Software as a Service (SaaS)
Back in the day of the dinosaurs, we had to purchase physical software from retail stores and keep them organized in massive binders that filled heavy shelves in our office space. We also had to purchase and maintain expensive and huge server rooms so that our software worked for everyone. But then the exciting world of the Internet came into our lives and, with it, SaaS!
I don't mean sass, like some strutting their stuff with just the right amount of attitude, though sometimes that's great too! But SaaS, Software as a Service.
But what does Software as a Service mean?
Software as a service or SaaS is simply a bit of software that runs as a hosted service. You can also call SaaS "On-Demand software". SaaS is web hosted or based software that you and/or your company can use as needed. It is often subscription based per user, but some SaaS providers have other payment options such as company-wide contracts. Some SaaS applications are fully managed by the host company, while others provide you with your own dedicated cloud server for you to manage on your own. The main criterion for SaaS is that there is no physical hardware or software for you to deal with and it is web based.
What kind of programs can I find as SaaS?
Because the internet is endless, you can find just about ANY kind of software in SaaS form. Audio editing? Yup! Calendar and time tracking? Of course! Gaming organizing? Sure! Service Desk? Learning management? Payroll & HR management? Yes, yes, and yes!! If you have a software need, it probably exists as SaaS. In fact, most of the software you use today is probably SaaS. Even something as simple as Spotify; that's SaaS. You may even have the Spotify app, but it is a web-based software delivering music to you from a server that you don't manage.
How can I leverage SaaS for my business?
SaaS is particularly great for businesses. Most SaaS provide licensing on a per-user basis, so as your company grows or shrinks, you can adjust your needs accordingly. You don't have invest in thousands of dollars worth of software each year as new versions are released, because SaaS always provides you with the latest and greatest version. And because you don't own any of the physical infrastructure, it is much easier to migrate to another system if one doesn't work out.
What kind of SaaS do you recommend for my business?
Like I said, your choices for software are nearly endless, but some of the most common business needs can be met with SaaS. Project management is a huge one, especially if you run a remote or hybrid work environment. There are pros and cons to every software, but with a bit of shopping around, you can find what works for you. Personally, I've found that Trello offers a nice, streamlined project management experience; it has customizable cards, and you can create multiple boards to help better track your projects. Trello is especially nice if you're working with people inside and outside of your organization. If you have the Microsoft Office 365 suite, Planner is a great option for working within your organization, plus it's included as part of your enterprise plan so there is no extra cost. Asava has taken off lately and provides very nice visuals, plus the oft sought-after Gant Chart. You can even use a program like Airtable, which is primarily used for creating and maintaining relational databases but has the flexibility to be used as project management as well.
No matter your business needs, be sure to consider Software as a Service to provide your company with the flexible services to help your get ahead.