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What Is “Software As A Service” (SaaS)?

Software as a Service (SaaS) is a process by which software applications are delivered over the Internet. Software users do not have to buy software and install it – all they have to do is subscribe to the SaaS and access the software by using the Internet. They don’t have to worry about software upgrades, hardware configuration and maintenance because these are the SaaS provider’s responsibility. SaaS is also referred to as on-demand software or cloud software.

Here’s an example that will help you understand the concept better – Let’s suppose you want to use fax software but are unsure what to buy. You also are unsure about how to install and set it up, and whether your hardware configuration can handle it. So, you subscribe to an Internet fax service by paying a few dollars every month. You won’t have to install anything. The online fax software will work on the provider’s servers and all you have to do is login to send and receive faxes using an intuitive interface. This is what SaaS is all about.

Characteristics of SaaS

  1. Architecture That Accommodates Many Tenants. SaaS is hosted on a single infrastructure (on a cloud) that can be accessed by many users. Its code base is centrally maintained and all its vendors share the same infrastructure and code base. This allows vendors to work together and keep improving one piece of code instead of working on or maintaining separate versions that may be outdated.
  2. It Is Easily Customizable. Every SaaS user can customize the software to suit his unique needs. Such customization does not alter the common code base because it is unique to the user. This minimizes the risk factor and allows the SaaS provider to innovate and upgrade faster and at an affordable price.
  3. Easier And Flexible Access. The user can access the application from any device (laptop, smartphone, ebook reader, tablet, etc.). This allows him to be productive while on the go.

Advantages of SaaS

  1. The user does not have to buy the software. He also does not have to worry about the installation and maintenance.
  2. The SaaS provider has to ensure that the subscriber gets uninterrupted access to the application.
  3. The SaaS provider also has to install firewalls, anti-virus tools, and ensure that the application helps subscribers fulfill their relevant goals. The provider also has to keep upgrading the software to the latest version.
  4. All that the user needs is an Internet connection to login and start using the software.
  5. SaaS is like a plug-n-play model that saves the user a whole lot of time, money and headaches.

Summing Up SaaS

SaaS is here to stay and grow. Business owners, individuals and corporate are taking advantage of SaaS’s ease, flexibility and affordability, and are quickly adapting to its intuitive point-type-and-click usage. Many software developers have started releasing cloud versions of their product as well. There’s no doubt that SaaS has set off a new wave in software adoption. But, will it kill the own-and-install software ownership model? That is something time will tell.

About the Author: Raised in River Grove, IL, Carl A. Stanley has been a network engineer for more than a decade and recommends for effective online communication services.

Aira manages article publishing for

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