What Can SaaS Do for Your Business?

Posted on: March 21st, 2016 - Written by: Olivia Gregory

Business has seen the steady growth of SaaS (Software as a Service) solutions across all types of industries. Perhaps you’ve wondered as a business decision maker what SaaS can do to help make your operations more efficient and effective—leading to greater profit. We’d like to take a closer look at what SaaS is, why it’s so popular, and how you can pick a good SaaS product.

Defining SaaS

You may already understand what SaaS is, but here’s a basic definition from former Senior Editor for CIO.com, Meridith Levinson: SaaS is “software that’s developed and hosted by the SaaS vendor and which the end user customer accesses over the Internet. Unlike traditional packaged applications that users install on their computers or servers, the SaaS vendor owns the software and runs it on computers in its data center. The customer does not own the software but effectively rents it, usually for a monthly fee.”

What can SaaS solutions be used for?

The options for ways businesses can use SaaS solutions aren’t limitless—but the choices are pretty extensive and are only going to expand even more. The Wikipedia entry about Software as a Service
lists some applications for SaaS:

  • Messaging
  • Payroll processing
  • Management
  • CAD
  • Development
  • Accounting
  • Customer relationship management (CRM)
  • Enterprise resource planning (ERP)
  • Human resource management (HRM)
  • Talent acquisition
  • Invoicing

This list is not an exhaustive one by any means, but it gives a clarifying view of how versatile SaaS is for business use. In addition to SaaS’ being such a powerful model, it is also somewhat of a field-leveler because it is accessible to both large and small companies alike due to its inherent characteristics.

In fact, it could be argued that the flexibility and scalability of SaaS are what customers are coming to prefer and expect for their software needs. With a SaaS solution, a business typically gets fantastic software functionality at a price point that is quite agreeable, especially when compared with older legacy solutions.

In an article entitled “SaaS Solutions Bring a Sunny Forecast to Enterprise Businesses in 2016,” Fred Felman writes:

SaaS products are generally more agile than on-premise solutions, along with being more cost-effective and easier to implement and support.

Simply put, the SaaS model is more efficient. As businesses and users become accustomed to the greater speed and agility of SaaS solutions, not surprisingly, they come to prefer them.

With SaaS solutions, responsibilities for development, maintenance and support are borne by the software vendor, leaving the merchant free to devote their development and other resources to serving their customers and their company mission.

Convinced yet that SaaS solutions are a good fit for your business needs? We believe SaaS will continue to provide the above benefits to businesses of all sizes, across multiple industries. If you’re ready to invest in a SaaS product, how can you know which one is right for your business’s requirements? Picking the wrong product could quickly negate any cost savings you were hoping to bank. Here are three tips for picking a good SaaS product:

1) Make sure it does what you need it to do.

Seems like a simple thing, but it really is crucial. When you’re evaluating which SaaS solution (or maybe more than one!) might be what you need for your business, start by making a list of needed functionalities. Then prioritize that list—what’s most important? What can be compromised on? Once you have your list in hand, it’s time to start looking at features that different SaaS solutions offer. If you don’t find an off-the-shelf option, that’s okay. You might actually need a custom SaaS product designed specifically for you. (And if that’s the case, let’s talk—INSite specializes in this.)

2) Read the fine print.

This is especially important if you’re choosing an off-the-shelf SaaS option. What does the product include? What does it not include? This is where your prioritized list of required functionalities can really help streamline your decision—and help you avoid investing in something that won’t actually work for your business needs. If you’re uncertain about what is included in a SaaS package, make sure to ask. A reputable vendor or developer will not hesitate to answer your questions and help you find the best fit for a product you can use.

3) Find out what kind of support you’ll get from the vendor/developer of the product.

This is important whether you have an off-the-shelf SaaS solution or a customized one. Let’s say you’re a month in with your new, shiny SaaS product, and you experience a glitch. Maybe it’s a question about scalability. Perhaps the product isn’t delivering exactly the way you want it to, and you’re not sure if it’s an error on your part. Who can you contact for help? When picking a SaaS product (or a team to develop one for you), take a close look at what kind of support you’ll get after the sale is made.

Best wishes to you as you look at SaaS products and what they can do for your business. And if you need help with a particular kind of SaaS solution, feel free to contact INSite to see how we can help—we specialize in building custom SaaS products for our clients.

 

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