As organizations across all industries continuously look for innovative measures to improve their productivity and expand their reach, cloud-based Software as a Service (SaaS (News - Alert)) models have become the norm.
As defined by TechTarget, cloud-based SaaS is a software distribution model in which a third-party provider hosts applications and makes them available to customers over the Internet. SaaS is completely transforming unified communications — and is growing at a rapid rate. According to IDC Senior Research Analyst Benjamin McGrath, “By 2020, about half of all new business software purchases will be of service-enabled software, and cloud software will constitute more than a quarter of all software sold.”
SaaS has become a popular choice for many organizations because of its rapid installation and deployment. While traditional software applications require building the server, installing and configuring the application, and acquiring software licensing and support, SaaS solutions are accessed entirely through the internet. What makes SaaS models even more unique compared to a standard “one-size-fits-all” application is that it’s possible to customize SaaS solutions, enabling organizations to think outside the box to meet their goals and focus on customer engagement.
When deploying any software application, cost is usually the first consideration for many organizations. Cloud-based SaaS solutions are typically the more affordable option. Rather than investing in installing expensive software as well as additional hardware for support, SaaS models offer customizable, pay-as-you-go plans that fit any organization’s needs. The recurring operational cost is the only financial factor that needs to be taken into consideration, allowing organizations to have a better handle on their annual budgets.
Many industries — particularly healthcare and banking — have already begun to see the added benefits of SaaS solutions. A HIMSS Analytics Cloud Survey found that 66.9 percent of healthcare organizations surveyed used SaaS to host cloud services, with cost being the top motivator for the initial adoption of the service. Not only are healthcare facilities saving on the up-front cost, but SaaS solutions are also creating cost-saving opportunities through lower readmission rates. With a cloud-based SaaS solution, providers can communicate and collaborate with patients about their health after they’ve been discharged from the hospital via virtual visits and EHR engagement tools that are supported through SaaS software.
Although cost may be a key driver in cloud-based SaaS adoption, scalability of the solution is also attractive to organizations. High scalability means that customers have the option to access more, or fewer, services, applications or features at any time. With SaaS vendors, it’s not necessary to invest in server capacity or software licensing. Instead, organizations can simply adjust their subscriptions as needed. With such customization, organizations may create a service that aligns with their future goals and customers’ needs.
Numerous banks are jumping to SaaS solutions to move their core services to the cloud to improve functionality. In fact, nearly 68 percent of banks surveyed in the CSA Cloud Adoptions Practices & Priorities Survey Report responded that flexible infrastructure capacity was the main reason for adopting cloud computing services. With such an elastic infrastructure, SaaS platforms allow banks the flexibility to develop new products and services and react to customer demands. Particularly, as more consumers adopt mobile banking as their primary channel to interact with their finances, it is necessary for banks to implement a platform that is scalable to accommodate the increase in users.
In addition to these benefits of implementing a SaaS solution, cloud-based platforms are improving overall efficiency of businesses. When organizations adopt a SaaS model, the software application is already installed and configured, allowing users to provision the server for the cloud and quickly deploy the application for use. This process eliminates wasted time while allowing for rapid demonstration and prototyping. Cloud-based infrastructures increase productivity and efficiency for all organizations by ensuring the application is always accessible, making communication and collaboration readily available.
Cloud SaaS models are becoming essential in healthcare as the roles of collaboration and interoperability take a larger part in healthcare. These SaaS solutions have increased healthcare efficiency through the system’s secure, HIPAA-compliant features that streamline sharing and storing data for patients and providers. In scenarios where patients must transfer care, providers can seamlessly transfer protected information via cloud platforms to efficiently collaborate with other providers to ensure that there is no lapse in treatment.
SaaS solutions are becoming a driving force for organizations that focus on looking outside the box to get ahead in their industry. With numerous benefits, including reduced costs, flexible scalability and increased efficiency, cloud SaaS models enable any organization the freedom of choice and innovation that meet both customer demands and future campaigns. The future of SaaS is bright, and expansion is imminent for this growing industry.
Perry Price co-founded Revation Systems in August 2002 to develop the next-generation cloud solution for real-time communications. His background is in strategic partnerships, channel strategies, OEM agreements and sales management for various companies with a focus on secure, integrated communications, call-centers technologies, telephony, VoIP, messaging and more. He has more than 20 years of experience in the telecommunications industry and has worked with several Fortune 500 companies.
Edited by Stefania Viscusi