SaaS – History and a Look Ahead
Software as a Service (SaaS) is method for delivering software that provides remote access to software as a web-based service. SaaS allows businesses, usually smaller businesses, to acquire the rights to use particular software by paying a monthly fee rather than purchasing the software and whatever hardware might be required for the software to perform.
For example, many of us purchase word processing software that we install on our home computer. SaaS gives us access to the same functionality but via a web-based service for which we pay a monthly fee (typically considerably lower than purchasing the software) so that we can still use the word processor without installing it on our PC. For businesses, this means a wide range of software applications can be made available, as most software fits well with the SaaS model, at a reduced rate and in a way that is specified to the business owner’s needs.
History of SaaS
The idea of using software as a service first popped up in the late 1990s in order to allow for the sharing of end-user licences in a way that reduced cost and also shifted server demands from the company to the software provider. One of the earliest examples of SaaS was SiteEasy which provided small-businesses with the software to develop their own websites. SaaS provides software users with subscription pricing, hosted delivery, and outsourced technical experts which not only save on costs but represent a more efficient and effective method of utilizing new technologies. Moreover, SaaS can ensure that users have cost-effective access to updates.
Software changes and evolves all the time. The most widely used software programs are frequently being adapted and upgraded to improve functionality and usefulness. With SaaS, licenses often include technical support as well as access to upgrades. Before SaaS, investment in software meant that business owners had to accept the product as is and there was little opportunity to make the software more useful for specific purposes. On the other hand, SaaS allows users to upgrade their software more frequently so they are always using the most up-to-date technologies. As the internet has become a ubiquitous entity that is evolving to be faster and farther reaching, SaaS along with its reduced up-front costs and risks, is positioned to be the leading method of software licensing.
The Future of SaaS
Combined with lower start-up costs and a faster return on investment, SaaS is catching the eye of business owners looking to invest in new software technology. However, these two benefits are only part of the story and SaaS is likely to be a key component of business systems evolution. On-site software products worked faster in the past and this mean that SaaS couldn’t compete. But as the internet is becoming much faster and is available in more sites, SaaS becomes more feasible.
Smarter application design with SaaS in mind allows developers to minimize computational power required by the customer while taking advantage of large scale computational resources that would be difficult and expensive for clients to maintain. While SaaS was relevant to small business looking to save money in the past, future applications of SaaS will be attractive in all corporate environments. Also, SaaS allows for the integration of multiple products and the ability to link businesses across products, companies, and geographies.
Larger companies will see the benefit of a common hosted software solution as far as their ability to connect and collaborate in real time. The complexity and depth of SaaS continues to develop so that any company can utilize SaaS to deliver multiple solutions based on client demand. This means that future evolutions of SaaS will likely meet all your business needs.