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What does Software as a Service (SaaS) mean?

The cloud service architecture can be divided into 3 main levels of provisioning, each of which comprises different services. These delivery levels are: Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS).

In this article, we will discuss the software delivery layer, which is the top building block of the delivery layer.

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) enables users to connect to and use cloud-based apps over the Internet. Common examples include email, calendaring, and office tools (such as Microsoft Office 365).

SaaS provides a comprehensive software solution purchased from a cloud service provider, such as AWS or Azure, based on a pay-as-you-use payment model. So you pay a rental fee for an app and your users connect to the app over the Internet (typically through a Web browser). All of the underlying infrastructure, middleware and app software, and app data reside in the Service Provider’s data center. The service provider manages both the hardware and the software.

How does SaaS work and who is responsible?

With SaaS, software is provided centrally over the Internet by a provider. Companies or users create individual accounts and any costs incurred are billed monthly or annually. The provided applications then no longer run on their own computers, but are accessed online. The provider is responsible for the correct provision, maintenance and updating.

Users only need to access the software via a web browser. As a rule, the software can be controlled with any Internet-capable device, such as a smartphone or laptop. To use the software, the user needs his personal login data in order to be able to use the software provided to him.

Typical applications

Typical applicationsSaaS is used in various areas:

  • Project management apps
  • Content management apps (CMS) such as WordPress
  • Programmes for financial accounting
  • Record keeping
  • E-Commerce
  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
  • Personnel planning
  • Archive management

Probably the best known example of SaaS is Office 365 from Microsoft. Office 365 enables the user to use the most common office programs anywhere and anytime. You can find more information about Office 365 here.

Advantages of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)

SaaS offers companies various advantages:

  • Cost savings
  • Flexible utilization
  • Easy user management
  • Elimination of high acquisition costs for licenses
  • Elimination of time and costs for training
  • Elimination of investment costs in hardware
  • Relief of the IT department through automatic updates and patches by the provider available everywhere
  • Better cooperation between decentralised teams

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