What is SaaS Technology? SaaS has become quite the buzz word in business, software and marketing circles in the past few years, right alongside “cloud” and “social networking”, all of which are mystifying topics to those not inherently savvy. SaaS is changing the way software and marketing works on a grand scale, so everyone needs to know a little bit about it, even if it doesn’t directly relate to their field.
So, What is SaaS Technology?
SaaS isn’t really a brand new concept, despite its more or less recent surge in popularity over the last few years. In fact, SaaS models have been in use since the dawn of computing, when mainframes and terminals were the primary way in which these things worked. Actually, in those days, SaaS was the only workable way in which software could operate, though nobody paid this much heed as software was an incredibly niche market.
When the personal computer revolution happened in the 1980s, SaaS historically made its real debut. So, what is it? Basically SaaS, or software as a service, is a model in which software is usually remotely accessed over a connection for a subscription fee or similar paid model, on a per-need basis, rather than installed locally on a machine for a hefty one time purchase.
The benefits of SaaS are tremendous in many cases. Software installed locally is bulky and costly of hard drive space. Installing it on multiple machines is a licensing headache and often results in comically unintentional piracy as well. And of course, there’s the cost of software by the old model. It often costs hundreds of dollars per license per copy of software with the old model. This cost was passed directly to the user, which hurts accessibility and demographic range tremendously.
And then, there is the problem of compatibility. There are three primary platforms for computers, Windows, Macintosh and Linux, all three of which think differently. When traditional software is developed, it has to be modified and compiled for each of these separately. Not only this, but it also must be compatible with various levels of computing power and storage space as well. Add this to the cost of software, and a company using multiple machine types is making a painful and often short-lived investment.
There is also the problem of the recent mobile revolution. Mobile devices have less screen real estate, storage space and computing power, plus their interface is often rather different from the traditional methodologies. Publishing software that is cross-platform to reach these and various PCs simultaneously is actually kind of impossible and I doomed from the start.
And then, finally, there’s the constant updates, upgrades and other maintenance things which make classic software models even costlier and more of a pain. Delivering free updates is painful and tedious and often ineffectual, and upgrades to new versions cost yet more money companies and private users do not want to pay.
So what has all this to do with SaaS? Well, when you look at what it is, often web-based software delivered via browser to any platform, it solves all of these problems for the most part. Now that browsers and web development are nearly on par with client side software, updates are automatic, versions mean little beyond “hey a new feature”, and platform compatibility and computing capacity become largely moot, especially with the addition of cloud computing in the mix.
This means that SaaS frameworks can be developed once, updated once and maintained once in a centralized location, while any device with a browser can access it freely.
It has cons in that browsers vary, and some devices have less than exemplary net capacity as yet, and it requires reliable bandwidth and connections. Nonetheless, the answer to ” What is SaaS Technology?” is this – “the solution to software problems that have been around since the dawn of time, that’s what.”