Software as a Service (SaaS)

What it is

Software as a service (SaaS) allows users to connect to and use cloud-based services over the Internet. Common examples are email, calendaring, and office tools (such as Gmail, Amazon Web Services, GitHub, Slack). SaaS provides complete software solutions on a pay-as-you-go basis. All operations and maintenance tasks, and application data, are handled by the service provider.

Problem it addresses

Traditionally, business software is installed on individual computers, requiring an admin to maintain and update. As an example: An organization may use on-premise software for customer relationship management (CRM). This software needs to be purchased, installed, secured, maintained, and regularly upgraded by the internal IT department, placing a burden on the IT team. The up front cost associated with licenses, installation, and potentially additional hardware can be prohibitive. It can also be difficult to respond to demand and scale up and down as needed quickly in response to growth or change.

How it helps

SaaS applications work without requiring any particular effort from your internal IT organization. They are installed, maintained, upgraded, and secured by the vendor. Issues of scale, availability, and capacity are handled by the service provider, and, with a pay-as-you-go model, they can be an affordable way for organizations to leverage enterprise applications.