Top 7 Advantages and Disadvantages of Software as a Service Technology
Maybe you’ve been hearing a lot about software-as-a-service, or SaaS, and you’re wondering what the benefits of using it are. Or, perhaps you’re still wondering what SaaS is and how it could be useful for your business. Is it as complicated as it sounds, and do the benefits outweigh the drawbacks?
Software-as-a-service applications are easy and convenient to use. SaaS allows you to run various applications without the cost of purchasing software outright, saving both time and money. Other benefits of SaaS include the ability to access apps from any internet-enabled device, access scalable cloud environments, and upgrade easily as needed.
If you want to learn more about SaaS applications, keep reading. We’ll take a closer look at the definition, benefits, drawbacks, and common examples of SaaS as we go through this article.
What is Software as a Service?
Software-as-a-service can refer to any type of rent- or subscription-based software application. Rather than spending unnecessary amounts of time and money buying a software program and installing it on your computer, you pay for an application to install, run, and update the software for you.
Essentially, SaaS works like a library or movie-rental service. You “rent” the necessary application, only pay for what you use and on a pay-as-you-go basis.
Have you ever used email service, such as Outlook or Yahoo! Mail? If so, then you’ve used a specific type of SaaS application. These email services are free, but they work the same as any paid-for SaaS application. You log into your account through the internet, and once logged in, you can access emails and messages stored on the service’s network.
Many businesses will use SaaS applications ranging from simple services, such as calendar software, to more complex applications such as:
- Document management
- Enterprise resource planning
- Customer relationship management
Regardless of the type of SaaS application you use, they all work in the same basic way. They are accessed through the internet, often through web browsers. Any information stored through the application is kept on the service provider’s network.
What are the Benefits of Software as a Service?
Now that you know a little bit about what SaaS is, you may still be wondering what it can do for you or your business. Can it make your life easier?
As we already mentioned, SaaS applications can save you money and time, are scalable, easy to upgrade, and easy to use. Let’s take a closer look at each one of these benefits.
SaaS Saves Money
SaaS can save you money in several different ways. For one thing, the cost of a subscription for any SaaS application is almost always less than what it would cost to purchase a comparable software program. Also, you only pay for the SaaS features you need, which helps you avoid unnecessary costs on programs you won’t use.
Also, one subscription can be accessed from any internet-enabled device. This means you only have to purchase one subscription even if your employees will be using the application from many different devices.
SaaS Saves Time
SaaS applications can also save you time and hassle because they don’t require any complicated software or hardware installation. They are simple to use, and most don’t have much of a learning curve, saving you time trying to learn how to use the application.
SaaS Has Scalability
In the world of SaaS, scalability means the ability to work efficiently over many platforms and performance needs. Scalable applications can be customized depending on the processes you need them to perform. For example, most SaaS applications can be scaled either up or down, depending on how much you use it or how many users you have.
It Allows Convenient Upgrades
Any upgrades to the SaaS application are included in the subscription cost and handled by the provider. This saves you time and money and saves you many headaches since you don’t have to worry about buying updated versions of the software and upgrading yourself. The service provider handles the entire hassle.
SaaS Is Designed to Be Easy to Use
Upgrades are all handled by the provider. You don’t have to worry about maintenance, which is fantastic for business owners and IT specialists because it frees up more time to spend focusing on other job areas.
Also, since employees can access work-related SaaS applications from any device, there’s no limit to when, how, or where they can get work done. As long as they can connect to the internet, they can easily use their phone, tablet, laptop, or desktop computer–all they have to do is log in.
Are There Any Drawbacks of Software as a Service?
So we’ve talked about the benefits of SaaS. Are there any drawbacks? Many people are hesitant to use SaaS applications because of potential security issues, limitations, and integration problems. Let’s take a closer look at each of these issues.
Security Concerns in SaaS Applications
The main security issues come down to how and where you or your company’s data is stored.
Traditional software programs store all your data locally, so you know where it is and are responsible for securing it yourself. With SaaS, your data will likely be stored offsite by the service provider. So if the provider experiences a security breach or has not thoroughly backed up your data, it may become compromised.
That said, many SaaS providers have harsh security measures in place and are safe to use. Be sure and do your research beforehand so you can weigh the benefits and risks against each other and make an informed choice as to whether to use a specific application.
Limitations of SaaS Applications
Most SaaS applications are incredibly reliable, but none of them can guarantee 100% uptime. From time to time, the system will experience outages or other problems. Suppose your business depends too heavily on SaaS applications. In that case, any blackout may cause many issues, no matter how quickly it’s resolved.
Another potential problem is that not all software applications include a SaaS option. SaaS is still growing and is not yet as popular as only purchasing similar software. Even those that offer SaaS may not have a full version of the software–the SaaS version may be weaker or run slower.
Before choosing a SaaS application, make sure you know what is being offered and ensure that it will do what you need it to do. If it is too limited for your needs, you may be better off purchasing the software instead.
What Are Some Popular Software as a Service Applications?
There are a lot of popular and highly functional SaaS providers and applications. Many of them have been around for years and provide services to millions of users worldwide. While not every service provider will provide every application, you need for your business. The following list of popular SaaS applications will give you an excellent place to start when trying to fill your SaaS needs:
- Microsoft Office 365
- Oracle Corporation
- Zoom Video Communications
We’ve talked about software-as-a-service applications and how they’re used, some of the top benefits and a few drawbacks of using them. SaaS applications are a convenient software tool for businesses and often for individual users, too.
Just make sure you understand what is and is not included with the application so you can choose the best application for you!