There's no doubt that on-demand services are an excellent alternative to traditional database management systems because they offer more economical subscription services, collaborative capabilities, and continuous innovations. Traditional database architecture fails to meet today’s SaaS requirements.
The term SaaS (software as a service) was first introduced in 2000 and has been gaining popularity ever since. Unlike the standard software installation where a user needs to physically install the application and pay for the software, SaaS is hosted on a cloud and is charged on a subscription basis. Its massive appeal lies in the fact that users need to pay only what they use and adjust their subscription in case their requirements change.
According to a study by Goldman Sachs, spending on cloud computing networks will skyrocket by 30% from 2013 to 2018. The fact that even the biggest companies like Microsoft and Adobe started offering some of its products on subscription basis indicates the incredible impact SaaS has had on business, especially in the analytics software world.
What’s the Secret of Its Huge Success?
The report conducted by Enterprise Management Associates’ “Analytics in the Cloud” shows that timely delivery of analytics and BI motivated many business organizations to choose cloud options.
Initially, many business owners were doubtful about putting data in the cloud. As a result, analytics and business intelligence in the cloud were slower to reach widespread acceptance.
However, since an increasing number of sensitive corporate data and important apps are moving online, cloud-based analytics is becoming the top priority for many customers in the digital world. For example, Host Analytics (a cloud-based platform that aims to improve budgeting and forecasting and make the overall business run more efficiently) accelerated the annual budgeting process from four months to one month.
According to Doug Menefee, CIO at Lafayette, around 100 budgeting managers used to spend a huge amount of time creating a giant Excel file, which would then be reviewed again and sent back for another pass. Once they started using Host Analytics, all the charts are accessed and updated in real-time, which has had an incredible impact on the EBITDA and revenue.
The research shows that analytics and data storage will lead the adoption of cloud applications in 2017, where 90% of businesses are already using a cloud or are planning to use cloud apps in 2017.
Why Is SaaS an Imperative?
There is a good reason why many companies are shifting to the adoption of SaaS. We are living in “the age of customer” in which improving customer experience is a company's main objective. Also, when searching for products or services, today’s customer has free access to any imaginable data. They can easily track any necessary information to make the whole decision-making process much easier and less stressful.
Users from all over the world have the ability to access applications with real-time customer analytics from a variety of devices and from different parts of the world. Since the mobile phone became integral to our lives, there's been an incredible rise in the use of mobile apps. As long as you have a good internet connection, you can take your work on your smartphone everywhere you go and stay in touch with customers in real-time. Plus, you don’t need the internet for many apps, as they work offline.
Cloud computing is also bringing major changes in the field of teaching and learning. Not only is it becoming a dominant method in which mobile and web apps operate but it is also leading to a revolution in mobile learning. It allows you to store an immense amount of content and provide services to users instead of making them save it on their devices. What’s more, mobile cloud learning can be easily accessed providing that the network is available. This is of particular benefit to rural students who, due to the lack of high-speed internet, can access any content via 3G mobile technologies if they are in some remote area.
How SaaS Changed the Face of Business
Naturally, this behavior has led to many changes in IT markets such as growth in analytics and application products. According to Andrew Bartels, a research analyst at Forrester Research, there will be an upturn in sales of analytics and e-commerce tools, and analytics will be another driver of software growth.
Also, the fast-paced growth of SaaS has modified the way software vendors handle all the customer requirements. The SaaS provider is no longer only in charge of continuously improving the quality of the software but also must make sure the app is working properly at all times in every corner of the world.
There's no doubt that on-demand services are an excellent alternative to traditional database management systems — they offer more economical subscription services, collaborative capabilities, and continuous innovations.
Many companies can no longer afford to do traditional business, which includes buying and selling their labor constantly. This usually leads to a number of issues, followed by customer dissatisfaction. According to Jeff Kaplan, managing director of ThinkStrategies, the line between SaaS and BPO is blurring and more and more people are switching to SaaS. One such cloud model that combines SaaS with business-processing outsourcing is Livop, which hosts contact center apps in its cloud, automates processes, and provides a "help desk."
On the other hand, living up to customers’ ever-increasing expectations is challenging. As a customer base becomes bigger, an app becomes more data-driven and more difficult to handle. In such a scenario, it’s of crucial importance to build a flexible data architecture and invest in the system to prevent client dissatisfaction and possible massive customer abandonment.
Traditional Approaches vs. SaaS
Traditional database architecture fails to meet today’s SaaS requirements. Besides the fact that it’s focused on a single data center and isn’t accustomed to making updates continually, the traditional approach shows fundamental flaws:
Lack of continuous availability.
Additional capital and operational costs.
Slow backup capabilities.
Cloud-based multi-tenant solutions outperform traditional database architecture for a number of reasons:
Cost-effectiveness. Cloud-based models are cost-effective because they offer the company the ability to pay only for what they use, which ultimately helps companies achieve a faster RoI. Criss Timmer, CEO of Lean Logistics, claims that the return for SaaS solutions can come up to nine months after deployment.
Simplicity. Companies working with a huge number of suppliers face many obstacles in trying to maintain the supply chain. Instead of having to deal with the complexity of connecting with suppliers, they can all connect in the cloud to discuss logistics, project management, etc.
Easy to update. Unlike traditional approaches, cloud infrastructure is easy to upscale and adjust to meet customer needs. With a cloud solution, information is integrated into one platform, enabling users to easily access all the necessary data and connect the processes. All of this adds value to the cloud solution and makes the supply chain more efficient and cohesive.
Take Webroot, for instance. With an increasing number of employees and the ever-evolving global network in North America, Europe, and Asia, they needed the most effective solution how to migrate more than 450 users from Microsoft Exchange Email to Office 365. They opted for Strategic SaaS, an Office 365 consultant and Microsoft partner that used its technical knowledge to help Webroot successfully migrate to Office 365 and reduce administrative costs. According to Mike Henderson, Infrastructure and Support Manager at Webroot, Strategic SaaS helped them solve problems and address issues they didn’t even anticipate. Most importantly, they managed to complete the migration three weeks ahead of schedule.