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Buyer’s Guide To SaaS Software
Software as a Service (SaaS) is the delivery of business apps over the Internet. You do not have to install and maintain the software, you can simply access it over the Internet. This means you do not have to worry about hardware and software management. SaaS apps are also called hosted software, on-demand software, and Web-based software. This buyer’s guide aims to provide you pointers on the main features and factors to consider in your search for the right SaaS software for your business needs.
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- Freelancers, startups, and small businesses can use SaaS software to boost business efficiency.
- Medium-sized companies, large enterprises, and multinational corporations can use the systems to improve collaboration and enhance productivity.
Types of SaaS Software
The following types of SaaS apps are widely used by businesses:
- CRM software – You can automate marketing, manage customer information, and track the sales process through the pipeline.
- ERP software – Enhance process efficiency and enable information sharing across the company, while providing management deeper insight into productivity and workflow.
- Accounting software – This application helps you organize and track your finances properly without needing finance expertise.
- Project management software – Track deadlines, communications, changes, progress, requirements, and scope to ensure projects are completed on schedule.
- Email marketing software – Automate relationship building and email marketing, while enhancing the effectiveness of message delivery.
- Billing and invoicing software – Automate billing and invoicing to provide clients with self-service payment options, eliminate errors, and reduce data entry expenses.
- Collaboration software –A quality collaboration software system enables employees to communicate more effectively and boosts business productivity.
- Web hosting and e-commerce – Provides the tools necessary to do business on the Internet. Features include shopping carts, message boards, CMS systems, and web hosting.
- HR software – Automate payroll, schedule more effectively, hire smartly, track employee hours, and manage all tasks of the human resources unit.
- Public sector, EDI, and compliance – Some industries have standardized regulations that must be adhered to by all parties. You can use SaaS apps to simplify inter-company communications and ensure you adhere to the rules.
- Vertical applications – You can use the appropriate app to operate businesses like a medical practice, law office, real estate company, martial arts dojo, photography studio and others.
- Transaction processing – Process bank transfers, accept credit cards, publish and track coupons, keep a tab, barter, and even operate a loyalty rewards program. You can use cloud software to accept payment for your products in multiple ways.
Key Features of SaaS Software
Helps to Save Time: You don’t have to buy and install the software. Simply sign up for a package on the vendor’s website and start using the app immediately. The SaaS solution is already configured and ready to use. In contrast, traditional software apps take time to install and many weeks to implement.
Scalability: SaaS apps are cloud-based, which means they are easily scalable and can be smoothly integrated with the other business systems you use. You don’t need to buy additional servers or software and the SaaS vendor makes the server capacity available for your needs.
Ease of Use: SaaS systems can be accessed via the Internet and mobile devices. Most applications have good quality user interfaces which make them easy to learn and use. Plus, the vendor offers guides and tutorials to help users get started.
Saves Costs: You can subscribe to a monthly or annual subscription plan which makes it easy to plan your budget. Plus, you have the flexibility to cancel or change the subscription. You can save money on hardware, infrastructure, and IT staff. With SaaS apps, you don’t have to worry about upfront costs for installing, implementing, and maintaining the system. The pay-as-you-go pricing plans allow organizations to pay only for what they use and reduce heavy licensing costs.
Improved Security: SaaS-based cloud systems back up data regularly and hence are more secure than conventional solutions. You don’t have to worry if an employee loses his computer or the data in it as all data remains secure on the database and servers of the SaaS vendor.
Benefits of SaaS Software
High Adoption: SaaS apps can be accessed from any computer or mobile device anytime, anywhere. Since most users are familiar with the internet, they find it easy to use the software resulting in high adoption rates.
Easy Upgrades: The SaaS vendor takes care of all upgrades and updates, so you don’t have to worry about patches to download and install. Plus, the vendor also manages availability, which means you don’t have to add software, hardware, or bandwidth as the number of users grows.
Smooth Integration: SaaS vendors offer true multitenant architectures that can scale easily to keep up with customer demand. Top providers offer customization features to meet specific requirements. Plus, many vendors provide APIs to help you integrate the app with the other business systems you use.
Controlling data security is becoming harder
Many companies have adopted BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) which means employees use their personal devices to access company data. This makes it harder to control data security and is throwing up issues for internal IT units. The solution lies in entrusting your data to a third party vendor who offers security systems designed to protect your data and internal network. The vendor has greater knowledge and resources which can help you control your company’s data security in a more effective manner.
Integrating multiple mobile apps
There are a few million mobile apps available for download and use. If your company’s users utilize certain apps for tasks and your partner or client’s users utilize other apps for the same tasks, how do you collaborate effectively and share data? The solution lies in integrating similar apps across organizations. This integration will help you to collaborate effectively with other companies to accomplish tasks easily without worrying about communication failure, lapses in work production, or data security faults.
The advent of DaaS
DaaS (Data as a Service) is becoming popular. This service provides companies a wide variety and large volume of cloud-based data at a reduced cost to enable smart strategic choices. Businesses can use a DaaS solution and eliminate the cost of operating an internal IT unit for the tasks.
Paying more for SaaS services
As mentioned earlier, there are no huge upfront costs involved in subscribing to SaaS packages. However, if you choose a monthly payment option over the long term, you will end up paying more. If you are impressed with the software, select an annual plan which gives you discounts. You can also end up paying more if you select a pay-as-you-go plan but use the service frequently. You would be better off with a monthly plan in this case. So, do your research beforehand and be sure about how frequently you will be using the SaaS software to select the most cost-effective pricing package.
Ignoring hidden costs
Before you sign on the dotted line read the fine print and terms and conditions of the contract. The SaaS vendor might charge hidden costs for configuring and setting up the software, accessing the software from mobile devices, overshooting the agreed storage limit, and technical support. Some vendors charge extra for add-ons and additional features. Therefore, analyze your needs carefully and take these hidden costs into account to ensure you don’t end up paying more.
Reliance on the Internet
Since SaaS software services are accessed over the Internet, your company needs to ensure it has a high quality, uninterrupted internet connection. Do not depend on a Internet Service Provider (ISP) as the quality and speed of the connection may fluctuate depending on the number of other subscribers and time of day. Rather, invest in a dedicated internet connection which means you don’t have share bandwidth with others. This may cost more but the investment is worth it. Also, use a backup redundant internet connection which will help your company’s employees to continue using the SaaS software if the main connection goes down.
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Page last modified on 27/10/2016