Software

What Is Software as a Service (SaaS)?

With the growth of the Internet and the proliferation of cloud computing, Software as a Service (Saas) is quickly being adopted by companies around the world. Service-based options are becoming cost-effective and more accessible alternatives to traditional software packages. Originally, Software as a Service was envisioned as a companion to on-premise applications. More and more, SaaS is replacing traditional software applications and packages as stand-alone applications.

About Software As A Service

Also known as on-demand software, Software as a Service or SaaS is a software delivery model where applications and related date are hosted using cloud technology. As a result, SaaS helps reduce costs and makes deployment almost instantaneous. This type of software is generally available over the Internet using a web browser. Rather than purchase a physical software package to install on a personal computer, clients access the software online. Applications run on a service provider's server and the provider itself manages the application.

Examples include office, messaging, management, development and computer-aided design (CAD) software. Popular applications also include file sharing tools, as well as music and video applications. Notable examples of SaaS applications include Microsoft Office 365 (www.office.microsoft.com) and Apple's iTunes and iCloud applications (www.apple.com).

The Benefits of Software as a Service

One of the main benefits of SaaS is the lack of hardware or software required to purchase and install individual applications. In addition, users do not have to worry about maintaining or updating their software since this is remotely managed by the software or application provider. As a result, upgrades and integration with existing operating systems are seamless. The only requirement to access the SaaS applications is an Internet connection. Without the need for specific IT infrastructure, SaaS applications are much more accessible. They can be used on virtually any type of device and from any location using an Internet connection. Adoption rates for SaaS are higher than traditional software packages because of easier access and availability. The lack of IT infrastructure as well as up-front licensing fees and ongoing management or maintenance requirements associated with traditional software packages also means costs of SaaS applications are lower. Most SaaS applications are subscription based, which provides users and business clients with lower initial costs. Generally, SaaS applications with limited functions or scope are offered to users free of charge. Enhanced functions are typically provided at a fee, although certain SaaS applications provide full servcie application free of charge when employing alternative revenue models such as in-application advertising.

Developing Software as a Service Applications

A variety of service providers assist businesses with building Software as a Service applications. DThese providers, such as IBM (www.ibm.com/cloud-computing/ca/en/saas.html), Google Apps (www.google.com/enterprise/apps/business) and Document Options Limited (www.document-options.co.uk), work with business clients to identify individual requirements. Application developers work with clients to design, develop and deploy customised SaaS solutions, as well as hosting applications with advanced cloud computing environments. Applications can range from finance to human resources tools, archiving and records management applications, or social and customer service applications.

Robert Heath is a blogger whose hobbies include technology, science and gadgets. He enjoys promoting Brighton scanning services on facebook and twitter.

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