What Are the Advantages of SaaS?
Almost every business relies on software to operate, and for most SMBs, the costs of software – including license and maintenance – are painfully expensive. So is there a solution that allows you to leverage the power of software without a high price tag? One candidate is the software delivery service called SaaS. Read on to learn more about it.
What is SaaS?
Software as a service (SaaS) is transforming information technology today. Gartner defines SaaS as “software that is owned, delivered and managed remotely by one or more providers. The provider delivers software based on one set of common code and data definitions that is consumed in a one-to-many model by all contracted customers at any time on a pay-for-use basis or as a subscription based on use metrics.”
In effect, SaaS is a leased software maintained by its creator and not hosted on your premises. SaaS apps run in the cloud.
Who uses SaaS?
Industry analyst Forrester Research notes that SaaS adoption has so far been concentrated mostly in human resource management (HRM), customer relationship management (CRM), collaboration software (e.g., email), and procurement solutions, but is poised to widen.
Sales and marketing people are likely familiar with Salesforce.com, the leading SaaS CRM, with millions of users across more than 100,000 customers. Sales is going SaaS too, with apps available to support sales in order management, compensation, quote production and configure, price, quoting, electronic signatures, contract management and more.
Thinking of moving towards a SaaS solution for your sales process? Here are a few reasons you should.
Reduced time to benefit
Different from the traditional model, in SaaS the software (application) is already installed and configured. The user has the advantage of provisioning the server for an instance in cloud and in a couple hours they can have the application ready for use. This reduces the time spent in installation and configuration, and can reduce the issues that can get in the way of the software deployment.
SaaS applications are available from any computer or any device-anytime, anywhere. Because most people are familiar with using the Internet to find what they need, SaaS apps tend to have high adoption rates, with a lower learning curve.
Because the SaaS provider manages all updates and upgrades, there are no patches for customers to download or install. The SaaS provider also manages availability, so there’s no need for customers to add hardware, software, or bandwidth as the user base grows.
Lower cost of entry
With SaaS, you pay for what you need, without having to buy hardware to host your new applications. Instead of provisioning internal resources to install the software, the vendor provides APIs and performs much of the work to get their software working for you. The time to a working solution can drop from months in the traditional model to weeks, days or hours with the SaaS model. In some businesses, IT wants nothing to do with installing and running a sales app. In the case of funding software and its implementation, this can be a make-or-break issue for the sales and marketing budget, so the lower cost really makes the difference.
Scalability and integration
Usually, SaaS solutions reside in cloud environments that are scalable and have integration with other SaaS offerings. Comparing with the traditional model, users do not have to buy another server or software. They only need to enable a new SaaS offering and, in terms of server capacity planning, the SaaS provider will own that.
Since the software is hosted in the cloud and accessible over the internet, users can access it via mobile devices wherever they are connected. This includes checking customer order histories prior to a sales call, as well as having access to real time data and real time order taking with the customer. For road warriors, the ability to access the software and data when they need it can change the nature of a sale.
Easy to use and perform proof of concepts
SaaS offerings are easy to use since they already come with best practices and samples inside it. Users can do proof of concepts and test the software functionality or a new release feature in advance. Also, they can have more than one instance with different versions and do a smooth migration. Even for large environments, users can use SaaS offerings to test the software before buy it.
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