Software as a Service (SaaS): Benefits vs Risks of Using SaaS In Your Small Business

In keeping with the growing trend of modern business practices as opposed to traditional ones and with the growing popularity of cloud computing operations, SaaS has become an increasingly popular choice among business owners as their go-to option for software operations and services. So what is SaaS? SaaS (Software as a Service) is a model of cloud computing in which a service provider hosts user applications and software and makes it available to its customers through the internet. In plain language, this means that you use your applications online instead of having to download and install them. It sounds like something we all do already, isn’t it? The service providers make the software or applications available to users for a fee, after which the user can just log in on the internet and access the application. SaaS is not restricted to computers which is one of its major advantages. It can be accessed through mobile devices and on virtually any type of operating system. SaaS is one of three major cloud services with the other two being Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS).

So why should you implement SaaS into your business?

IMPLEMENTING SaaS INTO YOUR SMALL BUSINESS

SaaS offers a wide range of applications covering services such as Customer Resource Management, Database Management, Payroll/Billing Processing, Sales Management, Enterprise Resource Planning, Content Management, etc. Basically most of the operations you need to run your business smoothly. However, instead of the traditional model of buying applications and software, installing hardware to run them, paying licensing fees, maintaining an IT department, you simply pay a hosting service to run these services on their platform. Implementing SaaS into your business gives you the opportunity to take advantage of cloud services to outsource some of your business processes that would otherwise require loads of hardware, cut costs where possible, explore the inherent flexibility of cloud services and do a host of other things that would be otherwise impossible with traditional software and IT department. It’s not all rosy though. There are some inherent risks associated with moving your business processes to SaaS platforms, which should temper your enthusiasm when jumping on the SaaS bandwagon. Let’s look at the benefits and risks of implementing SaaS in your business.

BENEFITS

There are a lot of benefits associated with implementing SaaS in your business, far outweighing the inherent risks.

1. Cost-Effective

Running traditional business software in your business usually involves buying the software, installing it on your computer, sometimes buying special hardware to run the software, paying for a support team to keep an eye on it for you and so many other hardships. As opposed to SaaS platforms where all you have to do is pay a subscription fee and you get access to all the applications without having to buy or install any software. Using SaaS also makes it possible to avoid the long term cost of software licensing.

2. Flexibility

Making use of a SaaS platform for your software needs allows you to avail yourself of the inherent flexibility of cloud services. You can subscribe to the services as needed and unsubscribe when the services are no longer needed. Quite unlike buying the software which you can’t sell when you no longer need it. You can also easily shift from one SaaS platform to another as your budget allows and as your software needs change. Since it works on a pay-as-you-go model, there is no danger of losing your money or paying for services you did not use.

3. Multiple Device Compatibility

Another advantage of implementing SaaS in your business is the ability to run it on different types of devices, especially mobile devices. This allows you to run and monitor your business processes on the go without having to sit down with a computer. This is in direct contrast with traditional software that typically only runs on computers. So you can access your software anytime from anywhere on any device, as long as you have an internet connection. And some platforms even offer a few offline services.

4. Easily Updated

Also very advantageous is the ability to update the software on the platforms centrally without affecting user operations. Traditional software updates usually require the user operations to be down for some time while the updates are being tested, installed, and updated. With SaaS platforms, however, the testing and updates are done by the hosting platform centrally without affecting the activities of the users. There is no need to buy new updates or to pay for support services to help in effecting the updates, it is all done by the hosting platform.

RISKS AND CHALLENGES

As I said earlier, however, there are a few risks associated with using SaaS platforms which you should consider carefully before making your decision. Indeed, being aware of these risks will allow you to structure your implementation in such a way as to get maximum benefits.

The major risk associated with using SaaS platforms as opposed to buying software traditionally is the loss of control. You are not in control of your own operations. You are totally dependent on the platform to be available at all times and indeed to provide you with a hitch-free service. And while you certainly paid for it, sometimes, the platform can experience difficulties that will bring them down for a while, leaving you unable to access all your data and manage your business processes. Also, laxity on the part of the hosting platform can leave you behind in terms of updates, fixes, and new features, all as a result of you not being in control as you would typically be with your own software system. On another hand, when the platform adopts a new version of a particular service that you as a user are not ready to implement, you generally have no choice but to adopt it too or get off the platform, which leads to another major challenge. The difficulty of transferring the large files when switching from one service provider to another. Locally hosted files are usually in the same location, making transfers easy, but with SaaS platforms, your files are most likely in a remote location, and transferring them to another provider can be very difficult and tedious.

Also, using a SaaS platform, you run the risk of losing your data or it being stolen if the service provider should experience a data breach. You are putting all your data in the hands of another company and while they are law-bound to keep it safe and private, the criminals out there looking to hack them have no such restrictions, so this is a very real risk.

These are some of the biggest risks present in implementing SaaS in your business. The benefits however still far outweigh the risks, so they shouldn’t hold you back. After all, what’s life without a little risk?

So what are some of the best SaaS tools out there that you can use in your business?

SaaS TOOLS FOR YOUR BUSINESS

There are several tools and several companies out there offering SaaS services. However, here are some of the top ones you can use for your business

  1. HootSuite: to manage your business’s social media presence
  2. Google Analytics: to gather and analyze traffic data and metrics for your business
  3. SalesForce: for your CRM processes
  4. BuzzSumo: for your content marketing
  5. HubSpot: marketing automation software

These are some of the top tools to use in implementing SaaS into your business. There are lots of other platforms available and you can pick whichever one best fits your business needs.

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I’m an expert freelance SaaS and technology content writer with 3 years of experience creating web content.

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Saheed Oladimeji

Saheed Oladimeji

I’m an expert freelance SaaS and technology content writer with 3 years of experience creating web content.

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