On demand software or SaaS (Software as a Service) by its nature is an internet based application and as such is accessible from wherever you happen to be as long as you have a network connection. With today’s broad band offerings that literally means anywhere. So the first rule of thumb is that it provides easy access. In addition, since most of the newest versions of SaaS applications are native web based applications, they integrate very nicely with most office infrastructures. With Microsoft being the most deployed environment, data is easily exported or imported to formats that comply with their standards. In many cases these tools can also be made 100% available to you within days of contract signature
Most of us have horror stories about when our PC, Network, Application etc. went down and we were not able to complete tasks at work. When we call our internal service department, the response is normally less than what we would like or hurry up and wait. With a hosted software application, it is the responsibility of the SaaS provider to maintain the application. They know up front that if they don’t do a superior job of support and availability, that you the customer can go somewhere else to find a provider that will. This is not the case with internally installed corporate applications.
Your data at a SaaS provider is also often more secured than the data at your corporate office. Since this is the core business of a SaaS provider, the architecture of the application normally has multiple levels of redundancy, failover recovery and is backed up regularly.
Typically, SaaS applications are easier to change than traditionally installed corporate applications. There are not as many feature upgrade charges with every point release in a SaaS environment because the provider needs to provide these features to continue to attract new customers and to keep up with the pace of the industry.
Finally, the total cost of ownership is much quicker in a SaaS environment than traditional application software installations. Often as much as 100% faster. In fact there are many stories of breakeven ROI’s with your first series of e-procurement events. The biggest question you have to ask of your future provider is are you a true SaaS environment with the newest technologies available or are you a reengineered ASP provider. I’ll comment more on that later.
I look forward to your comments