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Software As A Service: What Is SaaS? Here’s A Look At How It Helps The World Around Us

Software as a service (SaaS), also known as ‘On-Demand Software’ is a software distribution model that allows users to connect to and use cloud-based apps over the Internet and is provided on a subscription basis. The software is available on external servers rather than on servers located in-house. Some examples of SaaS include email, Google Apps, calendaring and office tools such as Microsoft Office 365. One can access SaaS through a web browser. The user need not install the software on the computer but can access the program through the Internet.

What is XaaS? What Are Its Examples?

Some of the basic services provided by SaaS providers include business services, social networks, mail services, and document management. 

According to Microsoft, SaaS provides a complete software solution that one can purchase on a pay-as-you-go basis from a cloud service provider, a third-party company offering a cloud-based platform, infrastructure, application, or storage services. People can rent the use of an app for their organisation and their users can connect it over the Internet, usually with a web browser. The underlying infrastructure, app software, and app data are located in the service provider’s centre. 

SaaS is a type of XaaS (anything as a service), a collective term that refers to the delivery of anything as a service. XaaS describes a general category of services related to cloud computing and remote access and comprises the vast number of products, tools, and technologies that are delivered to users as a service over the Internet.

SaaS, PaaS (Platform as a service), and IaaS (Infrastructure as a service) are the most common examples of XaaS. 

PaaS

PaaS providers deliver hardware and software tools to users over the Internet, examples of which include Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google App Engine. AWS is an online platform providing cost-effective and scalable cloud computing services, provides more than 200 fully featured services from data centres across the world, and is the world’s most comprehensive cloud platform. It includes a picture of IaaS, PaaS, and packaged software as SaaS offerings.

Google App Engine is Google’s platform as a service offering that allows developers to build and run applications using the tech giant’s advanced infrastructure and provides all the required elements to run and host web applications. 

PaaS providers deliver preconfigured virtual machines and other resources for application development and testing, American marketing company TechTarget says on its website. 

IaaS

IaaS is a form of cloud computing that provides virtualized computing services over the Internet, and offers essential computing, storage, and networking resources on demand. Thus, IaaS manages the lowest levels of network infrastructure including storage and servers. Examples of IaaS include Google Compute Engine, which delivers configurable virtual machines running in Google’s data centres with access to high performance. A virtual machine is a digital version of a physical computer that can run programmes and operating systems, store data, and connect to networks. Google Compute Engine allows customers to use powerful virtual machines in the Cloud as service resources instead of managing server hardware. 

SaaS provides offerings such as hosted applications, development tools, database management, business analytics, operating systems, servers and storage, networking security or firewalls, and data centre physical buildings. PaaS provides all these features except hosted applications. IaaS provides servers and storage, networking security, and data centre physical plants. 

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SaaS: Services offered

SaaS provides services such as document management, business services, social networks, and mail services. 

Business services: SaaS provides business services such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), CRM (Customer Relationship Management), billing and sales, according to programming language tutorial site javaTpoint.

Social Networks: Service providers of social networking sites use SaaS to handle the general public’s information. 

Document Management: SaaS providers offer document management to create, manage, and track electronic documents. Some examples include Slack, Box, and Zoho Forms.

Mail Services: Email providers offer their services using SaaS to handle the unpredictable number of users and load on email services.

Outlook, Hotmail and Yahoo! are examples of SaaS. One can use these services to log into their account over the Internet. The email software is located on the service provider’s network and one’s messages are stored there as well. People can access their email and stored messages from a web browser, any computer, or Internet-connected device. 

Other Services: Productivity apps such as calendaring and sophisticated business applications such as document management can be rented for organisational use. One can pay for the use of these apps by subscription. 

Other services provided by SaaS include auditing functions, automating sign-up for products and services, and shared company calendars for scheduling events.

One of the most popular examples of SaaS is Google Docs, which one can use by logging in on a web browser for instant access, and can write, edit and even collaborate with others, from anywhere across the world. 

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SaaS: Advantages

Some of the advantages of SaaS include access to sophisticated applications, access to app data from anywhere, and use of free client software, among others. 

Also, SaaS is easy to implement, easy to update and debug, and can be less expensive. This is because users pay for SaaS as they go instead of purchasing multiple software licensees for multiple computers, according to business website Investopedia. 

People can save money by using SaaS because the service automatically scales up and down according to the level of usage. 

One of the biggest advantages of SaaS is that people can run most SaaS apps directly from their web browser, without needing to download or install any software. 

According to Microsoft, SaaS makes it easy for an organisation to mobilise the workforce because users can access SaaS apps and data from any internet-connected computer or mobile device. Also, one does not need to worry about developing apps to run on different types of computers and services because the service provider has already done so.

Since user data is stored in the Cloud, they can access their information from any Internet-connected computer or mobile device. Also, no data is lost if a user’s computer or device fails because app data is stored in the Cloud. 

SaaS: Disadvantages

The drawbacks of SaaS include increased security risks, slower speed, lack of customisation, and loss of control. Since data is stored on external servers, companies have to be sure that it is safe and cannot be accessed by unauthorised parties. 

Internet dependency is one of the biggest disadvantages of SaaS because most SaaS applications are not usable without an internet connection.

SaaS in India

A recent study conducted by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Ernst & Young Global Limited (EY), a London-based professional services partnership, said that India is home to about 100-plus unicorns across different segments and that the country is rapidly emerging as a hub for SaaS startups. 

The study titled ‘India: The next global SaaS capital’ stated that India is poised to become the global SaaS capital over the next few years. Small and Medium Businesses are likely to become SaaS providers. 

According to the study, the Indian SaaS market is expected to grow multifold by 2025. 

The Indian SaaS market currently accounts for two to four percent of the global SaaS market. By 2025, the Indian SaaS market is likely to account for seven to 10 percent of the global SaaS market.

India is currently the third-largest SaaS ecosystem in the world.



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