SaaS makes it possible to operate a system at a lower cost than a traditional on-premise system. However, some people may not understand the points to keep in mind when implementing SaaS or how to operate the system after implementation. In this article, I will explain in detail the benefits and cautions of SaaS implementation. If you need to incorporate SaaS into your system, or if you want to deepen your understanding of SaaS, this article is for you.
Table of Contents:
- What is SaaS?
- Advantages of implementing SaaS
- Points to Keep in mind when implementing SaaS
What is SaaS?
SaaS is an abbreviation for Software as a Service. It refers to a system that provides users with software that runs on the vendor's side, using the Internet or other networks, rather than installing the software on the user's side as in the past.
While traditional software is provided as a packaged product, SaaS is provided in the form of service, allowing users to keep their software up-to-date, minimizing maintenance costs and other benefits.
Difference between IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS
Before explaining the differences between SaaS and IaaS, let's first briefly review the definitions of each.
IaaS is an abbreviation for Infrastructure as a Service. Unlike SaaS, which includes the application usage environment, IaaS is a service that provides hardware and infrastructure such as servers, storage, and networks. Representative services include Amazon's Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) and Microsoft's Microsoft Azure.
PaaS, on the other hand, is an abbreviation for Platform as a Service. PaaS refers to a service that provides a database and program execution environment for running application software. Representative services include Amazon's AWS Elastic Beanstalk and Google's Google App Engine (GAE).
In a nutshell, the difference between the three is the layer of architecture: SaaS provides everything from applications to storage and networking in one package. SaaS provides everything from applications to storage and networking in one package, while IaaS and PaaS do not provide any applications, and their services are somewhat limited.
With SaaS, the software is provided in a complete form, so there is no need for development costs, implementation, maintenance, and operation. On the other hand, SaaS is not as flexible as IaaS or PaaS because it is already complete.
Advantages of SaaS implementation
So what are the specific benefits of implementing SaaS? Let's take a closer look below.
The second benefit of implementing SaaS is cost reduction.
In the case of on-premise, as mentioned earlier, the hardware is required to be at its maximum usage state based on the application workload being used. Simply put, the higher the specifications required for an application, the more hardware performance is required. Naturally, the higher the performance, the higher the cost.
This is not limited to hardware. Similarly, some software and applications are expensive. If you continue to use it and make a significant contribution to your sales, you can expect a higher return on investment, but it may be too expensive if you want to try it.
In that respect SaaS, most of the products are on a monthly or pay-as-you-go plan. In other words, no matter how much you use it, your monthly usage will not change (monthly charge system), or you will be charged for what you use (pay-as-you-go system), so you do not have to worry about the cost as long as you operate it in a planned way.
Since you only pay for what you actually use, you are freed from unnecessary costs, which leads to cost savings.
One of the first advantages of implementing SaaS is the speed of implementation.
With packaged products, you need to install the software you want to use, which can take a lot of time depending on the product, but with SaaS, the application runs on your browser, so there is no need to install or configure anything. The speed at which you can use the service immediately after applying and creating an account is very appealing.
In addition, compared to "on-premise," where the user installs conventional hardware on their own or in a data center, the need for infrastructure construction, maintenance, and servicing can be eliminated, leading to faster implementation.
Preparing hardware for system deployment and setting up middleware took a lot of time, preventing speedy development.
With SaaS, the vendor's servers are always running securely, so you can start using it immediately after signing a contract. Another main advantage is that the vendor will do everything necessary to run the application.
Can be used from anywhere with an internet connection
The third advantage of SaaS implementation is that it can be used from anywhere as long as there is an Internet connection.
In the case of conventional packaged software, it was essential to use the software on a specific terminal, as it could basically only be used on the terminal on which it was installed.
With SaaS, however, the data is stored on the Internet (cloud) and can be accessed from any device. It can be accessed not only on PCs but also on smartphones and tablets, making it highly scalable.
Also, in the unlikely event that your device breaks down or is hit by a disaster, the data is stored in the cloud, so everything will not disappear. This is also an advantage that was unthinkable in the traditional way.
Points to keep in mind when implementing SaaS
While there are many advantages to SaaS, a few things to keep in mind when implementing it. It is important to understand both the advantages and disadvantages before considering implementation.
The first point to note about SaaS is the lack of customizability.
As mentioned earlier, SaaS is inexpensive, but the drawback is that it is not very customizable since it is provided in a pre-built state. Therefore, you need to make sure that the functions of the service you plan to implement are compatible with your business.
There may be too many functions to know how to use, or it may not have the features you need. Make sure to check in advance so that you don't end up spending more man-hours than necessary even though you implemented the system to improve business efficiency.
The Future of SaaS Vendors
The second thing to keep in mind about SaaS is the future of SaaS vendors.
While SaaS has the advantage of being network and server independent, there is also the possibility that the service will be shut down suddenly one day.
If that happens, companies that rely on SaaS for most of their business will be hit hard. Therefore, it is essential to select a SaaS that has a future.
Because there are multiple options, it is important to compare and consider from all perspectives. Be sure to thoroughly check the company's vision and user support to avoid having the service terminated.
The third point to note about SaaS is a security risk.
SaaS has many advantages, such as improving business efficiency and storing data in the cloud, but without adequate security measures, it can lead to problems such as data leakage.
First, it is essential to select a service that matches your company's security policy. After that, it is necessary to decide within the company as well "how to manage IDs and passwords" and "how to control access such as authority control and multi-step authentication."
Security problems such as data leakage can bring a company's credibility down to the ground in an instant. Not only that, but in some cases, there is a risk of being sued for huge damages, so it is necessary to take adequate security measures.
SaaS is convenient for many companies because it is low-cost, speedy to deploy, and accessible on various devices. However, if sufficient security measures are not taken, it may result in damaging corporate social credibility.
For this reason, it's important to select the services that match your company's needs, including your own security policies.