What is SaaS?

Software-as-a-Service or SaaS is a software distribution model where cloud providers host applications and make that data/service available to end users over the internet. SaaS is one of three categories of cloud computing. Alongside it you will find both infrastructure-as-a-service or SaaS and platform-as-a-service or SaaS. IT Professionals and both business and personal users use SaaS applications everyday. Some examples include office software to unified communications and entertainment apps cus as Microsoft 365, Google Apps, Netflix, and Slack.

A Quick History

The internet’s development and wider adaptation in the 1990s allowed for forerunners of SaaS business models. Application service providers (ASP) came with limitations and customers usually had to download software on their computers before being able to utilize the product. In the late 1990s, new SaaS models emerged through the deliver of more efficient ASP models where a single instance of an application could provide service to several users through multi-tenant architecture. This meant local installations were no longer required. SaaS models continued to evolve and dramatically so in the early 2000s. Today, we see SaaS in a number of different products and the capabilities of SaaS extending through embedded technologies like AI and machine learning, IoT, blockchain, augmented reality and virtual reality.

Advantages and Disadvantages

There are both advantages and disadvantages to SaaS models. Certain advantages include accessibility, compatibility, and operational management. SaaS models usually have lower upfront costs and can be more available to a wider range of businesses. Some disadvantages include the fact that SaaS products/services need an internet connection to operate though many have the capability to operate in offline-modes with basic functionality.

SaaS Capabilities

Modern SaaS products and services are highly capable. They can connect and optimize cross-functional or cross-departmental processes and can allow an enterprise to very clearly see a complete view of the entire organization. Modern SaaS can help clients access new updates as quickly as a SaaS business can roll them out while also scaling their own growth based on their own needs and timetables. Certain types of SaaS products/services can provide high customization options for their clients needs, whether for personal or business. Data can be moved, synced, shared, and transferred across SaaS applications. This can help any individual or company visualize, store, and/or analyze their data in many different methods. This means companies or individuals can determine patterns or gain insight into their own data analytics that they may find highly valuable. SaaS applications can leverage embedded technologies and emerge technologies continuously across an entire value chain for quick innovation. This can allow their clients to enhance their own productivity through both adaptive intelligence or through provided built-in self learning.

The Future of SaaS

There is an expected increase of high growth and the levels that SaaS can reach through innovation. The industry is projected to reach nearly $436.9 billion dollars in 2025 according to some reports. The various types of innovation may be seen through

-The adoption of AI solutions, which can include adaptive intelligence

-AI and machine learning through autonomous IT learning which can provide more autonomous management across an IT Stack

-Digital innovation through Chatbots, IoT, Digital Assistants, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality

-Cross-business visibility through Industry SaaS providing vertical depth and horizontal connectedness through interconnected solutions such as API, along with turnkey integrations for hybrid cloud solutions.

This is a very exciting space and one that we can all watch continue to evolve and grow. The capabilities and innovations in this space will adapt and change as new technologies emerge and tech itself continues on into new horizons.