Cloud SaaS

How is Software as a Service different?

How is SaaS different from traditional software implementations?

  • Some off the points have been made already but, for completeness, I repeat them here.
  • With installed software you often need to be sitting at a computer in the office where it is installed. With SaaS, customers have access from anywhere in the world via an internet‐connected device. This includes laptops, netbooks and mobile phones at the office, at home or anywhere else that has internet coverage.
  • SaaS requires only a standard browser, or a minimal amount of small software downloads, such as Java, to be installed on the user’s computer. IT management issues such as backup, recovery and network management are provided by the vendor, The typically high levels of security and protection against interruption provided by SaaS vendors would be very expensive for customers to provide for themselves. With installed software, the customer installs and manages the software on their own computer or servers. They are responsible for all the IT management issues including backups, upgrades, recovery, etc.
  • SaaS is much easier to use than conventional on ‐premise software think of providers like Amazon or Flickr. “You don’t need too do any training or read any manuals to work out how to order products from Amazon, or upload photos to Flick.”
  • The software is always up to date because there is a single instance of the software which is updated regularly. Not only do you not have to wait for software developer and/or the IT department to schedule the update and apply the update before customers can instantly benefit from innovative new features.
  • SaaS solutions can be more innovative they know if they are to retrain your custom they need to keep pace with the latest web­ based tools that people make use of.
  • The SaaS business model is based on a steadily increasing and recurring revenue stream with an emphasis on good quality product and support services to ensure customer satisfaction, recommendation and repeat payment. It is typified by rapid adoption through word of mouth and low sales and marketing spend, with more resource being devoted to application development and support services.
  • SaaS brings the user back into the purchasing equation. See Software as a Service checklist below.
  • Finally, remember that SaaS vendors are service providers, driven by their customers, compared with software producers which are product‐led organisations with a high focus on selling.

  SaaS On Premise Comparison
Access Connect through the internet. If no internet connection is available, or the capacity or bandwidth are small, the application may not be accessible, though some services may provide a separately installed local version of the application. Connect via customer’s internal network. Remote access outside the office may not be possible or needs internal network to be extended via dial-up or over the internet.
Browsers All major browsers are supported. (e.g. Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari and Chrome). Traditional Windows/Mac application.
Code Code executes on the SaaS provider’s server, apart from minor functions that may be downloaded to the browser such as Java applets, ActiveX components or Flash. Each customer has an individual copy of the code even if it is the same code.
Code location A code executes on the SaaS provider’s server apart from minor functions that may be downloaded to the browser such as Java applets, ActiveX components or Flash. Code executes locally on customer’s clients and servers.
Data Held on SaaS provider’s servers. Held on customer’s own servers.
Data ownership and compliance Whilst primary responsibility for data protection and compliance remains with the user, a SaaS provider may have an offering to assist with the demonstration of compliance, or the services of an independent third party auditor may be called upon. Customer has data on site and owns the data. The user is responsible for data protection compliance.
Ease of use, training Less training needed, products typically leverage users’ familiarity with web sites and provide self-service tools and help. Anything from a day to three days ‘or average users, a week for administrators.
Evaluations SaaS providers typically offer a free trial. Usually limited to a trial without specific set-up requirements.
Failover SaaS provider may have redundant data centre for fast fail over. Customer may have disaster recovery plan; most don’t. Few can recover from a fail over in 20 minutes.
Installation No installation needed, just a browser. Can include some locally installed applets, (Java). Installation needed on servers and/ or on client servers.
Interfaces Most SaaS products have data import routines plus APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) that run over the internet for lower level integration. Most products have data import/ export routines, plus APIs to local software. Interfacing to local applications is sometimes possible; interfacing to web sites and SaaS systems may be problematic.
Implementation Anything from instant to five days or more. Normally done by customer or provided by SaaS vendor. Anything from a day to a month or more. Normally provided by a paid consultant.
IT Maintenance Application updates/upgrades, data backups, platform availability all the responsibility of SaaS provider. Customer applies updates/ upgrades, is responsible for backups and IT infrastructure.
IT Maintenance Application updates/upgrades, data backups, platform availability all the responsibility of SaaS provider. Customer applies updates/ upgrades, is responsible for backups and IT infrastructure.
Payment model Subscription: per year, per month or per use etc. Software license purchased upfront, plus annual maintenance payments.
Support Support desk can access customer’s system directly to help with configuration. Support desk can talk customer through the system or provide online help, but can’t make changes without a site visit or remote access.
Updates and upgrades Continual or quarterly updates and upgrades. Six monthly or annual update cycle. Enhancements upgrades can be included as part of a maintenance contract.

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