Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) is a cloud computing offering in which companies and individuals rent software for usage instead of purchasing the software outright and the software is delivered over the internet and used from inside the cloud
Old-Fashioned Software Sell
In the beginning days of the internet, the software was sold on Compact Disc(CD) and had to be physically couriered to you from the supplier. The physical CD was henceforth your property. Either you or your IT department would use the CD to actually install the software on your own device.
Over The Internet But Still Old-Fashioned
With the dawn of 3G and faster internet speeds big file download became feasible so most software providers moved to deliver the same CD content over the internet in the form of an image that you would then burn onto your blank CD. Then either you or your IT department would still install the software on your own device. This over the internet approach was certainly faster but it was still the very same old-fashioned way of selling and receiving software.
Software Updates And Upgrades
In the courier-based or internet-download based software receiving process, updates and upgrades to the software were processed in the exact same way as the initial purchase of the software. And often you had to purchase the upgraded software as it was now a newer & higher version than the one you were currently using. At the end of the upgrade, you had two CDs of the same software.
Software updates were often paid for or initially free for a period of time
The hybrid process still involved downloading the software, either as an image or an installable executable, and still install it on your device. The software would be usable immediately however certain features and functionalities would require that you purchase a subscription license in order to access them. The subscription license would either be a once-off fee or a recurring fee payable at agreed intervals.
As long as you keep on paying the subscription fee you will have access to the software and then when you stop paying the subscription fee you also lose access to certain features and functionalities.
SaaS offerings have completely eliminated the problems of old-fashioned software delivery,usage and upgrading. With SaaS, you have the following major benefits over old-fashioned software:
- Software available immediately and can be accessed via a browser
- Updates And Upgrades are handled by the supplier and its the supplier's responsibility to keep the software up-to-date
- Processing and storage of documents and other software outputs are stored in the cloud too for easy retrieval at a different machine
- Scalable as your employees increase
- No system lag as the software is hosted in high performance servers
Major SaaS Exmaples: