Software as a Service: An Overview of Cloud Computing, SaaS, and Other Infrastructures

Software as a Service, also known as SaaS, is a term you may have already heard of as a business owner, marketer, or professional. It’s easy to think it’s just another buzzword or tech trend. But since it is slowly taking over the tech landscape and forever changing how services are delivered to consumers, it is important to understand what exactly SaaS is and what SaaS vendors can offer.

Software as a service is a method of delivering software services wherein the applications are remotely hosted by a SaaS provider and made available over a network. Unlike on-premise software, you don’t have to purchase the application. Instead, SaaS vendors allow you to rent the software.

Most SaaS products follow a usage-based system where customers pay a certain subscription fee. Vendors usually offer monthly and yearly subscriptions. The SaaS model is becoming more and more popular due to the significant advantages that it offers especially for those who are trying to grow a business.

If you are just beginning to learn about the concept of SaaS software, you’ve come to the right place. Here we will be discussing software as a service and other types of cloud computing.

Understanding the SaaS Model: What is Software as a Service?

With a SaaS model, a SaaS provider is able to deliver applications over the internet. It’s not like your traditional software services that require you to install software or manage hardware in order to make them work. Whenever you want to use the service SaaS, you can simply access it through the internet.

Also known as Web-based software or on-demand software, SaaS applications are run on the SaaS vendor’s servers. They are in charge of managing the application and making sure customer data is secure. The subscription fee is for keeping the service up and running, making sure the customer experience is optimal, and for improving the software over time. Their priority is software performance, availability, and data security.

There are a wide range of business applications that can be made into a SaaS application. In fact, most of them probably are already in some form of software as a service. From customer relationship management to enterprise resource planning, most enterprise software are now available in the form of SaaS.

SaaS has plenty of unique characteristics that set it apart from traditional software, which also provide significant advantages. For example, SaaS uses a multitenant architecture. This means all applications and users share a single infrastructure and code base that is maintained by the SaaS provider. This allows vendors to innovate and develop the application faster. They don’t have to keep updating outdated code.

The customer experience is the same for everyone. If there are known problems in the application, these problems are resolved quickly since all users are bound to encounter them. SaaS providers are made aware of the problems right away.

Speaking of which, users don’t have to worry about updating or maintaining the software on their own. That’s what usually happens when you have the software installed into your own devices. Not to mention you have to install the software on all of your devices before you can even use it.

With SaaS, there is no such problem. There is no need to go through a tedious installation process. You don’t need a tech or IT specialist on board to fix software issues. All of these are done remotely by the service provider.

Now, just because there is only one core infrastructure doesn’t mean you are going to have the same experience as every other user out there. One of the best things about software as a service is that it is highly customizable.

You can customize the application to fit your business processes and help you achieve your current goals. SaaS vendors allow businesses to customize their applications without affecting the common infrastructure. Additionally, with the subscription model, you only have to pay for what you use. You do not have to buy the entire application if you are only going to use certain parts of it.

Because it is highly customizable, this also means that SaaS is scalable. It can adapt and give your business what it needs as it grows. SaaS providers can make upgrades often, further improving your existing business processes.

Another critical characteristic of SaaS is that it is accessible via the internet, which means you can access all of your data as long as you have an internet connection. You can use any networked device, even a mobile device, to see all the data you need.

SaaS is a part of cloud computing, which we will discuss later on. There are many other types of cloud computing such as infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), desktop as a service (DaaS), managed software as a service (MSaaS), mobile backend as a service (MBaaS), data center as a service (DCaaS), integration platform as a service (iPaaS), and information technology management as a service (ITMaaS). 

What is Cloud Computing?

When IT resources are delivered on-demand through the internet, this is referred to as cloud computing. Cloud services such as SaaS have a pay-as-you-go pricing system wherein you only have to pay for what you use. This is a lot different from traditional software wherein you have to buy, own, and maintain the entire thing yourself.

Another key difference is that on premise software requires you to have physical data centers and servers of your own.

Cloud computing lets you access technology and services such as storage, database management, and computing power on an as-needed basis. Data is stored in the “cloud”, which refers to virtual space on the internet. The cloud stores digital resources, including your data, which you can then access any time using an internet connection.

Most organizations are beginning to realize the potential of cloud computing, and are learning ways to integrate it into their business processes. The cloud can be used for so many things like data backup, email, virtual desktops, disaster recovery, software testing, data analytics, and even customer-facing web apps.

