Software as a Service (SaaS)

Software as a Service Definition

Software as a Service (SaaS) is generally understood as a software and IT infrastructure operated by an external IT provider in a Cloud. The essential characteristic of this sort of commercial SaaS offer is in the service character and the license model. Gartner describes it similarly in its Software as a Service definition.

The customer usually accesses the respective offered software via a web browser. The major advantage of an SaaS solution is in the license model. Depending on the type of software, the price rises and falls based on the number of users, the length, the data volume consumed and other factors. Not without reason is this sort of licensing also called an on-demand model. This increases the importance of software as a service.

Example of a SaaS solution

To give some well-known examples of Software as a Service: Microsoft Office 365, Google Apps, Box or even a self-service solution like an HR and employee portal. An HR portal combines various HR processes under one roof in a web application. A typical feature here is a strong focus on the idea of self-service. Employees can initiate HR processes and view personnel data via the employee portal, regardless of time and location. But entire ERP or CRM platforms can also be used as SaaS solutions.

Another major advantage of the Software-as-a-Service offer is that the providers of this type of service also take care of the operation and maintenance. In most cases, a local installation of software is not necessary. However, the exceptions prove the rule here. Thus, certain elements of an SaaS solution are installed purely locally, while other elements are taken from the Cloud – that is, there are hybrid forms. Familiar examples: Adobe Creative Cloud or iTunes. Here, you proceed according to the principle of leaving things where they can be best – i.e. most effectively – processed.