What is software as a service (SaaS)?
SaaS is web-based software accessible through the internet. Since SaaS adopts cloud computing technology, there’s no need for installing desktop applications — users simply subscribe to a service hosted on a remote server. For example, Netflix is a B2C SaaS platform that offers licensed videos on-demand and follows a subscription model.
The global SaaS market is expanding rapidly and will hit $436.9 billion in 2025. While COVID-19 is causing dramatic shifts in business due to telecommuting and social distancing, more companies rely on the SaaS model. Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of SaaS for business.
Benefits of B2B SaaS solutions
The SaaS model benefits software providers and their customers. For developers, SaaS allows a recurring revenue stream and faster deployment compared to traditional on-premise software. For companies, SaaS offers the chance to reach a wider audience and save software development and maintenance costs.
Here are the top advantages of choosing SaaS for business:
- Cost-effective. A software vendor holds all maintenance and infrastructure costs.
- Accessible. SaaS products can be accessed from anywhere via a web browser.
- Scalable. Customers can change their usage plans anytime without hassle.
- Easy to integrate. SaaS solutions support multiple integrations with other platforms.
- Secure. The decentralized nature of cloud-based technology protects user data from breaches and loss.
- Come with free service. SaaS provides automated backups, free updates, and swift customer support.
- Easy to use. A friendly interface and simple user flow make SaaS easy to use for everyone, regardless of their technical skills.
- Offer free trials. Most SaaS vendors allow you to try it before you buy it.
The best part is that SaaS fits all industries and company sizes, so both large and small businesses can benefit from it equally. In the next chapter, we will explore different categories along with the most prominent examples of SaaS software.Source: Techaisle
The most common types of SaaS for business
As we mentioned earlier, the SaaS market is huge and highly segmented. The cloud service model has reached all business niches and generates billions of dollars in revenue for SaaS companies. For example, Salesforce — the world’s largest SaaS provider — made $17,1 billion in 2020 alone.
While the complete list of SaaS categories can be extensive, we will cover the most widely used ones.
Customer Relationship Management software serves as a hub for customer-related operations. CRM systems help gather, categorize, and analyze customer data from various channels, including phone calls, social media, and website activity. By providing customer engagement tools such as loyalty campaigns and email marketing, CRM systems boost sales and foster conversation between a brand and clients.
Popular vendors: HubSpot CRM, Salesforce CRM, NetSuite CRM, Freshworks CRM, Nimble.
Accounting platforms assist accountants and bookkeepers in their daily tasks. Accounting software simplifies document flow by providing customizable templates. Moreover, it helps manage orders, revenue, billing, inventory, fixed assets, and taxes. Best solutions in this category provide data-based insights that improve the quality of financial decisions.
Calxa is a solution for financial management and forecasting developed by Blackthorn Vision. It integrates with popular accounting systems and automates budgeting workflows to generate simple, accurate analytics. Calxa is widely used by accountants, businesses, and non-profit organizations around the globe.
Popular vendors: Xero, MYOB AccountRight, QuickBooks Online.
Project management solutions
Project management apps implement tools for efficient project delivery. Using project management systems, you can break down projects into smaller tasks, define project milestones, assign tasks to team members, and set up project deadlines. Most PM solutions enable users to visualize data through Gantt charts, Kanban boards and generate productivity reports.
Popular vendors: Jira, Smartsheet, Trello, Asana.
Human resource management systems enhance and automate employee-related operations. HR systems take care of talent recruitment, candidate screening, hiring, performance evaluation, payroll management, time tracking, and more. They also offer statistical data and manage benefit programs for employees.
RemiPeople is a web-based HR management solution developed by the Blackthorn Vision’s team. It streamlines recruitment workflow by automating repetitive manual tasks and eliminating bias at every hiring process stage. Using RemiPeople, HR managers can select top candidates with less effort.
Popular vendors: BambooHR, Zoho People, Gusto, Workday HCM.
Enterprise Resource Planning software automates document flow and work processes across departments. ERP systems provide absolute control in managing finances, manufacturing, inventory, billing, commerce, marketing, and other operations. Many ERP solutions integrate CRM, HR, project management, and accounting modules, covering all operational needs of a company.
