Your company has a software-as-a-service product that is not performing well. You've been given 60 minutes to make it better. What do you do?
Define the problem: Why does your SaaS product need improvement? Who can you get to help you solve this problem? Create a list of problems and questions to get started.
Assess strengths and weaknesses: Is there a competitor or industry trend that you can take advantage of? Are there customer groups.
Software as a service (or SaaS) is an increasingly popular model for selling business software. It allows companies to purchase access to enterprise-grade software without needing to install or maintain it themselves. With SaaS, customers only pay for the software usage, rather than buying it outright, lowering costs and increasing accessibility. SaaS also makes it easy for smaller businesses to take advantage of enterprise-level software without the need for extensive technical knowledge.
When it comes to SaaS, the first thing that comes to mind for most marketers is lead generation. You might think you can just draft up an ebook and slap on some landing page software and call it a day. While there's nothing wrong with this method, if you're looking to really improve your SaaS game, you'll need to take a more holistic approach.
Software as a Service (SaaS) is an appealing option for small businesses because it removes the cost of traditional software and hardware, but there are still many challenges that come with SaaS.
Reasons Why You Should Use Software as a Service Software as a Service is inexpensive compared to on-premise solutions; it’s more secure than an in-house solution; you don’t need to worry about data backups; and upgrades are automatic.
Software as a Service allows user to connect and use cloud-based applications over the Internet. Email, calendaring, and office tools are all common examples.
SaaS provides us the complete software solution which you purchase on a pay-as-you-go basis from a cloud service provider.
The app is available for rent to your organization, and users can connect to it via the Internet using a web browser. The service provider's data center contains all of the app data, middleware, underlying infrastructure, and app software.
With the appropriate service agreement, the service provider will also manage the software and hardware. This will ensure that your app and data are available and secure.
SaaS allows you to quickly get up and running with an application at a minimal cost.
Common SaaS Scenarios
You may have already used a web-based email provider such as Outlook, Hotmail, or Yahoo! If you use Mail, then you are already using a form SaaS. These services allow you to log in over the Internet from any web browser.
Your messages and email software are stored on the network of the service provider. Access your email, and saved messages can be accessed via a web browser from any Internet-connected computer.
These are all free services that can be used for personal purposes. You can rent productivity apps for organisational use such as email, collaboration, and calendaring.
Also, more advanced business applications like customer relationship management (CRM), enterprise resources planning (ERP), and document management are available to rent. These apps can be rented by subscription or based on the amount of usage.
Access to advanced applications. SaaS apps can be provided to users without the need to install, update, maintain, or purchase any hardware, middleware, or software.
SaaS makes it possible to provide enterprise applications such as ERP or CRM at a price that is affordable for organizations without the financial resources to purchase, manage, and deploy the necessary infrastructure.
Only pay for what you actually use. The SaaS service scales automatically according to usage, which helps you save money.
Get client software for free. Most SaaS apps can be run directly from a web browser. However, some apps may require plugins. This means you don't have to install any special software for your users.
You can mobilize your workforce quickly. SaaS makes it simple to “mobilise” your workforce. Users can access SaaS apps, data, and other information from any Internet-connected device or computer.
The service provider already has the ability to develop apps that can run on various types of devices and computers. You do not have to have any special skills to deal with the security concerns inherent in mobile computing.
No matter what device you use, a carefully selected service provider will protect your data.
Access your app data from anywhere. Users can access their data from any Internet-connected device or computer by storing it in the cloud. App data stored in the cloud is safe and secure.
What Is Software as a Service and How Does It Work?
Software as a Service (SaaS), is a model for software distribution in which a cloud provider hosts and makes applications available to users via the internet. This model allows an independent software vendor (ISV), to contract a third party cloud provider to host the application. With larger companies like Microsoft, the cloud provider could also be the software vendor.
SaaS is one category of cloud computing. It's also called infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) or platform as a Service (PaaS).
SaaS applications are used by a variety of IT professionals, business users, and individuals.
