Using a SaaS Solution to Grow Your Business3 Sep, 2013 By: Eric Stavola, Witt Company
As we venture more and more into these changing economic times, I see a constant need for businesses to do more with less. Over the years, I have seen companies turn to their technology infrastructure to help drive their core initiatives. Yet, today with the ever growing popularity of “Cloud” Computing, it’s not only just the technology at issue, but how a company leverages, implements, and uses a basic overall strategy with technology that becomes the key differentiator.
One aspect of this thinking is the decision for a company to actually utilize SaaS to help grow their business. In this article, I will discuss the What, Why and How of SaaS to help bring a better understanding of the ever-growing Cloud.
What is SaaS?
The acronym SaaS stands for Software as a Service. SaaS can be described as a software distribution model in which software and or applications are hosted by a service provider, vendor, or dealer. Vendors make their software or applications available to the consumer via the Internet on a monthly or yearly based subscription. The Dealer/Service provider then provides technical, maintenance, and operation support for the software.
Some examples of SaaS:
•Go to Meetings - is a web-hosted service created and marketed by the Online Services division of Citrix Systems. It is an online meeting, desktop sharing, and video conferencing software that enables the user to meet with other computer users, customers, clients or colleagues via the Internet in real time.
•SalesForce – is a global cloud computing company headquartered in San Francisco, California. Though best known for its customer relationship management (CRM) product, Salesforce has also expanded into the "social enterprise arena" through acquisitions
•Constant Contact - is an online marketing company offering email marketing, social media marketing, online survey, event marketing, digital storefronts, and local deals tools, primarily to small businesses, nonprofit organizations, and membership associations.
In today’s competitive market, we all need to do more with less, while technology can help us accomplish this, how we purchase and leverage it can make a huge difference to the bottom line. The primary benefit of Software as a Service is reduced cost for everyone involved. With Software as a service the software is hosted remotely, thus their does not need to be a large upfront investment in additional hardware. In addition, Software as a Service removes the need for companies and organizations to handle the installation, set-up, and daily upkeep and maintenance.
Other key benefits of SaaS:
• Implementation time from start up to use is very fast
• No lengthy and long term contracts
• No Hardware required in most cases
• Daily backups and proactive monitoring for Disaster Recovery
• Automatic software upgrades
• 24/7 monitoring
Concerns of SaaS:
The main concern of Software as a Service is that there must be a high level of trust placed onto the SaaS provider. By going with a SaaS solution, customers place all their documentation and productivity in the vendors’ hands. Security and protection of the file privacy becomes even more necessary, as the Internet is now part of the business network.
How can a business use SaaS:
Software as a Service can and is used in various aspects for any business. The model provides flexibility and mobility for companies looking to expand or leverage the benefits of SaaS such as:
•Email. One of the most critical applications in any business is Email. By outsourcing your email you can take advantage of more stability and less maintenance for IT by letting Google (Google Apps for Business) or Microsoft (Office 365) take over your email needs.
•Information storage. By doing this, you will no longer have to worry about the cost of purchasing and maintaining servers that house the software on their own or the high price of backup software.
•CRM. Customer relationship management software provides a company the ability to store customer information on a secure server online.
In all the above cases, the decision for companies to go to the “Cloud” via a SaaS distribution model will save thousands of dollars and countless IT man hours for any business. All for a simple inexpensive monthly fee for service.
The key is, with Software as a Service it eliminates the high upfront cost for businesses because there is no need to purchase any Software or Hardware. IT Man hours are drastically reduced by eliminating the need to maintain servers or backups on a daily basis; instead tech problems are solved with a call or email to the SaaS provider’s help desk.
In conclusion it’s easy to see why, more and more companies are taking their IT needs to the Cloud. With its flexibility and scalability it’s easy to see how Software as a Service is dramatically changing the software licensing model.
Eric Stavola, MS.CIS, M.ED, MCSE, MCSA, N+, CDIA+ is Chief Operating Officer for WITT Company. Visit http://www.witt-company.com for information on Office Products and Services.