Frequently Asked Questions
SaaS is a method of software delivery that allows data to be accessed from any device with an Internet connection and web browser. In this web-based model, software vendors host and maintain the servers, databases and code that constitute an application. This is a significant departure from the on-premise software delivery model. First, companies don’t have to invest in extensive hardware to host the software, and this in turn, allows buyers to outsource most of the IT responsibilities typically required to troubleshoot and maintain the software. The SaaS vendor takes care of it all.
In addition to allowing remote access via the web to the software applications and data, SaaS also differs from on-premise software in it’s pricing model. On-premise software is typically purchased through a perpetual license, which means buyers own a license to the software. They also pay 15% to 20% per year in maintenance and support fees. SaaS, on the other hand, allows buyers to pay an annual or monthly subscription fee, which typically includes the software license, support and most other fees. A major benefit of SaaS is being able to spread out costs over time.
When SaaS applications first emerged, customization was very limited. Everyone got the same solution and had to adapt their business processes to the software they received. Today, it’s becoming much easier and more common to customize your SaaS systems. And in fact, there are now armies of consultants that specialize in tweaking SaaS applications to fit your business processes.
Buyers can customize the UI to change the look and feel of the program, as well as modify specific areas, such as data fields, to alter what data appears. Several business process features can also be turned off and on at will. However, the ability to tailor SaaS software still isn’t what it is for on-premise solutions. As the SaaS market matures, software vendors are investing more in development to provide more customization and flexibility that companies are accustomed to with on-premise software. Of course, all of this varies by application and vendor; some are further ahead than others.