In the last years, words like “Cloud computing”, “SaaS” and “Moving to the cloud” have been more and more popular in the business world. But first:
What is “Cloud computing” – It is basically renting servers on the internet for lower costs than on premise installation.
What is “SaaS” – Stands for “Software as a Service”, which means renting the software and the platform to run on it instead of buying and installing the software.
What is so appealing in the SaaS and the cloud business model?
- Cost saving:
Cloud companies have the economy of scale. Amazon AWS or Microsoft Azure for instance have millions of subscribers. They share the computing power between those subscribers, thus reducing the total cost of ownership. So instead of buying and installing on premise powerful servers to manage the peak loads of the software, customers pay a monthly fee to run on the multi-tenant platform. The computing power is then shared between all of them.
- Higher return on investment:
Instead of paying big dollars for a powerful server that is used at 10-20% of its capacity, the cloud monthly fee is paid in operating expenses. The setup can be easily modified when the business needs change, and you are not left with an obsolete servers that required lots of investment.
- Seamless upgrades and access to new features:
In a SaaS model, the software upgrades are taken care of by the vendor. Salesforce® for instance has three major releases and many minor upgrades every year. Every upgrade comes with new functionalities, all of this done seamlessly to the user, and for free. No need to plan for the upgrade or to delay the upgrade due urgent business needs (like the end of the quarter). Often, on premise upgrades are delayed as much as possible, and business users end up using 5 year old software. On premise upgrades are either too expensive, too risky or the IT support staff is not available, they are often put on the low priority list. With the SaaS model all the upgrade headache is removed.
- Better and easier integration:
Ever wished that your ERP is connected to your CRM that is connected to the accounting software? With on premise installation, this is almost impossible. While with a SaaS model, most popular software can be easily integrated and can communicate without any networking setup, resulting in a seamless integration with all your business software suite.
For a long time, the main reasons against cloud computing was the fear of putting the data on the internet. However, on premise setups are seldom updated on time, the firewalls inside the company are never well configured, resulting in a huge security risk. With cloud technologies, a small army of security specialists is making sure that all patches are applied on time, all firewalls are secured and the latest security measures are applied. We are far from the simple virus scanner and one firewall as it is often the case with on premise installation
- Access anytime and from anywhere:
For the end-user, this is probably the most appealing feature of cloud technology and SaaS. Imagine emails before the smart phones, we had to login through our laptops to the company VPN, then read and reply to our emails. A process that took 10-15 minutes, now takes seconds with our smart phones. We can read emails anywhere in the world. Imaging having this power with your CRM or ERP, whether you are at a client meeting, waiting at the airport, or just before going to lunch with some friends: you have access to all your inventory, client’s information and open cases at your fingertips with your phone or tablet.
There are many other reasons to consider SaaS and the cloud for your business needs. If you want to know more or you want to discuss your business needs, give us call or leave your information in the form below, we will be happy to talk to you.
Author: Michel Kassab