Personal Small Business Enterprise

Software as a Service: 4 Benefits for Businesses

For many Canadian businesses, it is old habit to purchase software the traditional way – shrink-wrapped in a box from a tech shop in their neighbourhood. It’s then up to the IT department, or a contracted IT services provider, to install and maintain it. This approach was the only option for many years, and in many cases, it worked well.

However, the market for software purchases is changing at a very fast pace. Market research firm Gartner is forecasting that 33 percent of the overall office market will take to the cloud by 2017, and Gartner also notes that there were already over 50 million enterprise users of cloud-based office systems in 2013.

So why are so many businesses deviating from a model that has worked well in the past by opting instead to purchase software as a service (SaaS)? There are many good reasons for this shift, but here’s a brief overview of four main advantages that SaaS provides over the traditional model of purchasing software:

Reduced costs
SaaS can dramatically reduce costs for an IT department, since it no longer needs to install, maintain or upgrade software on the premises. Additionally, purchasing software via the SaaS model allows you to scale your software usage – and the associated costs – up or down as your requirements change.

For example, if your business needs to scale up for a temporary project, you can subscribe to additional software licenses for as long as you need them and then simply “turn off” those subscriptions once your project ends. This approach is often vastly more cost-effective than an outright purchase of additional software in a box via the traditional model.

The Software-as-a-Service model also allows greater versatility for integration of separate software systems that may be used in your business. For example, if you have separate systems for accounting, sales and product stocking, your staff may have to expend considerable time and effort moving data between systems to manage inventory, accounts receivable and sales. But if these functions are integrated into a single custom SaaS solution, you can realize substantial cost savings, gain greater real-time insight into the operation of your business and reduce human error from the manual manipulation of data.

Always the latest and greatest
SaaS applications are typically managed and upgraded on a regular and incremental basis by the vendor, which means employees and managers alike can instead remain focused on their core responsibilities.

Mobile and remote collaboration
It’s no secret that teleworking is a growing trend within Canadian businesses. Even employees who do work from the office may find themselves on the road for much of the day, so having the flexibility to work from any location is absolutely essential for many of us. From collaborating on documents with colleagues, to managing email and pulling client information, SaaS applications like Microsoft Office 365 allow employees working remotely to always stay connected from a wide range of devices – including tablets and smartphones. All they need is an Internet connection.

Backed up by default
As this blog has covered before, backing up and securing your data is paramount. Your business must have a dedicated backup and recovery plan in place. Using SaaS-based applications aligns well with existing backup efforts because SaaS-based applications allow you to enjoy some additional data backup by default – anything created and managed in the cloud is often backed up in the cloud. This provides you with added assurance and peace of mind against device loss, theft or damage.

The bottom line
It’s clear that SaaS provides many benefits over the traditional model of purchasing software, and Canadian businesses are beginning to take advantage of these benefits to reduce costs and enable their employees to be productive from any location on a wide range of devices.

Is it time for your business to migrate to SaaS? Have you had any experience with SaaS-based applications? Let us know via the comments section below.

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