Cloud computing lets you access software instantly, which gives you a lot of flexibility in terms of how you operate your business. This means you can also deploy technology services in just a matter of minutes. You can get more things done than ever before. You also don’t have to waste time and resources trying to update or upgrade your existing software. This is done by software vendors themselves who are constantly trying to up their game and improve their services.

SaaS systems are popping up left and right, fulfilling every kind of software demand that customers currently have. Businesses who don’t adapt to these changes may get left behind by the competition. Transforming your business means exploring new ideas and finding new ways to improve the systems you have established.

Cloud computing is the evolution of traditional applications. In fact, there are now many different types of cloud computing available—it’s not just SaaS anymore.

Infrastructure as a Service

Infrastructure as a Service or IaaS provides access to networking features, data storage space, and computers, both virtual and on dedicated hardware. We can say that it provides the building blocks for cloud IT. If you need to manage IT resources, IaaS gives you plenty of flexibility and control.

Information Technology Management as a Service

Similarly, ITMaaS or information technology management as a service, is all about the management of IT resources. ITMaaS arranges the IT resources based on the organization’s current needs and priorities. While it centers on managing software and data, it also manages tangible resources like computers, people, and networking hardware.

With ITMaaS, the goal is to generate value using technology in order to align with business strategies.

Platform as a Service

PaaS or Platform as a Service allows users to focus on the deployment and management of their applications. It eliminates the need to manage any underlying infrastructure such as operating systems and hardware.

PaaS helps organizations with software maintenance, resource management, patching, and capacity planning. Anything related to running your application can be managed using PaaS.

Desktop as a Service

Desktop as a Service (DaaS) is a unique cloud computing offering wherein service providers deliver virtual desktops to users over the internet. These desktops are licensed with a per-user subscription.

With DaaS, the provider handles all backend management for small businesses. This appeals mainly to small businesses because oftentimes, building your own virtual desktop infrastructure is too complicated and too expensive. The software vendor will provide data storage, maintenance, updates, and back-up.

DaaS providers typcially offer two types of desktops: persistent and non-persistent. As the name implies, a persistent desktop will save the desktop to look the same way every time the user logs on. This is more expensive since it requires more storage, but is highly customizable.

On the other hand, a non-persistent desktop is wiped each time the user logs out. These desktops are only used to access cloud services.

Managed Software as a Service

Managed Software as a Service or MSaaS is like an improved version of your regular SaaS applications. This is an even more customizable service that provides a perfect solution that suits your business completely by changing the core infrastructure and offering custom-build features. MSaaS offers more support, more customization, and even more training for users.

With MSaaS, the apps are individually tailored to specific accounts. It acts as the bridge between on premise software and SaaS, since MSaaS customers own a license to the software but the services are still accessible through the internet. The subscription fee is for continued tech support as well as software upgrades.

Mobile Backend as a Service

Mobile Backend as a Service or MBaaS is another type of cloud computing that gives mobile apps access to storage, servers, databases, and other important resources that they need in order to function.

It uses APIs or unified application programming interfaces to connect mobile apps to backend resources in the cloud. This is also known as BaaS or backend as a service.

MBaaS can also be used to provide common features like location services, social networking integration, and push notifications.

Integration Platform as a Service

Integration Platform as a Service or iPaaS is a suite of cloud services that enable cloud-based processes and on premise services to connect and flow seamlessly into one another.

An iPaaS standardizes the way apps are integrated into an organization. This type of cloud computing makes it easier to automate business processes. Ultimately, it helps organizations use the cloud more efficiently by sharing data across applications whether it is on premise or online.

What are the Benefits of SaaS?

SaaS may seem like a simple concept: you can access these apps through the internet–but the benefits are still quite significant. The cost savings alone are worth looking into. Using cloud computing can help you avoid fixed expenses from on premises software. It lets you spend your budget based on the services you actually need, rather than paying for the whole application and never using certain features.

The as-needed subscription-based format is convenient for a lot of growing businesses. The variable expenses are also much lower than what you would have to pay to do it yourself.

In addition to being more affordable, SaaS is also just more convenient to use. There is no need to install, update, repair, or maintain anything. All of that hard work falls upon the shoulders of the software vendor.

SaaS increases efficiency and cost effectiveness, allowing you to grow your business at a much better pace. With SaaS, you also enjoy low setup and infrastructure costs, making it one of the best investments for your organization.

On top of all that, you can access software and all the necessary data wherever you are. As long as you have an internet connection, you’re good to go.


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