SaaS (which stands for Software-as-a-Service) is one of the fastest growing aspects of cloud-computing. So much so, that it has naturally gained a lot of attention in our now tech-obsessed age.
As is common with popular products and services, there can always be misunderstandings, while some may only use these products or services in order to be ‘on-trend’. This article will highlight a few of the assumptions I have heard people make about SaaS and attempt to correct these misconceptions and elaborate the most accepted answer.
Is SaaS a trending hype that’s soon to fade?
My answer would definitely be no. But I guess some people wouldn’t agree with me, especially the skeptical ones. So let’s just illustrate it by comparing it to the following situation:
How long have we all used ‘web-based’ e-mail solutions like Gmail, or Yahoo mail, or Hotmail (aka MSN, or now Outlook.com)? Probably more than 15 years for some of us. I do agree that those aren’t services that were conceived with SaaS in mind, but they do act exactly as one: e-mail features served through the Internet rather than pulled directly from the customer’s own servers. And like more modern services such as hosted Exchange services for businesses, you can access your emails anywhere you have an internet connection.
But even if we go beyond email services, there’s a lot of other IT services that companies have now sourced through SaaS: let’s take the example of Customer Relationship Management (and almost all Enterprise Resource Planning features)- albeit the Sales force takes the biggest part of the market, there’s a lot of competition within this segment.
Now let’s look even closer – look at your own website; chances are that the technical parts are managed by a hosting provider on a combination of cloud-computing services.
My point is that SaaS has been hanging around for almost a decade now, and it’s getting a bigger adoption as much more solutions are developed for almost any customer’s need.
Isn’t SaaS more costly – in the long run?
Well, this one depends on what costs you consider when comparing it. If you only consider the cost of renting the space vs. having your own servers, then SaaS would probably cost more in the long run. However, that’s not how things operate. Weigh in the cost of infrastructure as well as the cost for human resources to make everything work and run smoothly as well as the expertise needed for developing such high-level features and you’ll soon discover that a customer would be much better off to easily access SaaS features like Email Exchange hosting, without risking these high costs in the long run – after all, on a SaaS scheme, the customer can cancel the subscription anytime – shop around and you will see that most services require no upfront costs.
What about the security issues?
This is the biggie – the one that everyone looses sleep over. My answer? Well, what IT system doesn’t? The most common complaint people have against cloud-based solutions surrounds the security of their data (or IT system) since SaaS solutions would mean that part of the system would not physically be on their premises. My stand here is simple: every IT system has security issues, which is why there are updates and people who specialise in security.
Now the question is: how much time and effort does your company currently put into keeping everything secure? The likeliness is that you don’t allocate as much time and resource as a cloud-based service provider who’ll find their business bankrupt should any security issue have a major impact on it’s base of, potentially, thousands of customers. And the best part is, you, as a customer, only pay a small amount into contributing to those expert’s salaries.