SaaS, or Software as a Service, has been increasing in usage and popularity recently. It has been around for a while and has changed over the past 15 years. Let's take a look at where it is and where its current path.
First of all: what is SaaS? It is a way that businesses and other interested groups use software that is hosted by its vendor, and that software is delivered to clients through a web browser on the Internet. That same software or piece of code can be used by many users, regardless of where they are situated geographically, because it is hosted in a central location by the vendor. Sometimes, SaaS has been called remotely hosted or on-demand, and earlier on, the software was provided by an ASP (Application Service Provider).
Back in the later 1990s, businesses started using ASP for some of its software needs. However, ASP usage started fizzling out due to its one-to-one architecture, which meant that only businesses with a certain structure could use it, and that same architecture made it difficult for the software to be as flexible as businesses needed it to be.
Based on the needs of potential clients, the original ASP slowly developed into SaaS. Vendors adapted the current technology model to handle a one-to-many architecture, and this, along with other advancements, started making SaaS faster and more flexible. With these changes, those who thought SaaS would also fizzle were wrong – SaaS started to gain a hold in the market, but mostly for small and mid-sized companies.
In the 2000s, as SaaS started to grow, vendors started providing more offerings. But with advancements and flexibility come issues. Clients started to have fears about security – was their data secure, were their networks safe from hacking?
Once again, SaaS providers responded. Not only did they implement greater security mechanisms, but SaaS was commonly used as an anti-virus and anti-spam solution itself. Currently, SaaS has become more customizable and with availability 24/7. It is a great benefit to all because it has no infrastructure costs, no human capital, and it is less risky because less maintenance is needed. Because it is more scalable, it still is well suited for smaller and mid-sized companies.
So what does all of this mean for the technological future of SaaS? Firstly, there are signs that it is becoming more popular: it is continually being updated to be more customizable and available as needed. Additionally, it is verging It is also trying to become more platform independent.
SaaS is also being implemented as part of a cloud computing model, which means no more software to download and install, no hard drive issues as the work is distributed across a set of virtual machines, greater use and efficiency of existing resources, reduced costs, better internal and external service, and reduced maintenance costs. With these benefits, SaaS could gain a greater foothold and possibly expand into non-US markets and possibly being embraced by larger organizations too.
Still, as with all businesses, the need for greater security to alleviate concrete fears is ever-present, particularly when your organization is not in physical control of its data.
Is SaaS a business model that is right for your company? If you need more information, contact a reputable IT company like iCorps. They can assess your current business model to determine if SaaS is a solution that fits with your current business structure and future strategies.