September 18, 2013 | Written by: Marcos Sylos
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Software as a service (SaaS) is an alternative to the standard software installation in the business environment (traditional model) where a user has to build the server, install the application and configure it.
In SaaS, the user does not pay for the software itself. Instead, it works like a rental. They have the authorization to use it for a period of time and pay for the software that they are using.
(Related: What is software as a service (SaaS)?)
In my opinion, the top five SaaS advantages are as follows:
1.Reduced time to benefit
Different from the traditional model, in SaaS the software (application) is already installed and configured. The user has the advantage of provisioning the server for an instance in cloud and in a couple hours they can have the application ready for use. This reduces the time spent in installation and configuration, and can reduce the issues that can get in the way of the software deployment.
2. Lower costs
SaaS has a differential regarding costs since it usually resides in a shared or multitenant environment where the hardware and software license costs are low compared with the traditional model.
Another advantage is that the customer base can be increased since it allows small and medium businesses (SMB) to use a software that otherwise they would not use due to the high cost of license.
Maintenance costs are reduced as well, since the SaaS provider owns the environment and it is split among all customers that use that solution.
(Related: Three advantages of SaaS for IT consulting)
3. Scalability and integration
Usually, SaaS solutions reside in cloud environments that are scalable and have integration with other SaaS offerings. Comparing with the traditional model, users do not have to buy another server or software. They only need to enable a new SaaS offering and, in terms of server capacity planning, the SaaS provider will own that.
4. New releases (upgrades)
SaaS providers upgrade the solution and it becomes available for their customers. Costs and effort associated with upgrades and new releases are lower than the traditional model that usually forces the user to buy an upgrade package and install it, or pay for specialized services to get the environment upgraded.
5. Easy to use and perform proof of concepts
SaaS offerings are easy to use since they already come with best practices and samples inside it. Users can do proof of concepts and test the software functionality or a new release feature in advance. Also, they can have more than one instance with different versions and do a smooth migration. Even for large environments, users can use SaaS offerings to test the software before buy it.
IBM has embraced the advantages of SaaS and has built a portfolio of over 100 SaaS applications which solve critical business needs for our clients. Visit ibm.com/saas to learn more.
Are there any advantages to using SaaS that you would add to this list? Please connect with me on Twitter (@MarcosSylos) and let’s continue the discussion.
(Related: A conversation with Marc Dietz, director, IBM SaaS strategy and marketing)