What is Software as a Service (SaaS)?

What is Software as a Service (SaaS)?

Software is indispensable in today’s world. It is hard to imagine any service provider without software. For decades companies and customers used to run software on their own internal infrastructure. But that practice of purchasing traditional software licences to run software on locally owned infrastructures is quickly becoming obsolete. Many businesses have migrated their software services to models known as ‘SaaS’.

What is SaaS?

Creating Business Value: SaaS - What is Software as a Service‘Saas’, which stands for “Software as a Service“, is a software application model where an enterprise vendor develops a web based application software and then hosts it centrally over the cloud to be accessed by customers using thin clients through a web browser. Not many customers are in the practice of purchasing software licences or building costly equipment; they simply host their services with a provider of choice and pay a monthly or annual fee to use the software.

What has driven the rapid adoption of SaaS model?

The software market has undergone huge changes since inception. The maturing of the software industry, the reduced operational and security risks, the trend of outsourcing and the advantage of reduced costs provided by SaaS have all contributed to the rapid and widescale adoption of SaaS globally.

Besides, the growing use of web interfaces, standardization of web stacks, HTTPS, and the popularity of web development practices along with introduction of web application frameworks; the costs of SaaS based solutions have been reduced significantly. Broadband internet access ensured that the quality of web based software service was on par or even better than traditional software.

Applications provided by Software-as-a-Service

Software as a Service has become a common delivery model for many business applications like accounting, Customer relationship management(CRM), collabaoration, content management, human resources management(HRM), management Information system(MIS), invoicing, enterprise resource management(ERM) and Service Desk management. SaaS has been the strategy of all popular and leading enterprising companies.

Architecture of SaaS

Most of the SaaS solutions are based on multi-tenant architecture. In this architecture, a single version of the application, with a single configuration is used for all customers. Then the application is installe d on multiple machines for scalability. Sometimes a group of users may have access to a second version, usually pre-release(beta) version of the application.

Types of SaaS solutions

  • Business applications- Consists of Software dealing with business processing management and is the most common use of SaaS.
  • Development tools- Consists of software used for product development and management.

Characteristics of SaaS Solutions

  • Configuration and customization- Users may be able to change the looks and feel of the web based application, and also configure it just like traditional software.
  • Accelerated feature delivery- SaaS solutions are updated more frequently. since it is centrally hosted, it gets automatically updated-no need to update manually.
  • Open integration protocols- Instead of internal databases, SaaS provides integration protocols and Application Programming Interface(APIs) like HTTP,REST,SOAP ETC.
  • Collaborative and Social network based services- inspired by social networks, SaaS offers users to collaborate and share information within or outside organisations. This has made it easier for people to work together irrespective of place they live.

The Future of SaaS

The future of SaaS looks bright with more and more people looking for cloud based software solutions. And the quality of services is going to be better with high speed broadband and better development of web based protocols.


What are your thoughts? What have your experiences been with using SaaS based products?

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