This is an acronym for the term “software as a service”. It is a term used to describe an online service provision in which their providers host applications on their online server and their clients access them via a web browser. In this way, it reduces the task of installing softwares on client’s computer and also the task of upgrading softwares regularly. In plain terms, software as a service means the provision of services by a provider through an application that runs through the internet and different clients or simply, subscribers access features of the applications that run on their server i.e. SaaS customers have no hardware or software to buy, install, maintain, or update. Access to applications is easy: You just need an Internet connection. Saas can be seen as hosted applications. Some of them are free while some have both free services and premium services. Examples of free SAAS applications include; wordpress, drupal and other open source softwares hosted on the internet. SAAS providers are usually specialized, i.e. some services like data processing, event recording.
SaaS providers in general price applications using a payment fee, most commonly a monthly fee an annual fee or on any bases they decide to use. As a result, the initial setup cost for SaaS is usually lower than the counterpart enterprise software (i.e. softwares purchased and installed on computers). SaaS vendors typically charge their applications based on some usage parameters, such as the number of users using the application. Conversely, because in a SaaS environment customers’ data reside with the SaaS vendor, opportunities also exist to charge per operation, event, or other unit of value, such as the number of processes carried out.
In this model, a free service is made available with limited functionality or scope, and fees are charged for enhanced functionality or larger scope. Some other SaaS applications are completely free to users, with revenue being derived from alternate sources such as advertising.
Advantages of SAAS
Growth in technology has no doubt increased the demand of quality services by business organizations and individuals for their day to day activities. SAAS has so many advantages which has made life and business easier for people. Some of its advantages include:
–Easy access to a common business platform from anywhere:
Enhanced access to data from any networked device while making it easier to manage privileges, monitor data use, and ensure everyone sees the same information at the same time because it is accessed over the internet just with an internet browser.
— Reduced cost of business management:
as mentioned above, SAAS if employed in business processes, reduces some costs which includes; cost of purchase and maintenance of softwares. Also, for the reason that the software is hosted remotely, users don’t need to invest in additional hardware.
— Saved time for other purposes: Software as a Service removes the need for organizations to handle the installation, set up and often daily upkeep and maintenance of licensed softwares and corresponding hardware.
— Convenience in business: business employees can work from home anytime they, even on non-working days, at nights. Also, business owners can keep abreast with happenings in their business without actually going to the organization’s office from anywhere in the world.
— Protected data and vital information: data are safe and secured online. In case of theft or fire outbreak or any other hazard, vital information can be retrieved easily from the SAAS providers with ease.
Disadvantages of SAAS
In life, nothing is perfect. Every good thing has some disadvantages; SAAS is not an exception to this. SAAS no doubt has so many benefits that surpass its disadvantages but then, they are not to be done away with. Some disadvantages of SAAS include:
Integration with a business: integrating businesses with SAAS if not handled properly pose serious threat to business and can cause irreparable loss to the business.
Security issues: because these applications are hosted online, it is prone to cyber attacks by hackers and trained professionals. This is a major disadvantage of SAAS and has caused serious losses to businesses over the years.
Its complete dependence on the internet is a disadvantage in that, lack of internet connection or internet problems mean disruption of business. This is one of the points where licensed applications are better than them in that, they (licensed applications) can be worked on without internet connection. Although this can be taken care of, it is a disadvantage.