Popular vendors: NetSuite ERP, Sage Intacct, Microsoft Dynamics 365, SAP ERP, Oracle ERP Cloud.
Web conferencing solutions
Web conferencing applications allow video and audio meetings through the internet. Many vendors offer advanced tools for collaboration such as file sharing, screen sharing, remote control, chat, and recording in addition to standard video and audio calls.
Popular vendors: Zoom, Cisco WebEx, Google Hangouts, Skype, GoToMeeting.
Electronic health record software improves workflows throughout the healthcare delivery process. By storing all patient data in one place, these platforms provide instant access to lab results, radiographic images, clinical notes, patient charts, treatment history, and other clinical information to doctors and nurses. As a result, physicians get a complete picture of the patient’s condition to make a well-balanced clinical decision.
EHR software integrates with various medical applications to improve patient care and boost hospital staff efficiency.
Popular vendors: AirStrip One, Care360, Optum Physician EMR, RXNT.
E-commerce platforms implement out-of-the-box features for online sales. With e-commerce solutions, anyone can set up their online store in just a few hours without the need to develop a website. These platforms allow adding and removing products, managing inventory, calculating taxes, integrating with payment systems, and creating blogs and marketing campaigns.
Many e-commerce vendors support design customization, so users can create a unique online presence that reflects their brand identity. The e-commerce category also includes SaaS marketplace software that allows building storefronts for multiple vendors.
Popular vendors: Shopify, X-Cart, BigCommerce, Wix, Salesforce Commerce Cloud.
SaaS billing platforms include three categories: payment gateways, merchant accounts, and subscription management.
A payment gateway is a bridge between an online store and a bank that processes customers’ payments. Payment gateways offer secure and fast money transfers for buyers and sellers, support various payment methods, and protect user accounts from data breaches and fraud. Most payment gateways typically have merchant accounts as well.
Subscription management solutions enable businesses to charge their customers monthly, annually, or whichever billing model they choose. They offer various subscription pricing models and integrate with payment gateways and merchant accounts.
Popular vendors: PayPal, Stripe, BitPay, Amazon Payments, 2Checkout, Recurly.
Collaboration and file sharing solutions
This category includes different solutions, from simple cloud-based file storages to all-inclusive workspaces for internal corporate collaboration. Collaboration platforms typically provide communication and file exchange tools that bring together members from remote and decentralized teams. Some platforms resemble social networks like Facebook with corporate groups, pages, events, and home feed.
Popular vendors: Yammer, Slack, Dropbox, Atlassian Confluence, OneDrive.
Different types of cloud services for different business goals
Cloud as a service is in high demand for small enterprises to global billion-dollar corporations. However, cloud services grasp more than just SaaS technology. When thinking about moving business operations online, it’s important to know what options you have.
Each cloud model provides specific features that can be leveraged for particular business needs:
- SaaS is suitable for small companies that are looking for solutions with rapid time-to-market and low costs. It’s also beneficial for short-term projects and companies that need simple and affordable software for managing their inner processes
- PaaS is the right fit for software development projects, especially the ones with multiple development workflows. Since PaaS is extremely flexible and adaptable to customization, developers can integrate with third-party vendors with ease.
- IaaS will benefit companies that prefer to control their infrastructure and avoid extra costs. For fast-growing companies that often change their hardware and software requirements, IaaS offers ample flexibility and scalability.
Whichever option you choose, the fact that cloud computing services are the future of business is beyond dispute.
The bottom line
Thanks to powerful tools available through the cloud, more businesses can enhance their operations and increase profit with SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS. Whether companies need to store their software, maintain and secure their infrastructure, or effectively manage their teams, cloud computing solutions remove barriers to meeting business goals.
Blackthorn Vision has been building smart scalable SaaS solutions for startups, small, medium, and large enterprises since 2009. Our vast experience in SaaS development grasps multi-tenant applications, microservices, API integrations, and end-to-end DevOps. From implementing software architecture to designing mobile-friendly SaaS applications, we help companies establish recurrent revenue streams.