Software as a Service applications remove the need of software downloading or purchasing, manual installation, in-house database, technical knowledge needed for implementation, maintenance costs, networking costs, etc. Once subscribed, the service/application is implemented instantly and is accessible online though a secure internet connection. The software vendor (known as SaaS vendor) updates the applications regularly free of cost. The product is priced per user per month and thus can be easily estimated (once the expected number of users is estimated). As there no cost related to maintenance or for solving unexpected systems crashes, companies can be confident with their financial planning.
Except money savings, SaaS applications offer many other benefits especially to small businesses. They include the need of minimum technical knowledge, round the clock accessibility across the world, wireless solutions, easy customizable features, easy integration with existing and model business systems, improved user adoption, updated and advanced features and database, integrated contact management systems, real-time analytics and charts, open source solutions, and advanced event scheduling and planning tools. Like any other business system, the advantages one should get will solely depend upon the SaaS application he/she chooses and how he implements it.
Today, there are only a few type of SaaS solutions are available. The most popular and widely adopted SaaS application is On-Demand Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software. Other popular members of SaaS family include on-demand web conferencing systems, online data-sharing tools, online business scheduling tools, web based Sales Force Management (SFA) software, business account management systems, contact management systems, hosted PBX and VoIP systems, etc. There are both industry-specific systems and general customizable systems available. Many SaaS products now increasingly utilize free web based tools like free documenting, spreadsheet and visualizing tools to maximize the features they hold.
But still there are many things which check the rapid growth of SaaS industry. They include enterprise data security, data ownership, data sharing and data backup problems, increased cost with higher number of employees, hesitation to waste supporting systems and capital spent to implement traditional systems, unavailability of specific products to specific functions, etc.