The term cloud computing comes up a lot these days. In short, it refers to the act of connecting with online services to store and manage data. Through cloud computing, businesses can streamline processes and find resources tailored to niche demands. Providers host solutions for all industries and applications. Most things once in-house now exist somewhere in the cloud.
Software as a Service (Saas) is the model through which businesses and consumers cloud compute. A developer lists a solution online for rent, a people periodically for it. This contrasts software purchasing on a single or multi-use download agree.
Renting takes many forms. The two subscription models below are the most popular.
- Usage-based SaaS subscriptions: Businesses pay a rate determined by their use. Most pay-as-you-go plans come with several tiers for ultimate flexibility. For example, a cloud-storage service might charge x-amount for 2GB and y-amount for 4GB. Anything above the top threshold would cost a fixed price.
- Seat-based SaaS subscriptions: Some services do not operate on a per-resource basis. Instead, they focus on account size. Seat licenses refer to the number of users under a specific plan. A two-seat license equals two logins / authorized users. An example of this model might be a CRM platform. The first tier includes 3 users and the next level 10.
Through subscriptions, businesses attain greater financial flexibility. An on-premise solution costs a certain amount upfront—usage makes little different afterward. That is, unless the demand grows above its capacity, an issue we discuss in this article.
SaaS Boasts Considerable Cost Incentives besides Saving on Overhead and Staff
The subscription models above illustrate the economy of SaaS. It scales up or down depending on the demand, allowing businesses to grow or shrink without pain.
Since the provider supports the solution, businesses needn’t allocate resources to the technology’s upkeep. They can also eliminate extraneous expenses like maintenance, repairs, and upgrades.
Most services offer risk-free packages. First-time customers can try out the solution for several days before committing. Unfortunately, on-premise systems allow for no such thing. Unless renting the equipment, return policies are typically not trial-friendly.
Users Can Access Cloud Computing Solutions from Any Network or Device
The modern worker leaves his or her desk frequently throughout the day. In fact, the traditional workplace doesn’t even exist for many companies. Telecommuting continues to grow in popularity, making the need for cloud computing even greater.
SaaS reduces productivity anxieties many employers harbor. Employees can work from anywhere in the world and log their progress as if in the office. Before cloud computing, workers might have had “lite” versions of office resources remotely. Now, all heavy lifting happens through the provider’s infrastructure, delivering an unchanged experience point-to-point.
Regarding accessibility, another boon is that SaaS solutions are immune to local failures. An IT crisis in the office does not affect cloud technology. To illustrate this point, consider hosted phone solutions. Should the internet crash, the phone system continues to run. Only the devices themselves disconnect. This makes failover easy to another IT service or temporary network (i.e. hotspot).
Cloud Computing Alleviates Security Woes and Solves Compatibility Issues
Cloud-based providers are conscious of other products their consumers might use. When applicable, they might even develop integrations for a more seamless user experience.
SaaS services cater to a range of technical specifications to allow everyone to connect. They circumvent traditional hardware and software limitations for better interoperability. By hosting through a browser or other online system, many compatibility concerns are irrelevant.
Another pain-point companies have with on-premise solutions is vulnerabilities. SaaS providers take control of security relating to the use of their solution. Of course, this does not mean that local security measures do not matter.
For extra protection, cloud-computing services typically offer integrated backup and restore functions. Whether these measures come included is up to the provider. Regardless, any subscription package has a service level agreement (SLA). This document outlines the responsibilities of both provider and consumer. Uptime is often a clause in this agreement (i.e. a 99% guarantee).
A Modern User Experience That Evolves with the Technology
Technology displaces itself at a scary pace. Upfront investments in hardware and software now carry significant risk. What is innovative today might become obsolete in a year. This is not an exaggeration either.
With SaaS, updates and upgrades happen automatically. In reducing the technical demands of the user, cloud computing caters to a wider range of skills. For this reason, most solutions are intuitive. They strike a balance between simplicity and complexity, giving options to the new and experienced.
Much development goes into the user experience of SaaS products. Our own hosted phone solution, for example, uses a drag-and-drop editor for call-flow. Rather than figuring out the intricacies of Voice-over-IP, users just click a few icons.
The UI experience affects the usefulness of a product. It’s often a reason for choosing one product over another. Many SaaS solutions excel in this area.
Providers are also beginning to improve the documentation of their products. Thanks to stringent search engine requirements, tech companies are producing tons of quality content. But knowledge centers are only one way in which providers offer support. As outlined in the SLA, there’s often a bevy of tools and resources for optimizing the products.