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What Is Software as a Service?

What_Is_Software_as_a_Service.jpgAs the world of technology evolves, so too must the world of business. Computers revolutionized the marketplace when they arrived on the scene, as did the internet, and software has always been attached to these technologies. Software as a service (SaaS) is the natural evolution of the software business and is making the software market more dependable and affordable than ever.

What Exactly Is SaaS?

Software as a service is a subscription-based model for distributing software applications and is part of the network of cloud-computed products, which are on-demand resources shared through the internet. The types of applications that are provided by SaaS include IT security management, messaging software, payroll processing software, antivirus software, customer relation management, accounting software, and just about any other business need you can imagine. SaaS hosts its services centrally, and nothing more than a web browser is needed to access them. By hosting their services exclusively online, companies can use business applications at a much more affordable price, as all hardware and software maintenance is outsourced to the provider. Software as a service has gained a great deal of popularity in recent years and is used by most enterprise companies.

A Brief History of SaaS

Software as a service hasn’t always existed the way it does today. Centralized hosting of business services began in the 1960s with IBM. They offered storage space and computing power to banks and other large organizations, as well as IT support. This service evolved as computer technology did. Application Service Providers (ASP) were the next step. ASPs gained popularity in the 1990s with the proliferation of the internet and hosted business applications on a central server. They didn’t develop software, however; they simply distributed it through a central location to their clients. SaaS improved upon the model established by ASPs.

Why Use SaaS and Not ASP?

As mentioned, most ASPs simply host the software of other vendors, while SaaS providers typically develop and manage their own software, thus creating a convenient all-in-one transaction. Many ASPs require you to install software on your personal workstation, while software as a service is internet-based and only requires a browser to access. Furthermore, ASPs generally require more than one application per business, while SaaS employs multi-tenant architecture in their programming, so more than one business can be served by the same application.

Software as a service can be distributed to your business instantaneously, and has much lower setup costs than on-site software applications. Due to centralized hosting and continuous internet connection, application updates can happen easily and frequently, and are distributed to all clients evenly.

The Potential of Software as a Service

Much like social media, many SaaS applications offer features that allow users to collaborate on ideas and share information with each other. With this type of open communication, project management across companies is easier than ever, and different departments can interact with ease. This type of collaboration is only made possible by the centralized hosting of software as a service.

The ease of software as a service is helping to standardize webpage technologies, and as a result, the practice of web development is increasing in popularity. This is resulting in the development of even more affordable and user-friendly SaaS application frameworks. This ease of use has the potential to revolutionize social services. Engineering, health care, education, and political institutions can all benefit from the proliferation of software as a service, and can become more efficient for those who utilize and work in those industries.

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