Software-as-a-service (SaaS) has been around for quite some time, but it has recently come into its own as an enterprise-grade alternative to traditional software. Instead of paying for perpetual software licenses and expending their IT resources deploying those software licenses, an organization more seamlessly consumes the software application directly from the provider, usually via the Internet. SaaS can be an entire application or part of an application.
- Utility applications
- Ubiquitous line of business applications with no security concerns
- Ex. Sales Force.com, Office 365, Google Apps
The Software-as-a-Service provider owns the perpetual infrastructure and software delivery (refresh, repair, etc.) This allows you to pay only for the service that you are consuming in most cases. Some SaaS providers establish their licensing based on maximum potential use, which obligates the customer to pay for their peak usage. For some businesses the shift of IT spend from capital expenditure to operating expense enables new cash flow and liquidity opportunities that can materially impact the success of the business.
Elasticity: Elasticity is a hallmark of Software-as-a-Service, just as with IaaS and PaaS. However, while capacity may be elastic for most SaaS solutions, the pay-per-use model may not be. Some publishers will make you pay for X, and you don't get to scale back on X if usage drops. It all depends on the agreement between your organization and the provider.
Management: SaaS offloads a significant amount of traditional work from internal resources to provider resources—even more so than hybrid clouds. This resource savings potentially can be reapplied to focus your IT organization on strategic business needs.
Mobility: Most Software-as-a-Service providers offer mobile application integration as part of their overall offering. The ability to deliver a mobile application experience has proven to be a high value accelerant for moving applications to SaaS providers.
Control: Some publishers give you total control over their software, while others are highly restrictive. SaaS is no different, but with the added element that delivery of the application is handled by the publisher.
Security: SaaS has a neutral security posture when compared with security and regulatory concerns a customer may have with IaaS and PaaS. With potentially sensitive information passing through the hands of a third party, and with the highly fluid nature of multi-tenant environments, it can be difficult to know exactly where and how well secured your data is at all times. It may also be challenging for your organization to verify information security compliance.
Resilience: Most SaaS providers today offer highly advanced redundancy with uptime guarantees. Many variations of service resilience are available, so a thorough inspection will be necessary before committing to a financial agreement.
Flexibility: SaaS offers some flexibility, but only within the parameters established by the publisher.
Our Cloud team can help you discern, design, and deliver the best cloud solutions for your business. For more information, click here or contact an Account Executive at 1-800-369-1047.