SaaS Platform Frequently Asked Questions
SaaS stands for Software as a Service (aka cloud application services), and is the most widely used type of cloud service. After reading through the below FAQs, you should gain a better understanding for SaaS and the reasons why organizations may choose to utilize a SaaS platform.
Software as a service is a very common cloud computing deliver model for business applications within an enterprise. SaaS offerings span all types of use case, including email and social collaboration, customer relationship management (CRM), enterprise resource planning (ERP), human resources management (HRM), and content management, just to name a few.
Through a SaaS model, data can be accessed from any device that has an internet connection and web browser. In the web-based method, a software vendor will host and maintain the servers, databases, and code that make up an application. This saves companies a tremendous amount of money since they no longer have to invest in expensive hardware to host the software. Additionally, instead of companies paying ongoing maintenance fees as well as a perpetual license, a SaaS model means they only pay an annual or monthly subscription fee, which includes the software license and support fees.
There are generally three models when it comes to cloud services: SaaS (Software as a Service), PaaS (Platform as a Service), and IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service). Each service has varying levels of benefits and differences.
SaaS: Software as a Service (aka cloud application services), is the most widely used type of cloud service. Popular for business as SaaS companies deliver strong customer experience through information exchange and services, SaaS takes a large part of the IT burden off the hands of a business. SaaS employs the internet to provide distributed applications and services, eliminating the need for clients to download any software. With SaaS, a cloud vendor fully manages the entire offering: applications, data, runtime, middleware, operating systems, services, storage, networking, and virtualization.
PaaS: Platform as a Service is somewhat comparable to SaaS, but instead offers a platform to create software. The PaaS method is delivered via the internet, giving IT teams the ability to design software without bothering with other aspects. With PaaS, the cloud vendor shoulders a majority of the service, including runtime, middleware, operating systems, servers, storage, networking, and virtualization. The company therefore only needs to worry about managing its applications and data.
IaaS: Infrastructure as a Service offers the most in-house control, allowing access and direct maintenance to most cloud resources. IaaS is extensively automated and scalable, as clients are able to buy resources as-needed without relying on in-house hardware. With IaaS, the cloud services are mostly managed by a company, including applications, data, runtime, middleware, and operating systems. But the cloud vendor is responsible for the services, storage, networking, and virtualization.
An iPaaS platform is subcategory of cloud services. While SaaS providers manage all aspects of the application, iPaaS providers allow customers to keep control of their applications and data. Further, SaaS offerings may be used for analytics and benefit from effective and efficient integration, integration is not their primary function. iPaaS on the other serve to integrate SaaS solutions, designed to connect multiple cloud services together.
Companies use iPaaS solutions to scale performance needs, add product functionality, and structure SaaS and on-premise application integration, all to increase the value of their business relationships.
While SaaS has many appealing features and reasons that its grown to be such a popular delivery model for its business applications, just like any form of cloud computing, there are some potential roadblocks to be cognizant of.
The advantages of SaaS are wide-ranging, and allow enterprises to capitalize in a number of alluring ways. SaaS models provide a much lower up-front cost than traditional IT models, saving businesses a considerable amount of money. Additionally, SaaS deployments are quick and easy to set up, which minimizes many of the common delays that result from a traditional software deployment. It’s also much easier to install updates, since the providers themselves are the ones dealing with the hardware and software updates. Finally, SaaS models provide accessibility and scalability to make the most of your IT budget.
Conversely, there are a few disadvantages to a SaaS model. The first is that, like any form of cloud computing, you are giving up a certain amount of control to a third-party vendor. Another disadvantage revolves around security and data concerns, which many companies still have concerning the cloud. Access management and data privacy remains a major consideration when a company chooses to dip its toes into a SaaS model. Not every software solution is offered in the form of SaaS either, and integration with other software, for things like single sign-on, can be difficult or even unsupported.
Operational expenses can be dramatically lowered with a SaaS model, and ease of disaster recovery, maintenance, and 24/7 support are additional reasons businesses might choose software as a service. Perhaps the most alluring aspects of the cloud are the pay-as-you-go models where you consume and pay only for what you need, as well as the ability to scale as needed and as your business grows.
One thing a company must fully understand under a SaaS contract is data ownership. It’s often confusing since contracts do cover service outages and access to service, but who is truly in control and ownership of your data in case a breach happens or a legal incident occurs?
The question as to who owns the data in the cloud is an ongoing one that is tricky to fully resolve. There are legal and technical aspects that some experts say depends on whether the data was created by users before it was uploaded to the cloud, or whether it was created within a vendor’s cloud platform.
A SaaS provider also must ensure that its customer’s data is fully secure, and that its privacy is truly valued to comply with a variety of mandates (GDPR, for one). Some of the freemium SaaS vendors don’t even subscribe to a privacy and permission policy, so it’s important for companies to be aware of who they are working with and trust with their data, as privacy regulations must be in place before a contract is signed.
With SaaS solutions, enterprises gain flexibility and scalability that allows them to do their jobs more efficiently, and there are many different forms of software as a service that companies can utilize. Business applications such as Office 365, Google Apps, Salesforce, and Citrix GoToMeeting are popular examples of SaaS technologies.
Companies can deploy SaaS accounting software to help with financials, inventory management tools to monitor product stock, and system performance monitoring solutions to keep an eye on infrastructure health. They also can use HRM tools to manage employees, CRM software to centralize and manage account information, and enterprise resource planning (ERP) to integrate data across various departments to better fulfill orders and shipments.
One surefire vehicle for seamlessly integrating SaaS applications is through an enterprise integration platform.
Cleo Integration Cloud is the only enterprise integration platform that is specifically designed to leverage an “outside-in” approach to your data communications. In doing so, the platform improves efficiency, reduces complexity, and increases agility by leveraging the wide range of application connectors and pre-configured templates that help you meet your ever-changing business needs. Cleo Integration Cloud also features flexible deployment, with a self-service model that empowers both your technical and business users with persona-based functionality.
Instead of having to worry about whether your SaaS application integrations are running smoothly, Cleo Integration Cloud handles them for you, so you can better spend your time focusing on driving revenue and better serving your customers.
Cleo features integration for SaaS software providers that propels exponential business growth, that allows companies to seamlessly connect and integrate their most critical data so they can focus on what truly matters – their business. Cleo provides all the features that you want and more importantly – need, to support a SaaS solution. Scalability, uptime, speed to revenue, legacy roadblocks, monitoring, and compliance are all included in Cleo’s SaaS integration solutions.
Schedule a meeting today to discover the ways Cleo Integration Cloud can help your organization overcome any integration obstacle.
Want to learn more about SaaS?
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