Thanks to Cloud technology, the way in which businesses offer their software solutions has changed profoundly over the last few years. The Software as a Service (SaaS) business model, a method of managing and delivering software remotely through a service provider, has gained huge momentum – largely due to the many benefits it offers businesses and consumers alike.
With this system, customers regularly pay a subscription fee to access products and services, rather than paying a flat fee. Prices set out tend to be all-inclusive, including customer support, updates, upgrades, maintenance and automatic back-ups. With the program already installed and configured, all that is needed is an internet connection and log in, allowing users to be up and running in no time, with minimal training required; this is made especially easy for those with no prior programming knowledge.
For businesses, the SaaS pricing model is beneficial, as it provides a regular source of income for a set amount of time. This is more sustainable than having clients pay a flat-fee for a service, without the possibility of future payments, unless they upgrade or completely change the product. This system provides businesses with more value on a long-term basis, as ongoing revenue can assist with financial planning, in order to obtain more accurate estimates of income. SaaS is particularly valuable for small businesses who are afforded the opportunity to access high-quality and sometimes expensive software, which they would not otherwise be able to.
Customers can enormously benefit from SaaS, as there is no need for a huge up-front financial commitment from buying, building and maintaining IT infrastructure and paying for licensing fees. In addition, there is a reduced cost of ownership, and a considerably reduced risk of purchasing something that is unsuitable for a business. Users need only pay in small increments, rather than paying large sums of money, and the flexibility permitted with SaaS means there are no long term contracts to sign, and plans can be changed according to the consumers’ needs.
The major benefit of SaaS applications, is that developers can support multiple customers with one version of the product. Given it is cloud based, SaaS is available for use on any device, at any moment in time, so users do not have to pay to download multiple versions of the same program on different devices.
The software as a service business model has huge potential to transform the way in which software developers sell their products and services, and has numerous advantages over locally installed software. Not only is it an affordable, flexible software solution, but it has the demonstrated ability to improve business capabilities, and even out the playing field between small businesses and large, multi-national corporations which have the capital to invest in top-end software.