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September 13, 2012

How to Buy the Correct Software for your Company:Software as a Service (SaaS): the membership software

For some years now, there is a new and interesting trend of business solutions: software as a service. What this means in simple terms is that you pay a membership fee in order to use the software, normally over the internet. The software is maintained and developed by the publisher, in their own servers and computers, and they normally also house your data there and/or in a secured location.

This kind of solution offers the following advantages:

  • Your only IT concern is to have computers that can access the internet with reasonably good speed. For smaller companies, this aspect takes a huge weight off their backs, as they will no longer have to be concerned with server and application upgrades.
  • You can access your application and data wherever there is a computer that connects to the internet: for corporations with imperative mobility needs this is an obvious advantage. Sales reps groups have been probably one of the most benefited from this trend.

A couple of the objections that have been seen in the marketplace for this kind of approach are data safety and application control. On the first one, as data is now being stored in someone else’s server, there is always the feeling of lack of control over who can access that data. Obviously, reputable firms will always have in place all kinds of safety controls in order to avoid the data being “stolen” or corrupted, however they are always a better target for a hacker than a company that only keeps its own data in store.

On the topic of application control, the norm for updating and upgrading these kind of applications is that the publisher will do them. The publisher will request some users to participate in a test release and make sure to the best of their abilities that the application will perform correctly. And then, a general release date will be announced and will be performed. The end user does not have any control over this activity. Any issues that may arise will be addressed “on the go”. No opportunity to wait until the majority of the users have upgraded in order to benefit of any service packs available and avoid finding the holes on the road!

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