Software as a Service (SaaS) is a software distribution model in which applications are hosted by a vendor or service provider and made available to customers over a network, typically the Internet.
-TechTarget Search Cloud Computing
Software as a Service is fairly self-explanatory. It’s software that is sold as a service instead of a product. This means that the vast majority of technical and maintenance know-how needed to use a piece of software comes from the provider, without the need for significant costs on the part of the user in hiring IT personnel.
Software as a Service (SaaS) is becoming increasingly prevalent for a variety of reasons, chief among them its convenience and ease of use.
To put it simply, SaaS is characterized by programs or applications that are accessed via the internet that are hosted by the provider, without the need to install or maintain software on the users’ end.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) as SaaS
Traditionally, deploying large‐scale business‐critical software systems like CRM suites on-premise were a major undertaking. Although it gave companies total control over the application, its processes and their data, it also meant enormous investment in upfront licensing costs, besides requiring an army of IT personnel to customize, integrate and maintain. It could also take months in implementation, besides there being a learning curve with employee adoption.
This made CRM suites like this a significant risk, besides it being out of the reach of smaller enterprises that did not have the capital to invest in such an undertaking.
Benefits of SaaS CRM
- Lower cost of investment- SaaS CRM applications don't require the deployment of a large infrastructure at the client's location, which eliminates or drastically reduces the upfront commitment of resources.
- Lower upfront costs - SaaS is often sold through a subscription model, which is priced significantly lower than the traditional upfront model.
- Faster to implement - If custom integration is not required, SaaS applications can be planned and executed with minimal effort and roll‐out activities, creating one of the shortest time‐to‐value intervals possible for a major IT investment.
- Free trials available - This has made it possible for CRM providers to offer free trials, allowing prospective customers to “test drive” an application to gauge its suitability for their purposes.
- Outsourced maintenance and development - As SaaS is run on the provider’s servers, the provider is responsible for the security, performance and continual development of the application. This frees the company’s IT personnel to focus on high‐value activities that align with and support the business goals of the enterprise.
- Easy customization – SaaS has given users the freedom to customize modules and applications within the software to suit their business needs, without affecting the common infrastructure. These customizations are unique to each company/user, and are preserved through upgrades. This enables SaaS providers to make more frequent upgrades with less risk of loss of information.
- Improved access – Having all your business information online in the cloud means being able to access it anytime, from anywhere and from any device. This gives sales reps and employees working remotely more freedom and companies more flexibility, while encouraging collaboration. It also ensures that any changes within the software are displayed in real time, which ensures that everyone sees updated information.
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