SaaS applications can be used for personal entertainment such as Netflix or advanced IT tools. SaaS products, unlike IaaS or PaaS are often marketed to both B2B as well as B2C users.
A McKinsey and Company report has revealed that technology industry analysts expect further growth in the software-as-a-service market. They also predict that the SaaS market will reach $200 billion by 2024.
SaaS is delivered through the cloud delivery model. The software provider can host the application and the related data on its servers, databases and computing resources or contract an ISV to host it in a cloud provider's datacenter.
SaaS is Crucial to Your Business, Learn Why!
SaaS applications can be used by companies that do not have to manage the maintenance and setup of the software. The software is available for purchase by paying a monthly subscription fee.
SaaS is closely linked to the application service provider as well as on-demand computing software delivery models, where the provider hosts customer's software and then delivers it to authorized end users via the internet.
The software-on-demand SaaS model gives customers network access to one copy of an application created by the provider specifically for SaaS distribution.
All customers have the same source code. When new features or functions are added, they are automatically rolled out to all customers. The service-level agreement may determine whether the model's customer data is stored locally or in the cloud. Or both.
SaaS applications can be integrated with other software by organizations using application programming interfaces. A business might write its own software tools, and then use the APIs of the SaaS provider to integrate them with the SaaS offering.
SaaS services and applications typically use a multitenant approach. This means that one instance of the SaaS app will run on the host servers and will serve every subscribing tenant or customer. The application will be available in a single version across all tenants.
Although different customers may subscribe to the same cloud instance, they will use the same platform and infrastructure, data from different customers will remain separate.
Cloud service providers can manage updates, maintenance and bug fixes more quickly and efficiently than traditional multi-tenant SaaS applications. Instead of having to make changes in many instances, engineers can make the necessary changes for all customers using a single instance.
Multi-tenancy also allows for a wider range of resources to be made available to a greater number of people without compromising cloud functions like speed, security, and privacy.
Want More Money?
SaaS eliminates the need for companies to install and manage applications on their own computers, or in their own data centres. This reduces the cost of hardware acquisition, provisioning, maintenance, and software licensing and support.
The SaaS model also offers other benefits:
- Flexible payments. Customers subscribe to SaaS instead of purchasing additional hardware or software to install. Many businesses can make budgeting easier and more predictable by converting costs to a recurring expense. SaaS users can terminate their subscriptions at any time, to stop recurring costs.
- Scalable usage. SaaS cloud services offer high Vertical Scalability which allows customers to access more or less services and features as they need them.
- Automated updates. Customers don't have to purchase new software. Instead, they can depend on a SaaS provider for automatic updates and patch management. This reduces the IT staff's workload.
- Accessibility and persistence. SaaS vendors offer applications via the internet. Users can access them from any device or location with internet access.
- Customization. SaaS apps are often customizable and can integrate with other business applications, particularly across applications from the same software provider.
SaaS Risks and Challenges
SaaS can also present risks and challenges as businesses have to rely on external vendors to provide the software, maintain the software, track billing, and secure the data.
- Problems that are beyond the control of customers. Providers may experience service disruptions, make unwelcome changes to their service offerings, or have security breaches that can cause problems. All of these can impact customers' ability use SaaS. Customers should be able to understand and enforce their SaaS provider’s SLA in order to prevent these problems.
- Customers lose control over versioning. Providers can adopt a new version of their application and make it available to all customers regardless of whether they want it. The organization may need to invest additional time and resources in training.
- It can be difficult to switch vendors. Switching vendors can be challenging, just like using cloud service providers. Customers must move large amounts of data to switch vendors. Customers may also need to migrate large amounts of data between cloud providers because some vendors have their own data types and technologies. A vendor lock-in means that a customer can't easily switch between service providers because of these conditions.
- Security. SaaS applications face significant challenges in cloud security.
SaaS Privacy and Security
Software as a Service has different cybersecurity risks than traditional software. Software as a service is different from traditional software. The software vendor is responsible to eliminate code-based vulnerabilities.
