Software as a Service commonly known as SaaS, presents small and medium-sized businesses and organizations with whole new frontier of opportunities. Saas usage has been on the rise and many more organizations are quickly adopting this new technology. You cannot afford to ignore SaaS adoption in your organization as it allows you to access some productivity tools that were previously inaccessible. With Saas solutions, your business can enjoy easier cooperation with teams, customers and partners thus shifting your focus to business instead of IT and enhancing marketing speed through directly set up solutions.
Benefits of SaaS
One of the main benefits of benefits of SaaS is that it can help your business drive down the total cost of ownership as you transit from on-premise software. There are many compelling benefits that SMBs can enjoy by embracing SaaS approach and that is why this move fits suitably well with this sector. When using SaaS, your software solution is with your vendor’s remote servers and not your own servers and can only be accessed through internet connection.
The vendor is therefore responsible for software configuration, maintenance, upgrades and support and your business will only espouse a “pay-as-you-go” pricing approach, where monthly fees are charged based on actual usage. Considering that the software is accessible through “rental” rather than ‘purchase”, SMBs can benefit from access to restrictively pricey enterprise-class technologies. This means that your business can save more while using the best technologies available.
Here You Can Use SaaS Within Your Business
Software as a Service has gained considerable ground in HR and CRM applications. However, the service is also picking momentum in other areas of business operations such as web conferencing, online backup, IT system management, and collaboration among other areas. It is however worth noting that SaaS approach is not suited for use in highly specialized applications such as the sensitive financial applications or others where voluminous business data transfer is involved such as business intelligence.
How to Evaluate SaaS Solutions Before Making a Decision
Choosing the right Software as a Service is very critical and requires an informed decision. Here is an all-inclusive checklist to help you in your decision making:
Test Drive Before You Buy
The most amazing thing about Software as a Service is that you are able to test-drive the solution with minimal commitment. It is possible to plug in and play your solution of choice using internet connection, something that is not possible when buying on-premise software, where only product demonstrations are available. Many Saas solution vendors will give a free trial for a month or more and you should take advantage of this.
Data Center Infrastructure
The solution hosting is very important and you should establish where the SaaS in question is hosted. Is it hosted at a third-party specialist or is it hosted in-house at the premises of the provider? If hosted by a third party, what are their credentials? What is certification have they passed (e.g. an industry standard SAS-70 Type II audit) and server configuration? Establish these facts and find a solution with the most suitable infrastructure.
Permissions & Password Protection
SaaS applications are accessible from anywhere including inside the company and outside by multiple staff members, customers, or partners, proper permissions levels will help determine who has the right to access what information stored within the system. There is need for robust permission and password protection systems which should include elements such as designation of administrative responsibility, log in history data showing who logged in and what data they accessed and any changes they might have made, assignable permissions at various levels and different levels of assignable permissions.
Achilles Heels of Software as a Service, as security is normally called will be important to consider. Are you guaranteed that your important business data will be secure in the hands of a third-party data center? Is your data exposed when stored online? The solution vendor must be able to detail their security protocols and infrastructure and be willing to share with you such information. Some of the things you will need to consider include data encryption, disaster management plans, physical security measures, and security records. This is paramount for your business information security.
Cross Platform Compatibility
SaaS applications are fully functional and thus allow users to work and access information from different technology environments. Travelling employees could be having Firefox browser and Microsoft Vista and in need to collaborate with a customer using Macs or other operating systems. The best SaaS solution should be able to operate across the different operating systems and major web browsers that allow for SaaS application access. It is good to go for a solution that works in all browsers and operating systems environments.
Other things to look at include customization, integration, mobile compatibility and backup systems in case of server crash. The SaaS solution vendor should also be able to upgrades the product regularly and these upgrades should have free access. Customer Support is also important and you must find out the mediums offered for this. If possible, look for one that offers live support and this should be free and not charged. With this checklist, finding the right SaaS solution will be easy and very possible.