Software as a service, which is also known as SaaS, is generally considered being software applications which are hosted by a vendor on the Internet which could be shared by different users under on-demand terms. In some cases the package could also be downloaded by users which would run till the end of the term period. As an underlying technology, SaaS is growing to be one of the most prevalent delivery models which support Web services and service-oriented architecture (SOA). With the growth of broadband services, SaaS is being made available to more users around the world.
The On Demand Computing software delivery models and ASP (application service provider) are closely related to software as service products. SaaS has been identified as two slightly different delivery modules, the first one being the hosted application management (hosted AM) model which is similar to ASP, which is a commercially hosted module available and delivered over the net to actual users. The other one is software on demand model, in which the service provider gives network-based access of a single copy of the software application to users. This application has been created specifically for SaaS distribution.
Software as a service has several benefits, and the few important ones are as follows:-
* Easier administration
* Automatic updates and patch management
* Compatibility: All users will have the same version of software
* Easier collaboration, for the same reason
* Global accessibility
What if you want to start developing SaaS?
If you are having an ambition to start a SaaS business you would need to have technical as well as marketing skills in the team. Even if you are considering in contracting out a large portion of the software to a third party, you would still be requiring a technically savvy director or manager with your company. Considering that you have outsourced your software development part, you would still need to have the supervision by one of your experienced manager to find out if the development is going on well.
Marketing your software as a service should start long before you take up development of the software. This would especially be directed towards your competitor research and into SaaS already in the market, and the traditional software that your prospective customers use. You need to do extensive customer research, looking into the demographics of these target users. The information out of these two researches done is the most important data to have before you launch your development program.
Concerns of SaaS customers:
Software as a service is not an answer to every type of application and is not applicable to every user. For hosted services, some customers have reservations. They are reluctant to store their data on a remote server via the Internet, which were being stored in their hard disks before. There are specific security risks involved for sensitive data, and these customers worry about the privacy as well. In order to convince the customers of your services, you should be prepared to answer to all the questions raised by them and also convince them about the security that your service offers.