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The Beginner's Guide to SaaS

What kind of software does your business use? Chances are the answer is SaaS. Here's what you need to know about SaaS and how it can help your business.

6 min read

Remember when the internet, computers and mobile phones were a concept we only dreamed of having? Now, we have so much technology we get lost in its complexity and don’t know how to take advantage of it. The ongoing tech explosion makes it hard to keep up with and understand the latest lingo. 

With all of the abbreviations, esoteric terms, and its constantly evolving state, tech can feel like another language. Simply put, technological jargon is difficult to comprehend and SaaS is no exception. So, if you haven’t heard of SaaS before or maybe you have but have no idea what it means, rest assured, we will cover everything you need to know.

What is SaaS?

For starters, SaaS stands for Software as a Service, which is a cloud-based service that allows you to access an application via an internet browser instead of downloading software. It is a new and popular approach to delivering software. Many of you might already use some kind of SaaS application without even realizing it.

Common uses of this method of software delivery include email, messaging or collaboration, and calendaring as well as business applications such as customer relationship management (CRM), enterprise resource planning (ERP), and document management. Popular examples of SaaS vendors include Google (G Suite), Microsoft, Zoom, Adobe, Oracle, Salesforce, Slack and MailChimp.

Before the invention of SaaS tools, individuals and businesses used traditional on-premise software which required them to:

  1.  Purchase software from a vendor
  2. Install it on the necessary hardware;
  3. Maintain, upgrade, and manage the software themselves; and
  4. Ensure the security, reliability, and accessibility of each application.

Traditional software requires a lot of work and that’s why more and more businesses are transitioning their services to SaaS-driven tools. As of now, 38 percent of companies say they are running almost completely on SaaS and 73 percent of companies plan to make all their business systems based on SaaS in the near future. 

SaaS applications have become a critical part of the business vernacular. As we dive deeper and deeper in the world of technology, it becomes clear that the future is on the cloud and here’s why:

Advantages of SaaS

There are a myriad of benefits to using SaaS tools, which has made it the first choice for the majority of businesses.


Unlike traditional software, SaaS provides an unparalleled level of convenience. SaaS is compatible across multiple devices with no download required. As a SaaS user, you can access application data from anywhere — as long as you have an internet connection and a web browser. This means you have access to everything you would have over the internet but as a service. 

 SaaS makes remote work and traveling easy because you can remain connected the entire time. You are able to work anywhere and maintain the same level of constant connectivity even on the go with your mobile phone.

Also, the start-up process for SaaS solutions is almost immediate. Since the SaaS applications are already installed and configured in the cloud, customers can access the software right away.

client management software

Automated Software Updates and Uptime

In the past, with more traditional on-premise software, updates came in the form of new versions of the software that must be paid for and then installed again. It was time-consuming and inconvenient.

With SaaS, you can say goodbye to software updates! SaaS eliminates manual maintenance and updates, which ensures that there is little to no downtime. The SaaS is hosted by the vendor, which means that the provider manages all of the software updates and the IT infrastructure for you. You can feel confident that you will always have the most up-to-date version of the software and never have to worry about technical issues because the SaaS provider handles it all.

Zero Installation

SaaS requires no hardware or software to be installed, maintained, or updated. This eliminates the risk of damaging the hardware or software and having to replace it. With SaaS applications, the adoption process is fast and effortless.

Some SaaS tools offer a web browser and a desktop or phone application too. In that instance, you would have the choice to choose the option you prefer.

Less Expensive

Generally, with SaaS applications, you pay only for what you use. There are low initial costs because SaaS doesn’t require a large upfront fee. Most SaaS providers operate under a shared or multi-tenant environment where the hardware and software license costs are low compared with the on-premise software. SaaS can be especially beneficial for small businesses because it opens the door to relatively expensive, high-powered software that may have otherwise been too expensive to purchase. 

Because many SaaS vendors are subscription-based, it eliminates the expensive cost of software as well as the upfront cost of purchase and installation. It also gives customers the option to purchase a monthly or yearly subscription from the vendor. SaaS providers generally offer a variety of subscription options (monthly, yearly, etc.) and flexibility to change plans when necessary.

software as a service


Currently, 49 percent of companies are concerned about the security of their information when it is stored, managed and accessed from the cloud. There is this level of unwarranted skepticism and doubt surrounding the security of business information. However, SaaS providers are well-equipped and up to the task of keeping data secure.

In fact, SaaS provides businesses with more security. An organizations’ business information is more secure in a SaaS solution than in traditional software and it reduces the risk of piracy. 


SaaS does have a few potential drawbacks. First off, businesses must rely entirely on outside vendors to provide, update and maintain the software, track and report accurate billing, and ensure a secure and reliable solution to hold the business's data. This can be convenient, but it leaves you without any control, especially when there are malfunctions on their end.

Although infrequent, providers are susceptible to experience service interruptions, they can impose unfavorable changes to service terms and agreements, experience a security breach, or a multitude of other issues — all of which can impact your ability to use the SaaS application.

This may not seem ideal, but the disadvantages are fewer than those associated with on-premise software. For the most part, these SaaS issues can be eliminated by paying close attention to the SaaS provider’s service agreement and ensuring that they are holding up their end of the deal.

The Importance of SaaS Technology

Traditional software is outdated, requires maintenance and can rack up an expensive bill. With SaaS, developers are constantly creating new content driven by innovative ideas to provide an even better experience for users. Roughly, 86 percent of users said SaaS helps them be more productive and successful than desktop programs. The service takes care of all the behind the scenes issues so you never have to worry and it’s effortless to use. In other words, SaaS is suitable for just about anyone. 

We have more SaaS tools at our disposal than ever before — and that number is only growing. SaaS adoption has become a common practice for businesses all over the world. Companies use an average of 16 SaaS apps to run their business every day. More and more businesses are transitioning to the cloud-based services. SaaS solutions have become an integral part of the business's function and crucial to the success of modern businesses in general. Is your business ready for the cloud? 

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