In recent years, you may well have come across or heard the term SaaS, or Software as a Service. Whether you’re involved in tech or not, the software that these SaaS companies produce will most probably have had an impact on your day-to-day life, but those in the know will tell you that this revolution has been many years in the making.
It has only been within the last decade and with the rise of cloud hosting, that we have seen the integration of SaaS companies into the fabric of our working day, and now more than ever, their emergence into our private lives as well.
With the exponential rise in smart device ownership and increased Internet availability and connectivity across the globe, people’s everyday lives increasingly involve SaaS apps like Uber, Airbnb and Snapchat, who all deliver their technology via the cloud to millions across the globe.
To put the size of SaaS in monetary terms, recent figures have shown that SaaS products are forecasted to generate $106 billion in 2016. At these growth rates, the same study by Goldman Sachs has forecasted that spend through cloud computing platforms will grow by a phenomenal 30% between 2013 and 2018.
Big numbers, and positive proof of the impact that software as a service has, and is still having on the way we work and live our lives.
In the business world, it’s hard to move without bumping into other instances of SaaS.
Services delivered via the Internet now reduce admin in the workplace, automate tasks and allow businesses to easily outsource services to experts in their field.
We now access the Internet for payroll management, design software (like Adobe), web CMS, document management and storage – the list goes on and on.
It’s ubiquitous and there’s a good reason for that. It cuts down on time consuming paper-based tasks, improves efficiency and productivity so staff can get on with tasks that use their skills and talent. Ultimately, SaaS positively impacts the bottom-line of the business.
Salesforce is a great example of just how successful SaaS companies’ applications have been, becoming an almost de-facto standard in its field. It has completely supplanted Excel spreadsheets and Access databases for recording customer, prospect and contact details within a business.
It (and other solutions like it) provides a more secure, collaborative and efficient way of storing and accessing important and sensitive information. It is secure, can be accessed remotely and integrates into other complimentary solutions, like email services, marketing automation and accounts software.
Modern software delivered from the cloud can be accessed anywhere there is sufficient Internet bandwidth, usually on multiple devices, with back-up of critical data and the ability to integrate with other software programmes; a huge step-up from the disconnected, PC-based systems of old.
SaaS also offers more flexible payment terms than traditional on premise software, with monthly ‘pay-as-you-go’ plans widely available, to make things more palatable for the finance department.
No large upfront costs, complicated installation or special equipment is required. Sign-up online for instant access or download and pay as you consume the service with updates delivered incrementally keeping everyone on the latest versions of the software.
SaaS is big business, but that doesn’t mean that it’s easy to get right. The technology’s there to make it work, however, the success of a SaaS business rests on their ability to create an effective, robust and secure service that’s available 24/7.
Having an application that’s always online and performs well is essential to the welfare of any SaaS business. Ultimately, a web service that is unresponsive, unavailable and contains bugs, will annoy customers, damage brand reputation and lose the business money. One of the key elements to ensuring that this is avoided is the underlying IT infrastructure of the application.
Anyone running a SaaS business needs to be familiar with how it operates “behind the scenes” from an infrastructure perspective to avoid any potential performance and availability problems. This understanding, along with the selection of an appropriate hosting provider who has a good knowledge of the requirements of a SaaS application and the kind of service your business will need, makes all the difference.
If you’re a start-up SaaS business or already established and looking at your hosting provision, it’s well worth familiarising yourself with what to look for in a cloud provider.
Specialised cloud solutions for SaaS businesses need to offer flex and scale both from an infrastructure perspective and a commercial one, as well as providing the security you need to deliver your service with confidence to your users.
Removing large upfront costs for hosting supports start-ups lacking financial muscle, and resource-based or metered usage pricing will help keep costs under control in the early days, allowing you to scale up your service as you grow.
Security should always be a top priority to ensure that sensitive customer and business data processed or stored within your application is safe and managed compliantly. Your hosting provider should be able to offer these assurances about their cloud platform and back them up with the relevant accreditations and processes.
SaaS is all around us, in both our work and personal lives. It has revolutionised how we do business, and how companies service and communicate with their customers.
There’s a great deal to consider when it comes to effectively setting up and running a SaaS business, not least from a hosting perspective. Getting this right is one of the keys to creating the seamless, slick and secure service that users demand from SaaS applications.
To find out more about the specialist SaaS hosting solutions that Secura offer or to speak to some of the SaaS customers we already support, get in touch.
As Secura’s CTO, Dan is responsible for the team that design, build and maintain our cutting edge cloud hosting infrastructure. He is also the dishwasher police – stack it or else.
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