The software as a service (SaaS) model is greatly being adopted by many companies across the globe. This service model reduces the burden for companies in setting up a local server, hosting an application, acquiring a software license and maintaining them, as all these things are taken care of by a third-party service provider. These services are then provided to organizations or individuals over the internet for which the client has to pay on a subscription basis.
The SaaS model provides great flexibility when it comes to payment as it requires no upfront bulk amounts to be paid and helps in scaling up the business by eliminating the need to invest in hardware, which can rather be invested in developing the product. Besides all these advantages, the fact the services are provided by a third-party service provider makes the data vulnerable to cyberthreats and data leakage. Hence it is important to select the right saas platform that protects data with high-security standards and provides customer privacy. Before starting with selecting a suitable SaaS platform, it is essential to know the types of SaaS software as this could provide a deeper understanding of what kind of services is suited for the company or individual purposes.
Types of SaaS Softwares
There are several types of SaaS software that can be very beneficial to businesses/individuals, namely CRM software, ERP software, accounting software, PM software and email marketing software.
SaaS-based CRM (Customer Relationship Management) solutions help in increasing the efficiency of the businesses especially when it comes to startups. CRM software solutions also greatly help in knowing the customers’ demands which in turn will develop a long-term relationship with the customers.
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Software
ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) software is built for the purpose of managing day-to-day business activities such as analytics, inventory management and human resources (HR) management. ERP solutions can be highly beneficial for companies that work within the supply chain as they help in maintaining a track of manufacturing and distribution chains.
SaaS accounting software is a cloud-based accounting application hosted by the service provider that can securely be accessed from a mobile device or a computer. Accounting software can be linked with the client’s bank account to keep track of the invoices.
Project Management Software
Project management (PM) software is specifically designed to manage the workflow and increase productivity within the teams with the help of tracking and collaboration tools. These applications can be connected with other platforms by API or custom integration.
Email marketing software
Email marketing software is designed for purpose of marketing via email. These applications offer various services, tools and resources that can be used to gain customers through email by designing and building customized email templates.
Key factors to look for while selecting a SaaS platform
The SaaS platform that you are looking for has to be compatible with all the other existing applications so that it would reduce the need to toggle between multiple applications to get the work done and increases productivity by saving time spent on shifting between applications. Many business-based SaaS platforms these days offer applications that can be easily integrated and customized with the product that they provide.
2) Customizable and scalable SaaS-solutions
SaaS products and services, being greatly adopted by many companies, should be able to provide more customizable solutions according to the changing needs of the customers without compromising the ability to scale up the business. Although customization increases the time of implementation, it is essential in scaling up the business or addressing a specific use case.
3) Cross-platform deployment
The most common misconception with the implementation of SaaS solutions is that it only requires a proper internet connection to function well. That being said, it is also necessary to ensure that the solution works as intended in all OS environments such as Windows, Mac and Linux and should also be browser compatible. On an additional note, these services must also be accessible from devices like mobile phones and tablets and still be able to solve their purpose.
4) Ensuring if the product is purely SaaS
A SaaS solution must require only a browser to function and everything else functions over the cloud. Among many SaaS solutions in the market, there are also hybrid solutions. It is easy to identify a hybrid solution. If the solution requires additional software to be installed on the system locally for it to function properly, then it is a hybrid solution. This does not solve the purpose of implementing SaaS solutions as hybrid solutions might cost higher than SaaS solutions and a part of it has to be constantly updated and maintained locally.
5) Pricing models
SaaS solutions offer flexible pricing methods where the payment can be done on a monthly-subscription method rather than paying a one-time upfront fee. Some SaaS solutions offer variable pricing methods based on usages such as the number of users, the services used or the amount of bandwidth used. If a non-profit organization is looking for multi-year contracts, they can be provided with discounts on request.
6) Customer/client support
The SaaS provider must offer quality support to the clients. To ensure if the provider offers satisfactory support and services, it is advisable to do a trial. Most companies today offer limited trial periods which can be helpful for the clients in understanding the support model and the services provided. Contacting the existing customers is also a good idea as it could be a real-world experience.
7) Exit options
It is always best to have an exit plan for everything, especially when it comes to business. In case you are not satisfied with your current SaaS provider and want to choose another solution, the current provider must be able to export all the data related to your company, including customer details, account details, customization, etc…In some cases, a SaaS provider might hold on to the pieces of your data for a certain period of time. If this is against your company’s data policies, you can request them to remove all of your data from their servers. If you are looking to adopt new SaaS solutions, make sure that the provider offers exit options that are properly mentioned in the document.
Even the traditional business vendors have taken steps towards digitizing their business by adopting SaaS-solutions. Selecting the right SaaS platform for your business is very important as most of the heavy work like accounting, marketing and coordinating the teams is done for you by your service provider. This frees up valuable resources while you can focus on developing your product and scaling up your business simultaneously.
According to BMC’s report, SaaS services are expected to generate a revenue of about $140,629 million by 2022.