What Is SaaS?

“Habit 5 – Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” – Dr. Stephen Covey, The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People

We had a very interesting revelation in the 360 office late last week when it came to our attention that we may often wax enthusiastic our software as a service (SaaS) platform without taking the time to first make sure that those we are speaking to understand the value of SaaS or even making sure they know the answer to the question “what is SaaS?”

SaaS lets you access your application from anywhereWhat Is SaaS?

SaaS refers to a way of providing software wherein the application is centrally hosted by the provider and actually lives in the cloud, making it accessible from any Internet-enabled device.   Therein lies one of its primary virtues: accessibility.

No Install

In the old world of software applications, the program would need to be installed on each machine where it needed to be used and this came with all the usual sort of challenges associated with any location-dependent type of work.  If those machines running the software needed to operate from a shared database, this would only complicate things further and sometimes even became a gross negative disqualified for potential users.

As the entire world becomes more dependent on wired and wireless devices to help them with their productivity, the on-demand aspect of of cloud-based delivery isn’t just a feature; it has become table stakes.

Versioning 

If there were pains associated with having to install your old software across all your company’s computers, these were only heightened by the challenge of ensuring that all machines were running the latest version of the software.   This software, remember, would be delivered by mail on floppy discs and, later, CD ROMs and would need to be installed across a company’s entire network to ensure that all data was being properly preserved.

With a SaaS model, you are always running the latest version of the software when you log-in.  Companies are free to fix issues in real-time and iterate frequently making for a better user experience by virtue of the fact that there is an implicit expectation that they will feel pressure to always be adding more value for their customers. 

Not OS/Browser Specific 

Ever try to install the latest version of your company’s expensive, proprietary application on your computer, only to find that it wasn’t compatible with your operating system?   Again, in the old world of software, it was nearly impossible for developers to connect all the dots and account for all possible operating scenarios.  Many times companies would shell out for new versions, only to find out that they were also in for a big spend to upgrade their OS version if they wanted their business to continue to function as usual.

With virtual hosting, most SaaS applications are not even browser dependent and can be run on all machines, from thin clients to tablets, with 100% of their intended functionality.

Security

Do you happen to be an expert on data security?  I am certainly not, nor can I speak for other providers, but I know that with the 360 Platform, the burden of data security is taken off the customer and rests with 360, the service provider.  Data travels through an encrypted channel and is protected centrally on our servers and back-up servers.   Security measures are extreme for protecting the data both from virtual attack and physical damage to the servers where it is actually stored.

Jason King 360 IncentivesJason is the Content and Community guy at 360Incentives.com Connect with Jason on Twitter @JayKing71LinkedIn or Google+  360 is changing the world of incentives.  To find out how, book a call with us now!