Why SaaS Is Changing Everything That You Know About Computing
You may or may not have seen the term SaaS (Software as a Service) floating around. When it comes down to it this concept runs pretty much counter to what we have generally been conditioned to think of as our relationship with software and with computing.
From 5.25 inch floppies that played games on Apple II all the way to the latest incarnations of Windows installed off of a disk, we are generally accustomed to software as discreet packages that we insert into a machine, that run from media or hard disk when ask them to, and that need to be updated physically. The world of console games still follows this model, although the rise of online content and downloads is changing it a bit. However, at another extreme, have you ever conceived of software as a public utility?
The utility model is actually pretty constructive. Computers are actually a limited resource with only so many clock cycles to spare, and it makes sense in the modern interconnected world for them to offer solutions to your computing needs in a centralized manner. A single software service that is properly engineered and balanced can store and protect all your data (making it available from anywhere), provide responsive services, and update itself without any need for you to concern yourself. Such solutions tend to be fast enough for customer needs, robust, scalable, and affordable to maintain.
However, a SaaS model requires a team that specializes in a variety of special needs that are not present in the world of “shrink-wrapped” or downloaded native software. First of all, the software is a service rather than a discreet product. This means that there are certain expectations about availability – and customers tend to want the service available without interruptions. This means service that is practically on-call 24-7 and it means professionals that are able to respond to technical challenges in a pinch.
Also, in this world of security threats and privacy concerns a SaaS model puts that trust in the provider rather than being accomplished by virtue of the user storing their personal data privately. This means that SaaS providers need top-notch expertise in online security, must stay up-to-date in all the latest security patches for their chosen software platforms, and must have a working plan for risk mitigation and security breaches. SaaS has the potential to be easier on the customer in many ways, but it takes a special kind of professional to execute effectively.