SaaS stands for Software as a Service, and it refers to any cloud-based service where applications (e.g. Google Apps, Facebook, Salesforce, etc.) are hosted off-site and delivered over the internet. SaaS applications are sometimes referred to as web-based software, on-demand software, or hosted software.
Today, modern businesses use SaaS to help with a broad range of tasks including accounting, invoicing, controlling stock, internal and customer communications, scheduling engineers, tracking jobs, and managing contracts. Becoming an integral part of most small to medium businesses, if you want to make larger scale improvements via SaaS, it is worth considering an integrated service manager solution rather than trying to cobble different applications together.
How much does SaaS cost?
With SaaS, the service provider charges you a subscription (usually monthly or yearly) to use the application. The price you pay often depends on the size of your business and the number of users. With everything you need accessed with an internet connection and web browser – and no need to install and maintain the software you need to run your business – SaaS is a compelling option for SMEs.
What are the benefits of SaaS?
- Lower costs
SaaS is implemented at a fraction of the price of an on premise solution, with no large-scale investment in licenses or infrastructure required. Once up and running, SaaS helps to create a more stable cashflow, with services provided on a pay-as-you-go pricing model; so you never get any nasty surprises.
Likewise, SaaS offers reduced cost of ownership as you no longer have to fork out to upgrade your IT infrastructure. What’s more, any new software releases are likely to be cheaper than those purchased via the traditional model which forces you to buy and install upgrade packages.
- East to get up and running
With SaaS, you don’t have to worry about designing and developing the right solution. Instead, you can tap into a tried and tested system that is ready to use and often customisable to your business.
- Automatic upgrades
SaaS providers automatically and continuously improve their solution at no extra cost to you; helping you to remain current, agile, and competitive.
- Free valuable resource
With upgrades made automatically, you are free from the burden of installing and maintaining complex hardware and software. And there is no need to maintain or support legacy versions. Even better, with the vendor looking after the software on your behalf, you can reduce the size of your technical staff or prioritise them elsewhere.
SaaS also comes with inbuilt customer service support, reducing internal IT helpdesk calls; so the burden of firefighting is eased – freeing your IT department to get on with tasks that drive business improvement.
SaaS offers flexible subscription pricing models. So you only ever pay for what you use. As your business grows (or shrinks), your SaaS solution can be quickly and easily scaled up or down.
- Better access to information
As you don’t host the software yourself, SaaS reduces the risk to your business with automated backup services and best-in-class recovery processes. Making sure your data is robust, safe, and secure.
SaaS also provides improved access to data from any networked device; ensuring all your staff have real-time access to the information and tools they need; anytime, anywhere. And, with cross-device compatibility, SaaS applications can be used on a range of different devices including tablets, PCs, and smartphones.
- Improved business processes
With SaaS, all users and applications share a centrally maintained common infrastructure. This encourages the simplification and standardisation of business processes, saving you time and money.
SaaS also aids cooperation; helping people in different teams and locations to work collaboratively with one another. What’s more, with SaaS you don’t have to worry about creating time-consuming reports. Instead the system can be set up to generate these for you automatically.
- Easy customisation
Today SaaS systems can often be customised and white-labelled to suit the needs of your business and brand; all while retaining a familiar web-based interface.
Is SaaS safe?
Security concerns have often thwarted cloud adoption, with many businesses preferring to keep their business-critical software and hardware onsite. However, with robust cloud encryption now available, this approach is actually riskier than storing it with a SaaS service provider in a remote location.
Any reputable SaaS vendor will make security a key priority. It’s in their business interests to do so! As such, they will have a reliable, secure infrastructure in place that far outstrips what companies would build for themselves. Indeed, significant investment would be needed to make an onsite solution match the security and reliability of most SaaS applications.
Is your service business ready for SaaS?
While SaaS has the potential to deliver enormous benefits to most businesses, it makes sense to undertake due diligence before rolling out any new application(s).
So, before you start:
- Set out what you are trying to achieve and how integrating a new SaaS application will help you to do that
- Determine the complexity of your business. While SaaS is ideal for small to medium businesses, it might not be suitable for the more complex requirements of large enterprise organisations
- Find out if a free trial is available so you can test your preferred solution for yourself
- Establish whether any existing systems that you need to keep are compatible with the new application
- Identify what (if any) customisations have to be made
- Ascertain any security concerns that need to be addressed
- Ensure you have a suitable internet connection (a standard connectivity speed is adequate for using most SaaS applications)
- Anticipate and prepare training as required.
While it might sound daunting, it all comes down to understanding what your organisation needs. With the right preparation, moving to a SaaS solution is a painless process, and your provider should be able to help you to roll out across your business with ease.
SaaS and service-led businesses
Where employees need to be able to connect from anywhere – not just the office – web-based solutions are not just desirable, they are business critical. As such, service-led industries, in particular, can use SaaS to improve mobile workforce productivity.
For example, at Service Geeni, our software makes managing sales, preventative maintenance, and hire and repair contracts easy. With end-to-end integration throughout all your processes, this popular service management system supports engineers, eliminates duplication, and provides service-led businesses with improved visibility.
If you want to increase performance and customer satisfaction by switching to a Service Management Solution, for a free trial with no upfront costs, speak to a member of our team on 01942 261 671 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.