Technology often comes to the rescue in helping today’s businesses run efficiently, maximizing time and profit.
Traditional business models are revolutionized by developments in cloud computing that have exploded onto the scene in recent years, especially in the way we exchange information. One key development is Software as a Service.
Traditionally, providing productivity software to your team meant paying a king’s ransom for one disc and replicating it to as many desktops as the program allows. But improvements in cloud computing and networks have enabled businesses to change how they distribute productivity materials to their team. Software as a Service (SaaS) allows you to go online, choose an application and either have your employees use the same site or have it patched through and governed by your IT team, depending on the size of your business and complexity of your network.
Sometimes, the software is FREE! Sounds like a dream, doesn’t it?
Not so fast. Before you abandon the old on premise software approach to follow a trend, the point de départ is to consider whether or not SaaS is better for your company.
Here are a few points to consider when choosing your productivity software delivery mode:
· What size is your company? How many workstations need to access the software?
SaaS is ideal for small and mid-sized businesses because it can be more cost-effective than the Software as a Product approach. Most free web-based applications are scalable to cover a few workstations, but more complex and enterprise level applications usually come with a subscription fee.
· What kind of software do you need?
Will your business use it for auxiliary purposes such as having a supply of design templates or will it play the more major role of processing and exchanging valuable data? If you need a simpler application just to cut down on some up-front costs, SaaS may be just what you’re looking for.
The Internet is full of SaaS brokers who host as many as hundreds of types of software that caters to everything from simple to complex operations. Compare the cost of an online subscription with just buying an on premise product and see which one is more cost effective for your needs. Note that some SaaS applications are limited in their functionality, and you may be better off sticking with tried and true on premise software.
· Will the new cloud-based software interact properly with legacy applications?
If you rely on older software, your new cloud-based application will need to interact with it. Most designers understand this and tailor their software to interface with older applications and operating systems.
· Do you have an IT team to oversee network security, or will it be your job as the business owner?
This is a biggie. The online application is hosted and maintained by a remote server - which is maintained by someone you did not hire and will likely never meet. The idea of putting your company online to pick product from a tree that you can’t supervise has you biting your nails, right? Is it really safe to entrust the security of a business to some unknown host?
The benefit to you is that someone on the other end is maintaining the program’s site and updating it, but at the same time this is also a drawback. Data security, application security and deployment security are the major concerns any business has to look at when using SaaS. For example, a false security certificate could be a hacker’s key into your sensitive data. You can evaluate risk rating before choosing a product.
Using SaaS can maximize business efficiency, but before you get into a contract with a vendor, make sure to read all the fine print. Consider all your business needs and make sure the terms aren’t only in favor of the software vendor.