Five Benefits That Make SaaS a Popular Business Choice
More and more organizations today opt for software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions over traditional on-premise alternatives. According to Gartner, worldwide SaaS revenues are expected to hit $113.1 billion by 2021, an over 90% increase from this year alone. But does the popularity of this cloud service necessarily mean that it’s right for you and your business?
Before moving forward with a SaaS solution, take the time to understand if the reasons for its growing popularity align with your needs. In this article, we’ll help by discussing the difference between SaaS and on-premise solutions, as well as the following five SaaS benefits:
- On-demand access
- Enhanced security
- Zero IT strain
- Lower costs
Ready? Let’s dive in!
SaaS versus on-premise
SaaS is a software distribution model where a third-party provider hosts and delivers cloud-based applications to you over the internet. So, rather than purchasing the software and hosting it locally on your computers and servers, you essentially “rent” it. By subscribing to a SaaS solution, you gain access to the third-party service via your web browser or, if the provider has one, a native mobile app.
Alternatively, on-premise software (also known as hosted software) is a program that you install and run on local computers and servers, rather than hosting it remotely over the cloud. Since you “own” the software, you host, maintain, and manage it on your end. The software version you purchase is what you get — no automatic upgrades to more recent versions.
Five benefits of SaaS
- On-demand access
Since SaaS is cloud-based, all you need is an internet connection to access your software — no need to login via a VPN or be on the network at your office. This flexibility ensures that everyone from your globally dispersed teams to your road warriors, remote workers, and night owls have 24/7, on-demand access to your SaaS systems.
Many SaaS providers also offer single sign-on (SSO), a convenient feature that allows you to use one set of login credentials across a suite of applications or between mobile apps and desktop browsers. This isn’t only accommodating to the always-on workstyles of today; it’s more secure. SSO allows your organization to control password rules, such as character and length requirements. And, since your users only need to remember one password, you’ll have fewer password resets and users will be less likely to sacrifice password strength for memorability.
- Enhanced security
Beyond SSO, SaaS offerings are more secure because they are cloud-based. The cloud is an ecosystem of connected servers that encrypts your data and redundantly stores and synchronizes it across dispersed locations. So, should an earthquake, or other catastrophic event, impact one of your data centers, you can rest easy knowing that your data is backed up in another location, likely on the other side of the world. And, in the rare case that the entire network of cloud servers goes down, you’ll have an army of people working to get systems up and running again.
Most SaaS vendors also work with cloud-service providers, like Amazon Web Services (AWS), that take data compliance seriously. For example, before the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), an EU data privacy and protection law, surfaced, AWS was already working to meet requirements by giving its cloud users transparency and control over where they store their data.
- Zero IT strain
Since SaaS companies host the software on their end, they also handle all of the updates, maintenance, upgrades, and fixes that would otherwise fall on your internal IT team. Think about the time, money, and headaches saved. Rather than IT needing to release updates for new features or install and maintain applications across everyone’s computers, they can spend time on other value-adding activities.
Beyond this, SaaS allows you to scale quickly without dedicating more IT budget and resources to expand your server infrastructure, upgrade systems, or purchase expensive hardware. SaaS companies have support teams that specialize in their product, so you no longer have to have an in-house IT product expert — you can outsource this role to your SaaS provider!
- Lower costs
Many organizations choose SaaS because it’s more cost friendly. SaaS uses a one-to-many model, which means that providers can offer affordable pricing because their subscribers share the cost burden of their services. So, rather than paying for the servers, people, technology, and hardware to support and manage a software solution from your end, you join forces (and pocketbooks) with other organizations that subscribe to the service.
The cost of entry is also appealing. As discussed, you don’t need to invest in expensive hardware or provision internal IT resources to install the software. And, after you get going, you don’t need to worry about maintaining, fixing, or upgrading hardware and software. SaaS grows with you. You select a flexible plan that meets and scales to your needs. Think of Netflix, for example. You might start with a basic plan that offers streaming on one device and over time, as your family and needs evolve, upgrade to a package that includes more devices, better resolution, and mail delivery of a few Blu-rays each month.
Advancements in technology are moving at lightning speeds. From artificial intelligence (AI) to the Internet of Things (IoT), big data, and automation, it’s tough to keep up on emerging trends, much less apply them to your business. However, for many SaaS providers, their business is their product. Their livelihood and competitive advantage depend on their ability to enhance their product offering, which, in this day and age, goes hand in hand with the adoption and integration of cutting-edge solutions and innovations. So, by partnering with the right SaaS provider, you can tap into their resource investments. Take the world of digital asset management (DAM) for example. If you went with a hosted DAM solution, you might miss out on software updates that include AI capabilities that make it easier for your users to find what they need in the system. Or, since you likely don’t rely on one technology for all of your marketing efforts, you may struggle to connect your systems without the built-in integrations and partnerships that many SaaS providers offer.
Is on-premise dead?
Over the past decade, cloud computing has changed the way we work and view software. Popular cloud categories like SaaS solutions have made it more affordable for companies of all sizes — from the large enterprise corporations to the mom-and-pop shops of the world — to tap into innovation and services that were once out of reach. It’s fed and helped shape the way global and dispersed teams work, facilitating collaboration and making nine-to-five access to people and technologies a thing of the past. And, in a world where cyber attacks and data vulnerabilities are painstakingly real, cloud and SaaS providers continue to push the envelope with their adoption of security innovations and capabilities. So, given all that SaaS is capable of, is on-premise really a viable option in this day and age? It certainly is. However, you need the budget and infrastructure to support it.
Before moving forward with a solution — SaaS, on-premise, or even a hybrid of the two — you need to get a firm understanding of the internal needs and priorities of your organization. If you’re considering a DAM solution, check out our handy internal needs assessment template to get started. For all other software categories, evaluate your options, but don’t forget about the internal research as well!