Unlike conventional software applications that are accessed through a direct physical connection between the processor, hard drive, and the monitor, SaaS allows users to access and operate a program that is hosted on remote servers through the Internet.
Until recently, SaaS could be accessed only through web browsers. Today, software programs hosted on remote servers can be accessed through the cloud, through mobile devices, and through computers and laptops.
Growth Prospects of SaaS
IDC’s Worldwide SaaS Enterprise Applications 2014–2018 forecast predicts that by 2018, 27.8% of all worldwide enterprise applications, as opposed to 16.6% in 2013, will operate as software as a service. The SaaS solutions market is expected to cross $20 billion in 2018 while on-premise applications will drop from the existing 64% to just 38% of the total CRM applications market by 2018.
Data released by PWC indicates that demand for hardware solutions is dropping by 0.5% every year, and that this trend is set to become stronger as SaaS software becomes safer, more popular, and more versatile.
Rapid Growth of SaaS
More and more organizations are opting SaaS-based solutions because these software applications are merely the means for achieving other goals. Companies setup elaborate IT infrastructure to install and run enterprise-level programs because this was the only way they could enjoy the benefits of newer computing technologies. Now that organizations can access programs installed on a remote server through the Internet, the investments involved in setting up and running IT infrastructure seems like a waste of valuable resources.
SaaS offers flexibility and scalability. Setting up user access for new users can be a time-consuming affair if such activities are handled within the enterprise. By opting for cloud-based software services, organizations can expand access, reduce scale of operations, increase volume of activity, or otherwise alter the usage of the program without any hassles.
Mobility is another reason behind the rapid growth of cloud and network-based software applications. A SaaS-based mobile conferencing solution can be accessed by different employees situated across the world irrespective of the configuration of their computers or mobile devices. The task of setting up platform-independent infrastructure can be outsourced to the service provider. The organization can simply focus on using the service as and when required.
Business continuity is assured if one opts for SaaS. A service provider catering to hundreds of big organizations can afford to setup multiple data centers with multiple redundant backup systems to ensure uninterrupted access.
An organization, no matter how big, cannot afford to setup such elaborate infrastructure to prevent network downtime. The cost of opting for SaaS works out a lot cheaper as compared to the cost of setting up the enterprise-level software from scratch within the organization.
SaaS facilitates operational efficiency. Financial information can be centralized with multiple layers of security to protect confidentiality while HR data can be decentralized to encourage branches to take independent decisions with regard to recruitment, appraisal, and promotion of human assets.
Creating a stable yet flexible infrastructure can be a time-consuming and expensive affair. With SaaS, this task can be outsourced and the organization can simply focus on using versatile programs to enhance productivity and profits.
SaaS is set to grow faster as organizations in developing countries enjoy access to faster and more reliable broadband Internet connectivity. With geographical and physical limitations irrelevant for cloud-based computing, SaaS will transform the world into a truly globalized and unified market.
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