Software as a Service (SaaS)

Software as a Service (SaaS) is a software distribution model in which applications are hosted by a vendor or service provider and made available to customers using a thin client, normally using a web browser over the Internet.

SaaS is becoming an increasingly prevalent delivery model as underlying technologies that support Web services and service-oriented architecture (SOA) mature and new developmental approaches, such as Ajax (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML), become popular. Meanwhile, broadband service has become increasingly available to support user access from more areas around the world.

Software as a Service (SaaS) has the potential to transform the way information-technology (IT) departments relate to and even think about their role as providers of computing services to the rest of the enterprise. The emergence of SaaS as an effective software-delivery mechanism creates an opportunity for IT departments to change their focus from deploying and supporting applications to managing the services that those applications provide. A successful service-centric IT, in turn, directly produces more value for the business by providing services that draw from both internal and external sources and align closely with business goals.

Today, SaaS applications are expected to take advantage of the benefits of centralization through a single-instance, multi-tenant architecture, and to provide a feature-rich experience competitive with comparable on-premise applications. A typical SaaS application is offered either directly by the vendor or by an intermediary party called an aggregator, which bundles SaaS offerings from different vendors and offers them as part of a unified application platform.

Benefits of the SaaS model include:

  • Easier administration
  • Managing the Risks of Software Acquisition
  • Automatic updates and patch management
  • Compatibility: All users will have the same version of software.
  • Easier collaboration, for the same reason
  • Global accessibility.