The use of software to expedite business activities is increasingly common nowadays. The reason is simple: it makes a lot of work that was previously done manually easier. The time saved can be used for many other productive activities. In general, the function of SaaS or software as a service is the same.
SaaS is increasingly being used, both by companies and individuals. Maybe you’ve used it too (without realizing it was SaaS). Some of the SaaS that are quite popular today are Dropbox, Google Docs, Spinbackup, Microsoft Office 364, and Canva. The market value of this product continues to increase from year to year. According to Statista, in 2015 the figure only touched US$31.4 billion, while this year it is estimated to reach US$171.9 billion.
This article will discuss this technology that is being loved, especially the functionality of Saas for business.
What Is A Saas Application?
One of the institutions that are often referred to when talking about SaaS is the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), which is part of the United States Department of Commerce. They define SaaS as an application that runs on a cloud infrastructure that clients can access via various devices such as a browser connected to the internet.
Robert Michon in The Complete Guide to Software as a Service: Everything You Need to Know about Saas (2017) mentions several main characteristics of SaaS, which also explains how SaaS works.
Because it utilizes the cloud, to enjoy SaaS functionality, consumers do not need to download and install software on a computer. All can be accessed via a standard browser that is connected to the internet. Because it can also be accessed anywhere and anytime, or in other words, it is more accessible.
SaaS consumers only need to learn how the application is used. They don’t need to understand and even take care of the system as a whole, for example how to store data and server capabilities, because that is the domain of the service provider.
Second, clients can use it by subscription. Usually per month. Some provide it for free, but usually, the features and functions of SaaS are limited. This is also what differentiates SaaS from other commercial software, where you have to buy a license to use it – often at a high price.
Historically, SaaS was created to overcome weaknesses in standard software. Michon even calls SaaS a marker “the end of software”. It was first coined by Vice President of Oracle, Marc Benioff, in 1996. Its product, Salesforce, was given the “no software” logo.
The third characteristic is that all SaaS users use the same codebase. Because it uses the same code base, customization is usually limited. Even so, don’t worry that the default SaaS function is not optimal. Usually, the default facilities that have been provided are more than sufficient.
What Are The Advantages Of Saas?
SaaS is one of the three main categories of cloud computing. The other two are Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and Platform as a service (SaaS). For focus, we won’t be discussing the other two.
However, it should be underlined that SaaS products are most often marketed to users of Business to Business (B2B) and Business to Consumer (B2C) compared to the other two. In other words, most suitable for business development.
Here are some SaaS functions that are very useful when implemented in business:
Make Work Easier
There are many types of SaaS applications circulating with their respective specifications. For example, SaaS for financing or SaaS for human resource management. Regardless of the specifications of each, in general, the function of SaaS is to facilitate related jobs because it automates manual work and integrates it into one platform.
Take for example Spenmo, a SaaS engaged in the payment sector. If, for example, all this time managing the payment of an invoice is a difficult matter because it involves a lot of documents, with Spenmo the customer just has to upload the relevant documents on the dashboard and the payment will be made automatically after being approved.
Spenco is also capable of making various other business payments, both domestic and foreign, such as rent costs and even paying employee salaries. Because in real-time financial conditions can be known exactly when needed.
More than that, this SaaS function also facilitates financial recording because it is integrated with accounting software.
The consequence of automation is reduced work time. Of course, with more free time available, businesses can do other more productive things.
Apart from automation, time can also be cut because SaaS has been “installed” and configured in such a way by the service provider. This is different from traditional software which requires time to install and even build various configurations before it can be used. The business just provides training time for staff to understand the overall operation and functionality of the SaaS.
A good company can seize opportunities to save and provide a larger budget for posts that are needed. Savings can be done by using SaaS.
To use traditional–installed on a computer–genuine software, businesses must pay expensive licensing fees. Of course, this is not recommended, especially if the business scale is still small. Meanwhile, to enjoy SaaS functions, a business only needs to subscribe to a service provider at a relatively much lower cost.
In addition, if you use traditional software, the company must prepare an IT team to maintain it. With SaaS, that’s no longer necessary. Once again, it is the service provider who takes care of the application. The user’s task is only to study it carefully for maximum use.
Businesses also don’t need to worry about maintenance costs that generally have to be allocated to traditional software. This fee will be taken from the subscription fee by the service provider.
Anyone can enjoy SaaS functions anywhere and anytime as long as there is internet access. It doesn’t matter whether you access it via Windows, Mac, Linux, and even Android or iOS. The company also does not need to provide additional costs for procuring hardware which in turn saves costs again.
SaaS that can be accessed anywhere makes business more flexible and decisions can be made quickly if needed.
Increased access is even beneficial for employees who work in companies that use SaaS. Back to using the Spenmo example. The function of this SaaS is being able to make employees monitor their reimbursement status along with payment schedules directly on their respective electronic devices. Knowing when our money is being paid by the company is, of course, a relief.
Qualified access is not even affected if, for example, the service provider updates its software. This is certainly different from ordinary software, which when updated may not even be used at all.
The last function of SaaS in this article is that it makes analysis easy. Service providers will provide users with access to general data. For example, the amount of money that has been allocated and the smoothness of vendor payments in payment SaaS, or how the performance and work schedule of an employee in resource management SaaS.
This data is of course important for a company. The benefit is to evaluate existing policies – aka make improvements – to make new regulations. If the SaaS used is accounting software, it can even be useful for viewing financial performance over a year. This is not only useful for business owners, but also for employees and investors.
The SaaS function as a whole can offer many advantages for businesses, not only for owners but also for other related parties. Using it now increases the company’s potential to develop in a better direction.