“…80% of the products and services being consumed today are different from those that were being consumed five years ago. And five years from today, fully 80% of the products being used will be new and different from those being used today” – Brian Tracy, public speaker and author.
What Do You Buy When You Buy Software?
Software is a digital commodity, yet for years it’s been treated as a physical product. Corporate software license deals can cost millions of dollars, paid in exchange for a single CD. Very expensive CD.
But there is a very big difference between buying software or an actual physical product. Once you own a product, you have all the rights to use it as you wish, until it finishes, breaks, gets lost, etc. With the software, it’s not that straight-forward. Usually, what you really buy – is the right to use the software.
Salesforce.com is probably the first most famous Software as a Service (SaaS). The model proved to be very successful and challenged many of the traditional enterprise software vendors.
Benefits of SaaS
The SaaS model has flourished because of the many benefits it offers to businesses of all sizes and types. In freight forwarding and logistics, the most popular SaaS products are Customer Relationship Management systems (CRM), software that generates freight quotes, freight rate management software, white-label solutions that enable online quotes, etc.
SaaS is easy to use
SaaS applications are available from any computer or any device – anytime, anywhere. Because most people are familiar with using the Internet, SaaS apps tend to have high adoption rates, with a shorter training period.
SaaS applications are subscription-based, which means lower initial costs. Having the SaaS provider manage the IT infrastructure means lower own IT costs.
Painless implementation and upgrades
Because the SaaS provider manages all updates and upgrades, there is no need for customers to download or install updates. The SaaS provider also manages availability – all you need as a customer is a web browser and internet access.
Seamless integration, customization, and scaling
SaaS companies can scale indefinitely to meet customer demand, including customization if required. Plus, many provide APIs that let you integrate with existing ERP systems or other business productivity systems.
SaaS is Innovation
When you are a small business, then Software as a Service solution seems to be the best choice – it can be quickly deployed and tested (most of SaaS offer a trial period for free or a fraction of a price). A monthly subscription plan usually allows 1-3 months’ cancellation notice and makes it a pain-free investment, rather than purchasing a heavy IT infrastructure and technical support. Probably the biggest problem for small businesses is the enormous amount of choice that’s already available in the SaaS market. Read here how to choose the best SaaS for your business.
Larger companies have a set of challenges to deal with when it comes to SaaS, mostly around integration with existing enterprise software. Still, SaaS is the most cost-effective way to go to get to the forefront of innovation.
Innovation is Everywhere
SaaS applications challenge the way business operates today, and the biggest advantage of all is how quickly they can be re-shaped and re-purposed by a constantly changing business environment.