The convenience and agility of web-based applications – otherwise known as software as a service (SaaS) – has been attracting many businesses to abandon legacy software and hardware solutions in favor of working with cloud software and cloud storage. When you consider the significant benefits of making the move to SaaS, it’s not hard to see why.
With SaaS solutions, there is no need to maintain complex infrastructures on proprietary computers or servers (and all of the associated staff overhead this brings): the software lives online, is highly scalable, and is hosted remotely, with the provider taking care of security and performance.
Although they may not typically be recognized as SaaS products, some applications have been in popular use among businesses for years, including storage and remote collaboration offerings such as Google Drive/Mail, Basecamp and Dropbox. Other examples of business functions that are increasingly shifting towards the cloud are accounting and HR administration systems.
With an estimated $149.9bn spent on enterprise application software in 2015, according to a recent report by Gartner, it appears that SaaS is fast becoming the norm. "SaaS has become the model for software delivery at the moment, more than on-premise," says Laurent Lachal, senior analyst at Ovum. Gartner VP and Fellow Daryl Plummer reinforces this statement, observing that "very few organizations trying to adopt an email or productivity solution would not be considering Office 365 or Google at this point."
Indeed, Gartner forecasts that by 2016 half of all CRM systems will be deployed via SaaS. By 2025, that figure is predicted to reach as much as 85%.
So, what are the key benefits of SaaS systems over the traditional in-house approach?
Adaptability and accessibility: businesses can set up and deploy SaaS rapidly, access it from any location (with an internet connection), and suffer fewer obtrusive interruptions in the way of software updates and maintenance (which are all typically managed by the SaaS provider).
Long-term cost efficiency: whilst some SaaS products may appear more expensive up front, they deliver savings and ROI to businesses in the long term, with less expenditure on hardware, software and IT infrastructure costs required to host and deploy in-house solutions.
Easy, secure customization: SaaS users can easily personalize applications to suit their business processes, without affecting their infrastructure. The provider can make upgrades to the software as often as needed, leaving the customer free to configure the system as they wish, safe in the knowledge that they won't "mess anything up" in the back end.
The management of communications is another key business area that can hugely benefit from a centralized SaaS solution. At censhare, we are helping businesses such as publish-industry Verlag, a major Munich-based publishing house, to manage the production of all content and communications in an agile, cost-efficient way. Publishing director at publish-industry, Kilian Müller, comments: "I believe that companies which succeed in developing business models focusing on digitalization and network structures are well equipped for the future."
Explore our cloud-based and on-premise solutions to find out more.