription basis. So while you’re not shelling out a lot of money up front, a monthly subscription could cost you hundreds of dollars a year, quickly adding up to and surpassing what it used to cost to own the software.
That’s not to say SaaS is never cost-effective. Using outsourced software can be a financially smart decision for a business, especially newer business who can’t afford the cost of software and need to cut down costs. But try and look at the big picture as well. Especially if you’re a more stable company that has been in the game for a while, think long term and see if it’ll be worth it in a few years.
- One of the best things about SaaS is that it will save you time. The company whose software you’re using takes care of maintenance, management, and upgrades. All that’s usually require of you is to login to the system. SaaS is also usually created with the average user in mind, so functions and usage is less complicated than other software.
Again, think of it from the other side too. If you’re in company that has a strong and capable IT department, or you’re a user that is comfortable navigating software, these benefits may not be as useful to you.
- Space is another reason why SaaS is so attractive to businesses. As we digitize our workspaces, our desks may be getting clearer, but our computers and hard drives are reaching capacity. Software takes up a lot of digital space, something that is often precious for a business. Data storage has become cheaper as of now, but it’s definitely something you should look into before deciding on whether you want to own all the software you’re using.