An emerging trend in the field of keeping tabs on the data of the company is Software-as-a-service. Also commonly known as cloud-based software it is rapidly being adopted by everyone from multinational corporations to local enterprises.
Any kind of business in the current scenario focuses on cloud-based software for any kind of deployment.
Business applications that are based on a web browser are far more cost-effective and flexible than normal ones. Not only are you relieved of the stress of keeping up with strict contracts but also exempted from dealing with unintelligible installations.
It is easy to use and a lot easier to track and maintain. Most of all you pay for the overtime instead of paying money for the entire thing at once.
However, there are still a lot more unanswered questions related to SaaS. Many business executives sometimes face difficulty in understanding how it all works and how it can be beneficial to the company.
Here is a list of all those questions with all the satisfactory answers you need related to SaaS so that you can easily figure out what works best for your company.
What is SaaS?
SaaS is also known as Software as a Service is a method of delivering software to anyone who has a stable internet connection with a web browser. This means that data can be accessed by the people you want from any device.
Companies who provide this service host and maintain the servers and all those things that support this web-based model like databases and codes that constitute the application.
The cloud-based model is more popular and in-demand as 60% of software seekers are in search of a web-based model for ease of use. On the other hand, a mere 2% look for the traditional on-premise software.
When choosing SaaS as your software option you will be entitled to a lot more benefits in contrast to the age-old model of software acquisition. One main difference between the two is that while deploying the SaaS doesn’t demand extensive hardware, the on-premise software delivery service is not only expensive but takes up a lot of resources as well.
The SaaS model lets buyers outsource a major part of the IT responsibility. This makes the task of troubleshooting problems and maintaining the software in-house a lot easier.
Another key difference between the two lies in the way you need to pay for them. If you wish to acquire on-premise software, you will need to purchase it with a perpetual license which is usually required to be paid upfront.
You also have to pay a 20% maintenance and support fee for software delivery. On the other hand, when you make use of SaaS, you pay what lies within the subscription model. This encompasses the software license support and other such charges. This amount can either be paid monthly or annually.
SaaS versus on-premise: How do I choose?
Both SaaS and on-premise software delivery services are relevant in their own field. It depends entirely upon the service you need and the market industry you belong to. Some of the questions that might help you figure out which option would work best for you include:
- To what extent do you need to customize your software?
- What niche does your business cater to and how extensive is it?
- Is the software/product provided to you enough for the company to function smoothly?
- How much are you willing to spend on software acquisition?
If you are looking to work on a low budget, SaaS is a great option for you. Small companies can easily benefit from it by dividing the entire cost of ownership of the software over a long period of time.
This way you can save a lot on software while leveraging the advantage of the most robust and modern technology. It not only promises you flexibility and functionality in work but also gives you the same kind of environment as an on-premise installation with the only difference being that it is cloud-based.
If you are worried about data ownership, you need not give it a second thought. Your software vendor automatically places the entire right and ownership of the data in the end user’s hand. However, you are still advised to review the contracts of your provider to understand the safety of your data.
All said and cleared, you can easily make a shift from the traditional ERP Deployment to cloud-based data solutions. While many enterprises find it difficult to do so, this new technology is going to be the first choice in the coming years for software deployment. Hence you might want to prefer it in comparison to the others.
What is the history of SaaS?
SaaS or cloud computing basically was the start of the shared resource of computing power. As it was made available to the public, the concept of cloud computing took birth. John McCarthy who is famous for his award-winning work on Artificial Intelligence, once said to the students of MIT in his 1961 speech that “computation may someday be organized as a public utility.”
Therefore, although the concept had been laid down decades ago, the actual implications of it began taking form a couple of decades ago. SaaS is supported by web-based technology.
This was made foolproof in the late 1990s. As a result, several companies like Salesforce took advantage of this completely new technology to create cloud software. This was later offered as a traditional enterprise solution. These were sold through SaaS in the form of customer relationship management (CRM).
SaaS didn’t gain as much popularity initially as it has started gaining recently. Many businesses are turning towards it to employ it in their daily software use. In fact, cloud software solutions are the fastest growing technology solution currently. It has even left behind other technology segments like Infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) or Platform-as-a-service (PaaS).
