Software as a Service
Computer software in traditional terms, is a commodity which can only legally be used on the purchase of a license. In addition to this, the platform or hardware that is required to make the software function often determines if the solution is viable to many businesses.
Many software vendors strive to ensure their software runs on heterogeneous platforms, which is often challenging due to the constant evolution of technology but are unable to supply the software and platform as a complete solution. In almost all cases, a business will invest in a specific type of platform which will provide the most cost effective solution to running important software, database or user application. Owing to this it can sometimes be difficult for software vendors to implement their software in an environment where the existing platforms do not support or cannot execute the software at all.
Since the advent of cloud computing it has been possible for many vendors to offer their Software as a Service (SaaS) by implementing their software on up-to-date platforms in the cloud and provide access to the software for customers in a controlled manner via license or rental. In doing so the use of their software can grow exponentially because customers do not have to procure or even deploy and support the infrastructure where it resides.
Some key points to consider if you are a vendor looking to leverage the use of Software as a Service:
Rapid DeploymentBy using a cloud based platform the software is already installed and configured. This means that the server running the software is always available or can be shut down and instantiated on demand allowing sales teams to provide demonstrations to anyone at any time. Having a pre-configured instance means that the time to market is vastly reduced because a sale will only consist of allowing access rather than a customer having to procure hardware, install and configure the software. This also negates the need for customers to have any technical knowledge of the software other than its use.
MaintenanceFor any vendor maintaining software is essential for enabling new features, bug fixing or simply providing upgrades to support the underlying technology. In many cases the logisitics of shipping software, enabling downloads and even supporting customers through maintenance can prove costly. By using the SaaS model it is possible to maintain the whole solution on behalf of the customer, often with little or no outages in availability to the software. Having the software already running in the cloud it is possible to upgrade an entirely separate instance and then switch access to the upgraded version providing a seamless solution to the customer.
ScalabilityWith correct planning, a cloud based SaaS solution can provide single user or multitenancy access. This means that the underlying architecture can support multiple tenants who share common access to the software or by allowing only one at a time. By providing multitenancy the cost of the overall solution is vastly reduced whilst still generating a bigger profit through sale of licensed access. In either case it is possible to scale solutions by instantiating additional instances running the software and then providing instant access to one or a group of users. The cloud based solution benefits from a snapshot mechanism which means an image of the pre-configured server can be taken and then used to start one or even thousands of server clones running the SaaS in an instant.
InsightOne of the biggest benefits of using SaaS is the insight it can provide into how your software is being used and how it runs. Often vendors only gain insight via feedback when a customer requests additional features or via support ticket when something goes wrong. By using SaaS it is possible to securely log usage data without breaking confidentiality agreements with the customer. This kind of insight is vital in order to stay ahead of competition by devising preventative solutions to issues such as performance enhancements or capacity planning. This means you can be proactive rather than reactive to your entire customer base.
Contact Rycroft Solutions today to discuss how you can gain a competative advantage by using Software as a Service. We can offer you the entire solution by providing outsourced cloud based infrastructure which is monitored to give you the insight you may never have had before.