However, the user is responsible in running the software on a secure network and infrastructure. Security is therefore more the responsibility for the third-party cloud provider and independent software vendor.
Organizations still have concerns about SaaS products in terms of security and privacy, despite the widespread adoption of cloud-based models to fully service their software products.
These concerns include:
- encryption and key administration
- Identity and Access Management.
- Security monitoring
- incident response;
- Integration into wider, company-specific security environments is difficult
- Data residency must be met
- Data privacy
- Cost of investing in third party tools to mitigate the SaaS security risks;
- During the sales process, communication with security and technical experts was not maintained.
SaaS vs. IaaS. vs. PaaS
SaaS is among the three main cloud service models. It's also known as IaaS or PaaS. Each of these models involves cloud providers who deliver their own hosted resources to customers via the internet.
The only thing that makes the models different is the quality of the product.
SaaS products can be fully managed and are complete.
IaaS is primarily about outsourcing data center resources.
PaaS provides a development platform and other tools that are hosted by the provider's cloud.
SaaS users don't have to download any software, manage any IT infrastructures, or handle any aspect of software management. Vendors manage maintenance, upgrades, security, and other aspects of software management.
IaaS can be used by companies who want to outsource their computer resources and data center to a cloud provider. IaaS providers offer infrastructure components like servers, storage and virtualization resource. Customers who use IaaS services need to manage their data, applications, and operating systems (OSes)
PaaS offers a set of resources that can be used by in-house developers within an organization. Developers can create custom applications using this hosted platform. The vendor provides the support for the tools by managing the data center resources. Customers who use PaaS services don't have to manage their OSes but do need to manage data and applications.
SaaS Examples and Vendors
SaaS includes many software vendors and products. From small single-product vendors to large cloud giants like AWS and Google, industry players range from small companies to the top.
SaaS products can also be video streaming services or IT business analytics tools. SaaS applications are available for basic business applications like email, sales management, customer relation management (CRM), finance management, human resources management (HRM), billing, and collaboration. Vertical SaaS products are enterprise SaaS products that cater to specific industries such as medical or insurance.
SaaS products can be targeted to B2B or B2C markets, or both. These are some examples of SaaS products that are very popular:
- Apps for Google Workspace
- Microsoft 365
- Adobe Creative Cloud
A SaaS product is generally more affordable than traditional enterprise software licenses. Setup and installation on hardware are not required. SaaS providers usually offer a variety of subscription-based pricing options for customers.
- Ad-based or free. The service could be offered for free to users. However, the SaaS provider may make a profit by selling advertising space. This model usually offers an upgrade option to a paid tier without intrusive ads.
- Flat rate. Flat rate. Customers have access to all features of the software for a fixed monthly, or annual subscription fee.
- Per user. The number of people who will use the service each month determines the pricing. Each user pays a fixed fee.
- Per user tiers. Pricing tiers can be based on the number of active users that can be included in a single subscription.
- Storage tiers. Customers may be granted free access to the service, but they will need to pay storage fees if they want to use the product beyond the limit.
- Pay-as-you-go, or usage-based. Customers who use more of the service are charged more and vice versa.
- Per active user. This includes aspects of both the “per-user”, and “pay as you go” strategies. Subscribers will be charged per user if they use the service more than a certain threshold.
- Feature-based pricing. The number of features a subscriber wants to access determines the price tier. This model allows for reduced versions of software that offer fewer features at a lower price than those with the highest functionality tier. There may be additional feature tiers between the minimum functionality and maximum functionality levels.
- No cost for the service. You can use the service for free with an entry-level plan. There will be some functional restrictions that are intended to sell customers onto a paid tier.
Top Cloud Providers in 2022
Due to the digital transformation shifts that have been accelerated by remote work, and the COVID-19 pandemic, cloud computing will be the preferred IT option in 2021. Here are the top cloud leaders, the hybrid market and the major SaaS providers.
