There was a time when the software was delivered to businesses and individual users via floppy disks and CDs. When the Internet services started reaching the masses, developers could offer their users the option to download their software versions from websites. Even though some vendors still use the CD-delivery-and-download methods, many have adopted Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) as the smart and cost-effective way to offer software solutions.
In essence, SaaS is a licensing and delivery model for software systems. It enables a company or individual to subscribe to the software and use all its features without having to maintain and upgrade the same periodically. Unlike other software delivery methods where the application needs to be downloaded and installed on the user’s machine or an organisation’s server, SaaS is accessed via the Internet and is stored on a server in another location.
Benefits of Delivering Software Systems through SaaS
Generally, for software vendors, the principal difference between building on-premise applications and SaaS is the delivery method. However, there are some more advantages associated with the latter:
- A centralised SaaS interface is cheaper and simpler to maintain than legacy desktop-based software models.
- SaaS helps to reduce piracy in the software development industry as it is not easy to plagiarise cloud-based applications.
- Software vendors can conveniently design upgrades and security patches to make SaaS systems more secure for all users.
Ease of Building Software – Start with a Minimum Viable Product (MVP)
With the evolution of new technologies, there have been notable shifts in the way software gets designed. Conventionally, software applications and platforms were considered major projects that called for a significant amount of time and resources. Due to the high costs of development and frequent project failures, businesses started experimenting with newer technologies.
The popular way to create software applications now is by building a minimum viable product (MVP), and SaaS products are built with the same strategy. MVP entails the minimum set of essential features that can offer the maximum possible value to users and can help vendors to learn the most about them (users) while also ensuring high returns on investment. With an MVP method, software designers can successfully build high-value SaaS products. The advantages of this method are:
- Ability to quickly release a working version of the software to initial users
- Getting valuable feedback that helps to customise features and functionalities further
- Minimising risk by verifying if a product idea addresses a problem
- Testing the performance, ironing out any usability issues and fixing bugs in the earlier stage of development
Although MVPs have been conventionally associated with start-ups, their use in building SaaS applications can also help large companies.
Another benefit of using MVP methodology is that it reduces the chances of SaaS project design failure. A study by McKinsey in 2012¹ had also confirmed the idea that small is better, and the bigger an IT project is, the more likely it is to fail.
Furthermore, SaaS helps software vendors to adopt an agile approach for their software building process. It focuses on optimising the time spent on application development and creating a working product in minimum time. It is better than the conventional waterfall approach based on project management techniques used in construction and manufacturing enterprises. The model required the development of software systems, one stage at a time, and was very rigid and linear. Once the project started at the first stage, the designers had to complete it and move on to the next without any flexibility of going back to the previous stage.
Where SaaS gives several advantages to software companies and helps them design better products, it also provides more value to the businesses that use it instead of legacy on-premise software. The top advantages include:
Quick deployment: SaaS only calls for setting up of user accounts and training employees for the usage; there is no need to install any software, and any device connected to the Internet can access the solution.
High reliability: The vendors ensure uptime round-the-clock, and SaaS can be easily scaled as per the changing business needs.
Pay-per-usage billing: Businesses only pay for the bandwidth they use in SaaS and can, therefore, avoid the overhead expenses of maintaining, upgrading and buying licenses for new versions of any software.
With a vendor to take care of SaaS management and provide SLA-backed 24*7 support, SaaS helps enterprises to make the best use of their custom software and stay in sync with the evolutions on the technology landscape.
As a boon to both software developers and their clients, cloud-printed SaaS helps entities make the most of their limited IT budget and reduces the burden of infrastructure maintenance.
At Tata Tele Business Services, we empower organisations with bespoke SaaS solutions that can meet their changing business needs. To know more about our SaaS and other cloud products, call us at 1800-266-1800.