The Joy of SaaS
Unless you’ve spent the past ten years living under a proverbial rock (a non-web-enabled rock) then the safe money is on the fact that you have used Software as a Service (SaaS). In fact, if you’re like most of us, you probably don’t go a day without engaging in some form of SaaS.
SaaS, like PaaS, IaaS, and the other “as-a-service” offerings, is more than just an AwQC (Acronym with Questionable Capitalization). SaaS means no more having to install and update apps, or sync local data between devices. No more finding, downloading, disabling your anti-virus software, walking through the install wizard, and rebooting.
No more holding an install CD in your hand and trying to figure out where to insert it on your MacBook Air. With SaaS, if you’ve got a browser you’re in business.
Let’s look at some of the most familiar uses of SaaS in today’s world: Gmail and Yahoo. You probably didn't install a mail client on your laptop in order to use either of these services; most likely you just went to gmail.com or yahoo.com, logged in, and were on your way to making millions off that widow in Guam who needs you to distribute her late husband’s fortune.
The mail client (the software) is hosted on the provider’s platform – all you have to do is browse there, punch in some valid creds, and you are using (the service). Since it’s browser based, you will have a highly similar user experience no matter the device or platform from which you are logging in.
Now think Facebook, SalesForce, and Netflix. To the average zombie these are simply interactive websites, but what they’ve done is eliminate the need to install and launch separate Chat, CRM, and Video Player applications. Say it with me: SaaS.
You win because you are fewer clicks away from productivity and don’t have to worry about installing updates or custom configurations based on your hardware. IT Administrators don’t have to fret over tracking licenses or pushing out installs to a geographically diverse user base, and ultimately they can dial-down the horse-power in their users’ workstations.
The provider wins because they keep you in their online world, where they can collect metrics, tailor your experience, and mine that data-gold that marketers salivate over. SaaS providers also don’t have to worry about software pirates – instead they can repurpose their security mojo to keep the long arms of the ne’er-do-well hackers out of the cookie jar that holds your sweet-sweet personal info.
As SaaS continues to evolve, and as end-users and IT Admins grow to trust the cloud, the operating systems on client machines (your desktop, laptop, tablet – programmers, engineers, and designers not withstanding) will potentially keep getting thinner until they all look a bit the Chrome OS; which is to say a browser on P.E.D.s that even the Russian Olympic team would wave off.
So, if you’re in the middle of developing the most stellar software offering since eSlicedBread v2.0 – make sure you’re looking over your shoulder at that next big wave. It’s called SaaS and you should already be on it.