As per Wikipedia, "SaaS" could be defined as a software delivery model in which software and its associated data are hosted centrally (typically in the Internet cloud) and are accessed by users using a thin client, normally a web browser over the Internet.
SaaS is becoming a popular model in various software development companies as the technologies used by SaaS that support Web services and service-oriented architecture (SOA) are now being used in a much greater scenario. There are a number of reasons associated with SaaS model usage. A few could be listed as follows:
- No need to purchase the system
- No need to buy the hardware for the system
- No need to hire and hold staff to support the system
- You can use the system for a rather small regular monthly fee
- The amount of the service can become bigger or smaller if the requirements of the customers change.
- Painless upgrades
- No outdated solutions
Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) has earned its name both as a business model and as an application delivery model. SaaS helps customers use an application on a pay-as-you-go basis and reduce the need of installation and then the application can be made to run on the customer’s own hardware.
The general concept of SAAS (Software-As-A-Service) can be discussed as:
Unlike the standard approach for using software where the user has to purchase the product and get a license, where the application is installed directly on the user's computer, SaaS means that the software or its components will be installed on the provider's server. The clients access the software through cloud computing platform on the internet and pay for it on subscription basis (e.g. monthly). Through this, businesses gained the opportunity not to buy the software, but to rent it. This saves their money as well as their time and maintenance cost. One has to just hire a support staff and the client can just turn to a provider and use his system that is customized according to his needs. So, for example, if the client wants to implement an ERP system, then he would have to buy licenses, equipment and pay for the system customization. By using SaaS, the client has to pay only for the customization services.
The Software as a Service (SaaS) Model is the combination of a Business Model and a Software Delivery Model.
- SaaS Business Model: An Independent Software Vendor (ISV) embracing the SaaS business model sets the business up in such a way that the key businesses processes of Marketing, Sales and Billing are an integral part of the product (Service) itself. The SaaS Business Model leads to a much leaner and much more agile company, in which 'The Service is the business'.
- SaaS delivery model: Here, an Independent Software Vendor (ISV) takes hold of SaaS Delivery Model (SDM), sets the business up in such a way that the key technical processes of Provisioning, Delivery, Monitoring and Support are an integral part of the product (Service) itself. The SaaS Delivery Model, therefore leads to much more responsive company in which customers experience and appreciate the merits of the SaaS delivery model.
The SaaS model takes hold of the concepts in the distributed application architecture but further broadens the architecture in order to include components to facilitate and enhance the business model. A SaaS solution benefits particularly small and start-up businesses that do not have either the budget or the in-house expertise to readily support an investment in IT infrastructure.