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Buyer’s Guide To SaaS Business Applications
Software as a Service (SaaS) denotes the delivery of business applications using the internet. The main advantage is you don’t need to install and update the software, you can simply use an internet-connected device to access it. The onus of hardware and software management rests on the software vendor. SaaS business applications are also called web-based software, on-demand software, and hosted software. We have prepared this buyer’s guide to give you tips on how to select the right SaaS business applications for your company’s needs.
Get to know each product with free trial
The best way to start your search is by shortlisting a few good applications and then registering for their free trial. This will enable you to test drive each app’s features free of cost and gauge whether they fit your company’s demands and needs. Also, read user reviews of the shortlisted products to get an idea about how each one has been received in the market and to learn about customer experiences with the solution.
- Small companies and medium-sized companies, startups, and freelancers can utilize SaaS software for better efficiency.
- Multinational enterprises and large corporations can use the products for better collaboration and productivity.
Types of SaaS Software
- Transaction processing – You can run a loyalty rewards program, barter, keep a tab, publish and track coupons, accept card payments, and process bank transfers.
- Vertical applications – You can use industry-specific apps for businesses such as photography studio, martial arts dojo, real estate company, law office, medical practice and more.
- Public sector, EDI, and compliance – Certain industries have specific regulations for companies. You can use SaaS software to adhere to these rules and to simplify inter-company communications.
- HR software – Manage HR tasks, track employee hours, hire smartly, schedule effectively, and automate payroll.
- Web hosting and e-commerce – This type of software gives you the tools you need to run an online store. Features include web hosting, CMS systems, message boards, and shopping carts.
- Collaboration software –Enables your team members to communicate more efficiently and effectively.
- Billing and invoicing software – Reduce data entry costs, eliminate errors, and automate billing and invoicing to offer self-service payment options to your customers.
- Email marketing software – Automate email marketing and relationship building, and ensure you send relevant and effective email messages to your target audience.
- Project management software – Track project scope, requirements, progress, changes, communications, and deadlines to complete projects on time and within budget.
- Accounting software – This type of software helps you to manage and track your company’s finances without using expert help.
- ERP software – Share information across the organization, boost process efficiency, and provide your company management actionable insights on workflow and productivity.
- CRM software – Track the sales process through the pipeline, manage customer info, and automate marketing.
Key Features of SaaS Software
Enhanced security – SaaS cloud system vendors do regular backups of data to provide you extra security. You need not worry even if an employee loses the data on his device, as all company data is securely stored on the vendor’s servers.
Reduces costs – Cloud system vendors offer pay-as-you-go pricing packages which means you need to pay only for what you use. You can save money on installing and maintaining the software, IT staff, infrastructure, and hardware. Plus, you can change or cancel your subscription whenever you wish. You can subscribe to an annual package to avail discounts.
Ease of use -You can easily access SaaS systems using any internet-connected device. Most products have simple user interfaces which cuts short the learning curve. Plus, vendors offer tutorials and guides to help you learn to use the software quickly and easily.
Scalability – Cloud-based SaaS apps can easily scale to meet your business demand and can be seamlessly integrated with the other business systems you use. There is no need to invest in additional software or servers and the vendor offers you the server capacity you need.
Saves time – On-premise software can take some time to install and implement. But with SaaS software you can simply visit the product website, sign up for a package, and start using the app immediately. The solution is configured and available for ready use.
Benefits of SaaS Software
High adoption rates – SaaS applications can be accessed anytime, anywhere from any mobile device or computer. Since most people use the internet, these products have high adoption rates within a company.
Effortless upgrades – The SaaS vendor manages all the updates and upgrades, and you don’t need to download or install any patches. The vendor also takes care of availability to keep up with growing number of users which means you are spared the hassle of adding extra bandwidth, hardware, or software.
Seamless integration – SaaS products come with multitenant architectures which makes them scalable to meet growth and demand. Plus, you can make use of customization options to meet specific needs. Finally, many vendors offers APIs that you can use to seamlessly integrate the system with the other business platforms you use.
BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) is creating data security issues
BYOD means your company’s employees use their own devices for work purposes. This can make it hard for your organization to keep tabs on data security. The answer is to use the services of a third-party SaaS vendor who has proven expertise in protecting data. The vendor has more resources and experience that you can utilize to keep sensitive company data safe and secure.
Integration of diverse mobile apps
Your company employees may use certain mobile apps for their work and your clients may utilize other applications for their needs. This can make it difficult to collaborate efficiently and share data. This issue can be resolved by integrating similar apps used across companies. Such integration can help you collaborate more effectively with other organizations and overcome issues such as data security faults, lapses in work efficiency, and communication failure.
DaaS is coming to the forefront
DaaS (Data as a Service) is fast becoming a popular option. DaaS vendors offer a large volume and wide range of cloud-based data at affordable rates. This means companies can save the cost of hiring internal IT staff and instead use a DaaS system to get business tasks done.
Pitfalls of the SaaS pricing packages
Though there are no upfront expenses, the monthly subscription fees do add up to a lot over the long term. You can mitigate this issue somewhat by opting for annual payment to avail discounts. Another drawback is if you use the system frequently, you may be charged more if you have selected a pay-as-you-go package. In this case, you are better served by a monthly plan. Therefore be aware of your needs and usage requirements to select a cost-effective pricing plan.
There may be hidden costs
We advise you to read and understand your SaaS contract thoroughly before signing. The SaaS vendor may charge extra fees for technical support, additional storage, mobile support, and for software configuration and setup. Some providers charge extra for additional features and add-ons. Therefore, talk to the vendor and get your doubts about hidden fees clarified before you commit yourself to an agreement.
Dependence on the internet
The quality of internet connectivity has a big say on how effectively your employees use SaaS applications. It is not recommended to subscribe to an ISP as you would need to share the services with other subscribers which may affect the speed and quality of the internet service you get. We advise you to pay for a dedicated internet connection so that you can have all the bandwidth to yourself. The extra cost is worth it as it can boost your employees’ efficiency and productivity. Another good tip is to use a backup redundant internet connection which will ensure your employees stay productive and continue using the SaaS systems even if the main connection gets disrupted.
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