The Cloud is changing the way business offer and access services. No longer do businesses have to invest time and money setting up software and systems for themselves. A perfect example of this is the trend towards businesses opting for outsourced IT support. One company we spoke with, who provide outsourced IT support London businesses have been using for over a decade, stated that many of their services rely on what is known as Software-as-a-Service.
What is Software-as-a-Service?
Software as a Service, often referred to as SaaS, is a type of web-based software that is hosted in a cloud environment, and available on-demand. Customers usually pay a monthly subscription to access SaaS applications, which is usually done via a web browser, but may also have the option to install and use a desktop or mobile app, too.
Whether the end-user is accessing the hosted app through their desktop, via mobile, or via web browser, they will always need an internet connection to access their data.
Below are a few different examples of popular hosted apps that demonstrate the capabilities of Software as a Service.
Cloud storage is probably the most well-known type of cloud service, and Dropbox is a hosted app that gives consumers access to cloud storage. As well as providing storage, Dropbox is a full-blown user experience that supports file sharing and co-authoring. Businesses can use Dropbox to host their files and documents in the cloud, making it easier for colleagues to share and collaborate on files and documents.
2. Amazon Web Services
AWS features over 150 different services – including databases, IoT capabilities, machine learning, storage, security, and much more. While some SaaS solutions, like Dropbox, can be used by consumers as well as businesses, Amazon Web Services is definitely designed with businesses in mind. More and more businesses are opting to leverage the functions mentions via cloud services like AWS, because it is much more flexible.
HubSpot is an SaaS solution that is geared towards marketing departments and professionals It includes a range of solutions, including Customer Relationship Management (CRM), a Content Management System (CMS), and tools for sales and marketing. This SaaS platform enables businesses to streamline their marketing and sales workflows, and enable closer collaboration between departments.
4. Microsoft 365
Most people will be familiar with Microsoft Office, and the Windows operating system – all the software included in them are considered to be industry-leading productivity tools for business. Microsoft 365 is the SaaS package that includes all the Microsoft Office apps, and the business version of Windows. The provider of IT support services in London that we spoke with use Microsoft 365 internally, and also as a means for communicating with their partners and clients. With Microsoft 365, one can use desktop versions of the apps, but they will also be able to access all of their data from any device or browser, because that data is hosted in the Microsoft Cloud.
This SaaS platform is dedicated to business communications. Slack markets itself as an email alternative. The platform features private messages, videoconferencing, and cloud telephony. As well as this, Slack also features a diverse array of collaboration and productivity features. For instance, businesses can create channels to organise their conversations, as well as sharing documents. Owing to it being a cloud-based platform, all data is hosted centrally, meaning users can access their communications from anywhere, provided they have an internet connection. This makes communications incredibly flexible and mobile.
Canva is an SaaS graphic design tool for businesses and professionals. It has a web app, a desktop app, and a mobile app, and provided that you are logged into all of them, your data will remain in sync across all endpoints. The platform features a wide library of templates and assets that make it easy for businesses to create branded material. Canva is a great example of how SaaS technology can be leveraged for all kinds of purposes in business – not just storage and other back-end business processes.