What is SaaS – Software as a Service?

What is SaaS – Software as a Service?

Software as a Service is a term that is widely used today in business and IT circles, but just what is Software as a Service – SaaS? Like anything there are a number of different views and opinions, but there are a number of common features which I outline here.

Hosted Software Accessed through the Internet

Traditionally software was purchased and installed on Computers or servers at the place of use. An example of this is Microsoft Word or Microsoft Outlook, the application is purchased and installed on the computer for which it is to be used. On an Enterprise scale, applications such as SAP’s ERP solution or Siebel’s CRM solution are purchased and installed on servers at the customer site and accessed within the customers IT networks and infrastructure. The SaaS model differs in that software is not purchased and installed on the customer’s premises but is already installed and housed at the premises of the SaaS provider. Access to this software is provided through the internet via browser based clients (custom clients may be used in some installations). The key difference is that no software is installed at the customers premises and the solution can be accessed from any geographic location where there is internet access. Visit the very useful SaaSlist for a full explanation.