18 March 2014
Click4Assistance - The Implications of SaaS Adoption
The rise of SaaS has been nothing short of meteoric, thanks to the execution, cost saving and accessibility benefits available with cloud-based multi-tenant solutions. The freedom to rent a service rather than set up an internal system has allowed businesses to mitigate risk and switch whole operations on or off as required.
As infrastructure technology continues to improve, so do the prospects for the SaaS market. Since its inception (circa 1960s) the technology has become the defining characteristic for Salesforce, Oracle, Amazon and Cisco. It has even proliferated to everyday products in the consumer landscape like Hotmail, Facebook and WhatsApp. Everything from live chat software, booking systems, databases to ERP systems are available in cloud-form.
The aggressive adoption of Software-as-a-Service is driven by a wide range of factors. The growth of related industries like web design, digital marketing and e-commerce platform for example. Likewise, web standards have become standardised enough to simplify development and allow new solution providers to challenge blue chip vendors. The number of broadband internet connections has also increased, enabling remote hosted applications to offer speeds comparable to on-premise software. Lightweight integration protocols (e.g. REST/SOAP) have also helped SaaS to link up with internal applications in a cost-effective way. For example, live chat software could be hooked up with a company’s ERP or CRM system to boost management information.
From a business standpoint, fewer resources need to be spent tackling software deployment issues. The shared nature of SaaS means that the hardware and software license costs are relatively low compared to traditional models with high set up and recurring maintenance costs.
Scalability and integration
The typical SaaS solution will reside in a scalable cloud environment where the provider is solely responsible for capacity planning and maintenance. Most products can also be scaled as the client business grows. One-off integrations can be costly but is still a cheap alternative to retaining an in-house developer to support an internal system.
Fixes and Upgrades
Upgrades and new iterations of the SaaS product are handled by the provider and are usually complimentary. It is not uncommon for loyal subscribers to provide feedback on the solution for the provider to then implement a fix or feature enhancement in response. Any new iterations of the software can then pushed to end-users.
SaaS offerings can be supplied alongside samples and a best practice guide to help users perform proof of concepts, functionality tests or try out new release features in advance. By operating more than one instance, providers can ensure that their clients experience a smooth migration from one SaaS version to another.
With the above advantages and its public, private and hybrid flavours, the SaaS of today has already marginalised the value of tradition software. In a proprietary IT business, where vendor lock-in is everything, SaaS is a refreshing alternative. But to understand the future of SaaS it’s important to take a closer look at the clouds on the virtual horizon.
The 21st century has seen an eruption of mobile devices and users now expect to access the same information on their smartphone and tablet as they did on their desktops. SaaS is in a position to adapt to this with responsive web design (RWD) and updates that are pushed to end-user devices.
Perhaps more important, the technology economy is leaning towards a consumption model where businesses are only willing to pay for what they use. This trend supports the SaaS model; where the product is hosted in the cloud and clients pay a monthly subscription fee to access it.
All good SaaS providers will adhere to UK’s data protection act and provide fully 128 bit SSL encrypted lines for all data communication. The provider will have the infrastructure in place to defend against DDoS and other attacks – taking on responsibility for the security, backup and integrity of stored data.
When SaaS can offer these benefits as well as cut waste, save labour and improve productivity it is easy to imagine cloud-based software replacing legacy solutions in their entirety for all but the most niche of industry verticals.
Clients like Mazda, 192.com and Harvey’s Furniture are already benefiting from these advantages with our SaaS chat technology. With over 8 years’ experience in Live chat software, Click4Assistance helps UK businesses to converse, monitor and engage with their online customers.