SaaS aka Software-as-a-Service is the “new way” of providing software to users.
SaaS refers to those tools where users get their functionality on the web, on a rental basis. Instead of the “old way”, where these tools are generally bought, installed and run on computers in an office.
Benefits (compared to the old way)
- Low setup costs for users, low maintenance costs for software providers
- User self-serve and flexibility 1: ability to turn on more or less of the software as your business evolves, change system settings – for example add more users, add modules, change company-wide branding or update your user contact details
- User self-serve and flexibility 2: through the use of APIs, users can “build on” their systems, or add to functionality
- Ability for users of SaaS to get new updates, features, upgrades and bug fixes (see here) – very fast
- Ability for users to be assigned different permissions and roles from system tools to data access
- Speed: the time from decision to a live working system is short
- Simplicity: the “computer does the work”. Software providers are empowered with the tools to handle system complexity, so users don’t have to
- Ease of support for both users and providers of software. Users’ systems can be accessed by software providers on the web, and any issues or challenges can be easily reproduced
- Reliance on internet connection speeds. Internet is the fuel that software runs on. Bad internet equals slow software
SaaS applications are also known as web-based software, on-demand software and hosted software
For more info, please see Wikipedia