Software as a Service (SaaS)

An Introduction—in brief.

The world of online service providers is changing rapidly with the advancements in the technical world. There are different models in this software world, we just need to stick to one of them and try to float for a moment, to see if there is any success attached to it. One such model is — SaaS, Software as a Service.
Not a secret anymore, SaaS is turning out to be a booming business. The cloud providers are making use of the cloud space and letting the applications host themselves for the end-users over the internet, to nurture the torrent of demand, virtually unfolding in various cloud space categories. There are few points for the companies who want to get into this space, like if the service they want to keep is the one for whom people are used to paying. Another important laying stone is that what is the focused part of the organization — a cost center or a revenue generator. The next possible point of research must be clear to the organization if what they are offering to their end-users — a data play. The times are changing and with time, the mindset of the corporate word is also changing and how it works. Now the corporate world seemingly showing a change in trend that makes them feel comfortable in putting up the investment where they can earn money instead of saving the money. Here comes SaaS again into the picture.

Categories of the cloud computing

We are already using the cloud-based services to accomplish our daily tasks. The cloud is nothing but just — the internet. If we go more technically into all of this, then cloud computing is — on demand availability of the resources like servers, virtual storage, catering different options to choose the right database for your business like relational, diagonal, graph, document, wide column, and list goes on. There are three categories of the cloud computing, basically, and SaaS turns out to be one of them. The other two counterparts of this technological wheel are IaaS, infrastructure as a service, and PaaS, platform as a service. People from different industries use the services of the SaaS, although the range effectively extends to those who use it for their personal use. There are many examples of the SaaS platforms we use, and Netflix is surely one of them, though the list draws a sharp comparison between the different type of products, for instance, Office 365, Google Docs, Gmail, Facebook; each fall into the different category, while extending the list further, IT software, Slack is for the corporate communication. Citing to the report published in the McKinsey & Company, where substantial analytical insights have been reached out and draws the conclusion that B2B will be very important in this segment and hypothetical figures have surfaced out, which says that possibly $200 billion market share of the SaaS based products will be reached by the year 2024. Well, this is huge.

An insight into the working — SaaS

A cloud delivery model contains pre-packaged trio of IT resources being offered by a cloud provider, that is, SaaS, IaaS, and PaaS. The benefits are immense for its end users, like great flexibility, high-speed implementation, and finally no more worries to think excessively about the software development and maintenance required, as these services are offered as a part of SaaS. In SaaS — everything right from the applications, data, runtime, middleware, o/s, virtualization, servers, storage, and networking is being offered and managed by the cloud service providers. These applications are being accessed with the help of any web browser and an internet connection. Generally, in the technological world this whole setup is termed as a “Power of one” — a tailor made solution. Now this is important, one source for everything. In SaaS, nothing is permanent as the innovation factor keeps on multiplying. Therefore, the service which is being offered is subscription based, thus implying that you just have to subscribe and use, nothing to worry about the maintenance and other important tasks.

SaaS’s close relation to ASP

It will not be wrong to compare SaaS with ASP, that is, application service provider; as well as with other similar software models. Where the conditions remain the same as the service will be used by only approved end-users, with definite login credentials. In SaaS, when new features are rolled out, all of the users get the benefit of the new updates, for instance, if Netflix introduces any change in the design of the website, then this can be rolled out to each and everyone who is using this website. On the contrary, Netflix also maintains the video quality of the content; as per the package attained by the end-user, that is, the same movie is streamed in different video qualities, for different users, one having the package for the 4k definition while the other having the package for the standard definition.

Role of SLA discussed briefly — in SaaS

The level of SLA, service level agreement; maintains the impedance and level of security for your data as it ensures that the proper privacy measures are enacted or not. However, conventionally these are used for reporting: uptime, case reporting, resolution times& reliability; but now these are table stakes for any SaaS provider. In these competitive times, the role of SLA is also critical to some extent. The data storage is very important, but the customer data can be stored locally; in the cloud; or at both places, cloud as well as locally — depending upon the agreed upon SLA level. To sum up this idea, we can say that SaaS companies must turn to be extra proactive and act like a trusted advisor to their end customers.

Few benefits for the SaaS model

As SaaS eradicates the need for maintaining the anything whether it is data centre, computers, hardware, networking or even the software etcetera. Here are few uses of the SaaS model:

  • It allows you scale as you want, and use any kind of service available on that particular platform depending upon the level of subscription you are having.
  • If there are any updates on the platform then you will be automatically entitled to receive them, on the contrary, if you are using any software which is not SaaS, then you may have to pay even to get the next update or new version of the software.
  • SaaS can integrate, especially across different applications within same software provider, in order to give the desired end functionality to some users. Therefore, it is customizable.
  • The payment to the services being offered by the SaaS platform, is very flexible, as you can anytime stop the services as per your wish. But you cannot just simply exit from the conventional software setup as you might have purchased the software and costs may incurred in setting up the hardware and other necessary things like networking, cost of the internet etc.

Risks involved with SaaS

Availability of free tools and that too across different platforms is always an added advantage to jumpstart your new projects. It is pretty much assured that you will get a great Blazor development experience while using Visual Studio and Visual Studio Code on cross platforms like Windows, MacOS and Linux. Moreover, taking into the consideration of your comfort zone you are welcome to use the different editors if you wish.

A brief glace at – UI component ecosystem

Even though you want everything to be managed by the SaaS platform, but then you somehow are tethered to one source for each and everything.If at any point you want to switch to the other vendor then moving everything to the other platform can be very risky, as possibly they might have some other technologies running on their platform, thus compatibility issues may arise but this is merely a technical speculation and therefore can be given a thought before any agreement. Furthermore, there is a risk of dealing with something (technology) that might be proprietary can therefore cannot be shared further. Security — is definitely among the other hot topics laying on the tabletop of any SaaS platform to deal with, and that too on the priority. If the end-users of the SaaS platform get used to the current version of the software and don’t wish to have any update soon then they cannot do anything if the next update from the vendor rolls on and takes an immediate effect. This might jeopardise the way team is working, for instance, a temporary halt might arise as the end-users might need a little bit of training to adapt to the new features introduced in the software.

Few examples — SaaS

When there is something new in the market; doesn’t matter if it is a technology or a new trend — people follow up. Therefore, being a SaaS product, the range extends from single product platform to a multi-product company. Your technological basket should keep on growing with different products-as-a-service portfolios to survive in this tough technical marketplace. There are different SaaS applications available in the market: whether it an email platform like Gmail, sales management software like Salesforce, letting all the office functionalities on the cloud-like Office 365 subscription, AWS cloud, Microsoft Azure, Dropbox, Google Workspace apps, HubSpot, Trello, Zendesk, DocuSign, Slack, Adobe Creative Cloud, Mailchimp to name a few as the list goes on. The point of sale for all of these SaaS products is different for each one of them, whether it is B2B or B2C. We conclude here to leave you with few of the brand names to search for, who tactically emerged, in the period of international lockdown during the covid effected timeline, with shear brilliance and innovation and grabbed the larger slices of market share in their relevant space: Google Meet, Zoom, Shopify& Netflix.

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