Can I customize SaaS software?
The answer to whether you can customize your SaaS or not is “yes”. The technology allows you to customize it not only for a specific business purpose but also for individual use as well. While buying the SaaS model, you can easily ask the developer to tweak certain features according to your liking.
For example, you can direct them to change the user interface (UI) so that it exudes the vibe you wish your customers to experience. To enhance it more according to your brand status you can even modify certain fields in the program like data fields that decide what data is going to appear on the screen. You can even turn off and on several business features as you please.
Individuals can style the interface to maintain ease of usage. The program is completely like your personal workspace that can be easily be customized to reflect your work style. You can choose to hide options or information or display them at your will.
Asana is a cloud-based system that allows users to change their dashboard according to what suits them as they decide whether to view all assigned tasks at once or not.
Although on-premise software, similar to the cloud-based technology can be customized according to your needs, the latter offers you a flexible and time-saving option for the work to be done with respect to the former. That is why an average business always prefers SaaS over any other technology solution.
Who owns my SaaS data?
Almost all software vendors entitle you to the right to ownership of your data. You will find it easily in the company’s contract or service level agreements (SLA) while signing the deal.
Make sure to look for it and see if the points are clear. Everything related to your business on the cloud-based system belongs to you and you alone. You do not just have the right to the data on the company’s server but also can choose to retrieve it as and when you require.
In case the business gets shut down by the vendor, you shall still have access to your data and there is a guarantee that no one else can claim rights to it. This is also mentioned in most SaaS contracts under the built-in or prepaid contingency criteria.
SaaS providers also provide the facility to export your data in order to back it up locally if you choose to do so. This comes as a given since no software vendor retains the ownership of the data and cannot force or insist you to continue using their service.
In case you notice a suspicious line in the clause that might indicate otherwise, it is advisable not to sign the contract. The SLA that is provided to you before you acquire the services is an important document that deserves a scrutinized look by professionals and stakeholders before you decide to transfer all the crucial data of your company to the software vendor. Hence, one cannot suggest enough to properly read the terms and conditions of the SLA before committing to any deal with the said party.
Along with that, the software vendor is also responsible to guarantee your company’s proper support, update and security during times of need. As soon as you face a problem worthy of an expert’s attention make sure to notify the vendor about it as soon as possible.
They will not only provide you guarantee for the service but also indulge in taking care of the uptime and how your valuable clients or customers can deal with poor service.
Is my data safe in the cloud?
Software providers understand how crucial your data is and how vital the information is to your company’s standing.
Therefore such vendors go to take great measures to ensure the safety of your data. You will find that the best SaaS providers deploy the safest public cloud services to store your software instances or valuable information.
Gartner has predicted that through 2022, almost 95% of cloud security failures will be a result of the customer’s lack of attention.
It is visibly clear that companies who invest less in maintaining the IT infrastructure of the data network are at a greater risk of exposing their data.
In-house data is, therefore, safer where it can be accidentally leaked by employees or cyberattacks that could function through overlooked security gaps.
People are still debating whether the cloud system provides for a safe-enough environment for ERP systems.
But we all know that among all software segments available in the market, this one is probably the least worrisome.
Significant security failures could be a result of weak passwords that are a common occurrence in the workforce.
In order to emphasize the topic of maintaining a strong security password, you must understand that big research and surveys have attributed data loss and hacking issues to this very cause.
Therefore it is high time that businesses invest or acquire someone to look after employee assessment and maintain the workplace password security.
In fact, it doesn’t matter where in the world you are, you need to pay special attention to the security system of your data if you wish to keep it untouched.
SaaS vendors do exactly the same. They enforce strict data security on their servers in an attempt to keep them safe from all kinds of threats.
They invest in backup and maintenance of everything way more than a normal business would want to shell out times and resources for. And, that is why you should trust SaaS to keep your data completely secure.
What if my vendor goes out of business?
Until now there must have been several SaaS providers who must have gone out of business. Keep in mind that this incident does not affect your data in any way. Software vendors could discontinue business for several reasons like a business failure or industry consolidation. However, they make sure that no harm comes to your data and that it is returned safely to your local backup.