In 2021, cloud computing will be the most popular model in information technology. Companies place more importance on as-a-service providers than traditional vendors. This helps to accelerate digital transformation projects and create a new standard of work after the COVID-19 pandemic.
While enterprises are increasingly deploying multicloud arrangements, IT budgets are shifting to cloud giants. Flexera's recent survey on IT budgets for 2021 found that money is flowing towards Microsoft Azure, its software-as service offerings, and Amazon Web Services.
Google Cloud Platform is also attracting interest for big data analytics workloads. However, hybrid cloud as well as traditional data center vendors like IBM, Dell Technologies and Hewlett-Packard Enterprise play a significant role.
Salesforce, ServiceNow and Adobe are competing with SAP and Oracle to gain more corporate data share and wallet. Salesforce and ServiceNow have launched their back-to-work suites and cemented their positions as major platforms.
The following are the key themes for 2021:
- The COVID-19 pandemic, the move towards remote work, and video conference are all driving the shift to the cloud. The cloud is being seen by enterprises as both a digital transformation engine and a technology that enhances business continuity.
- Work was made to move to the cloud because of stay-at-home orders. Tasks were mostly done via cloud infrastructure. Collaboration tools like Microsoft Teams or Google Meet were integral parts of the larger cloud ecosystem. Zoom is not only a subscription-based tool, but it also uses cloud providers like AWS and Oracle.
- Multicloud can be both a selling point or a goal for enterprises. Companies are aware of vendor lock-in. They want to be able to move their applications across clouds. Legacy vendors have developed platforms that can plug into multiple cloud services, often with a lot of VMware and Red Hat. This multicloud trend is being promoted by these legacy vendors. (See Multi-Cloud: All you need to know about the most popular trend in cloud computing. Multicloud deployments are becoming the go-to strategy for AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud grab wallet share. But multicloud deployments are still a battle between AWS and Azure.
- Data acquisition is the key to winning. The vendor will be more loyal to customers if they have more corporate data in the cloud. Cloud computing vendors pitch enterprises to use their cloud computing platforms for analytics and personalized experiences.
- Artificial Intelligence and Analytics, Internet of Things and Edge Computing will all be distinguishing factors among top cloud service providers, as well as serverless and managed services.
- Each cloud vendor has a management layer that can manage all your other clouds. AWS and Google Cloud Platform, two public cloud vendors, offer services to manage different cloud services. Traditional enterprise vendors like HPE and Dell also offer cloud management services. It will be important to position which platform as the “single pane-of-glass” for cloud management.
- Fear, uncertainty, and doubt are the new norm in sales tactics. The big three companies fought for attention in the media around AWS Re: Invent. They were fighting over multiple industries. Google Cloud has been recruiting executives to sell into industries and has increased its Anthos hybrid cloud effort in order to close the gap between its AWS-Azure sales. (See: What exactly is cloud computing? All you need to know
- Industry is waging a sales war. Cloud providers are turning vertical to corner industries. Gartner's Magic Quadrant report about public cloud providers found that the “capability gap among hyperscale cloud providers has begun narrowing; however, fierce competition exists for enterprise workloads in secondary markets around the world.” AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud all have strong financials.
Improving software as a service is an important part of keeping your company competitive in the marketplace. These simple SaaS tips will help you make sure you are doing everything right. If you’d like to see more, please check out our LinkedIn page and follow us on Twitter to get the latest updates from our blog.
To improve Software as a Service in 60 minutes, you can follow these three easy steps. First, identify your market’s pain points and how you will solve them. Next, research the most popular software as a service solutions on the market and create your own product that offers better features than those already available. Finally, use social media to spread awareness of your new SaaS solution by interacting with users on various social channels such as Facebook and Twitter.
In this article, we have discussed the steps of improving SaaS in 60 minutes. If you have been struggling to improve your business process, then these steps might work for you. As a result of implementing these easy-to-follow strategies, you can expect an increased ROI and a higher conversion rate within a short time period. We hope that by reading this article you have found some valuable information that will help you to improve SaaS in no time!
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