“Software as a service” is making computer news these days – but what’s in it for your small business? Is SaaS just a nerdy fad or does it really have a place in your business? SaaS, far from being a passing phase, has the capability to jump start your business. Do saving time and money while increasing efficiency sound good to you? The list of SaaS’s benefits starts there … and grows.
As you may know, SaaS is a new method of software delivery. Instead of the conventional model in use since the 90s – software which is installed onto your firm’s computers from purchased disks or downloads – SaaS is Web-based, offering access to the information you need on a subscription basis. All you have to do is sign up and log on. In fact, you are probably using one or more simple, free forms of SaaS already – online banking or webmail, perhaps.
Far from being pie-in-the-sky or only for Fortune 500-ers, SaaS makes sense for every enterprise, regardless of size. Besides a very impressive cost-benefit ratio, it allows small businesses room to expand and to compete with large corporations. Omri Erel, Marketing Director for walkme.com and self-proclaimed SaaS Addict, has to say on the subject: “SaaS by design is actually far more convenient for small businesses than any classical software model out there.”
Keep Your Customers Happy
Software as a service is gaining ground most rapidly in the field of customer relations management. By 2011, 35% of CRM software was SaaS-platform based. Gartner’s Market Trends forecasts that that percentage will rise to over 50% as of 2016.
To update an old saw, why pay for the cow when you can rent the milk for much less? A relatively modest monthly payment gives you feature-rich computer services. For example, desktop applications similar to the popular Microsoft Office suite are available without the hefty licensing fee. And you completely avoid having to make an enormous initial investment in servers and infrastructure. What’s more, you benefit from your service provider’s economies of scale. IT costs are uniform and predictable.
For most small business operators, software is a waste of time – literally. The amount of hours your employees invest in searching for, installing, maintaining and updating software could be better spent, simply put, on doing their jobs. Add to that staff time spent waiting for IT to deal with any problems that arise and you’ve got a serious productivity drain on your hands. By contrast, SaaS makes the latest version of the software you need available instantly, whenever you need to access it.
Make that wherever you need to access it, as well. You are no longer limited to just the on-site desktop computers in your office, but can conveniently get at essential information from your mobile or tablet literally anywhere you happen to be – such as a hotel room or an airport.
Be Consistent, Be Flexible
Whether on the road, in your new branch office or meeting in a client’s boardroom, all your staff will have access to the same data. For instance, the latest Excel spreadsheet on up-to-the-minute budget figures is available without jumping through hoops to get it. This opens the door to greater flexibility in collaborating with a team that may include your employees, clients and resource personnel, all working together on a project from different locations, yet all on the same page. Updates to software and information are applied across the board. Companies with work from home and flexible hours policies will find this equally convenient.
Another aspect of SaaS flexibility is the capability to scale up as your company grows, without large budgetary outlays for upgraded software or IT assistance.
Your information is protected with state of the art standards of security and encryption technology when you use SaaS. A lost or stolen laptop or a hard drive crash will no longer spell disaster. Every file is automatically backed up, so your valuable data will be safe.
The monetary savings associated with the subscription model, access to the best computers and most cutting edge software around plus efficiency, security, flexibility and ease of use leave only one question to be answered – how can you afford not to upgrade to SaaS?