Even if they go out of service, your data continues to remain protected. They usually prepay the data center hosting company to keep the services going until every last bit of data is transferred or backed up successfully. Therefore even if something happens to the vendor, you can easily access your data without any restrictions.
However, if you are really keen on choosing a business vendor that is going to provide you uninterrupted service for a very long time, you might want to research the mentioned few things about them:
- When was the company established?
- How good are they dealing with customers and what is their growth rate?
- What is their ultimate technology roadmap?
Apart from that, an important thing to note, if such a case were to happen is to look for a clause in the SLA that states clearly that you can export your data from the SaaS provider at any given time.
It should also mention the frequency of you being able to access your data and in what manner. The SLA should also constitute a statement that the vendor is responsible to help you migrate the data from their server to your system at an appropriate fee.
What are the internet and operating system (OS) limitations?
If you are choosing a SaaS platform as the basic functioning system for your company, it is extremely important that you reside in an area of good internet connectivity. Unless your company is based in a remote location, you can easily benefit from the services that SaaS vendors have to provide.
Many businesses must not forget that every system experiences some kind of downtime sometimes.
Although it might not be reliable ight still believe that an on-premise software vendor is more reliable considering the occasional fluctuations in internet connectivity. However, won the internet, it could experience failures like electricity outages, hardware failures, along with certain other risks.
A solution to the dependency on internet connectivity introduced by certain vendors is the “offline” functionality of the platform. It allows businesses to continue with their work even if the network goes down. The data is later on synced with the cloud platform once normal connectivity is restored.
Another thing that companies worry about is the compatibility of the platform with different operating systems. This is a completely baseless worry since most software is delivered via web browsers and hence works irrespective of the OS. The only thing that you might have to worry about is owning a competent web browser that works smoothly with your system.
SaaS versus cloud: What’s the big difference?
When you look at a cloud, you witness a much larger platform of complex infrastructure technology. If one can explain it in an easy language, they might call it a collection of basic computing entities like computers, databases, servers, etc that are linked together in such a manner that anyone who uses it can gain access to the combined power of this entire system.
Now, it depends upon what and how much power you lease. Buyers usually lease it based on the computing power required to work with their data. You can even dynamically increase or decrease the power based on your requirements.
Anything that stays on a remote server and is hosted on a different device with a stable internet connection is called a cloud. All cloud platforms run on the underlying software. On the other hand, SaaS is specifically a business software application that vendors deliver to companies via the cloud.
Since the cloud is widely accessible, no matter where you are, it becomes fairly easy to work with your data while it constantly gets backed up making it a faster way to deal with all the work.
Moreover, it is less expensive than the traditional on-premise software development for both the vendor and the buyer. As time has progressed, you can find all kinds of business functions from human resources to enterprise resource planning present on SaaS.
What is a private cloud?
A private cloud does the job of storing all the infrastructure technology that a business owns on the premises. Just like the private cloud, users are able to interact with the program with the same efficiency and functionality with the help of a web browser. The only difference to this is the fact that the computing power is now only accessible to the employees of the company rather than the general public.
The public model that has become extremely popular in the market, the private model demands more maintenance and upkeep from the owners. Therefore before establishing a private cloud for your company make sure that you are ready to invest in the infrastructure that will be necessary for both maintaining and developing the cloud environment.
If you are a large enterprise looking to keep your data away from the public eye, you might consider going for this option. Keep in mind that you should expect returns from this kind of investment only if you are planning to work on an extremely complex and large-scale project.
What is a private cloud?
Do you think that your business is ready to acquire cloud-based software?
If yes, consult your team members who understand this technology well, along with the stakeholders where you can discuss important topics before taking a step ahead.
It will help you determine what kind of service works best for you according to the specific needs of your industry.
Take a look at whether there is a proper maintenance team for the software and will the construction system be able to maintain the centralized data?
If you are still unsure, contact the advisors of the SaaS provider who can guide you step by step through the entire process while also helping you decide the best SaaS that works for your company.