Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), also called cloud-based software, web-based software, on-demand software, or hosted software, is an application deployment method that enables users to access their data from any device with a web browser and an internet connection. This web-based model is used by software vendors to host or support their servers, databases, and the application's code.
Business applications that utilize the SaaS delivery model encounter less friction with installations or contracts. SaaS implementations don’t necessitate vast amounts of hardware, thus empowering buyers to outsource the majority of the IT support that is usually needed for in-house maintenance and troubleshooting. Additionally, most SaaS systems are paid for via a subscription that includes any software licensing and IT support, which means these systems are typically more flexible and affordable.
While the concept of cloud computing began in the early 1960s, the web-based technology needed to support and maintain SaaS apps wasn't available until the late 1990s. Salesforce, for example, was founded to create cloud software, including their customer relationship management (CRM) solution that is delivered through a SaaS model. Aside from CRM, other SaaS company offerings include billing and payroll processing, sales management, human resources management, enterprise resourcing planning (ERP), database management, content management, financial management, and document management.
Web-based software today is malleable enough to be adjusted for business or industry-specific uses. Buyers can personalize their user interface (UI) to adapt to the atmosphere of the program, and customize areas like data fields, to modify which data appears. Users can adjust and optimize their personal workspaces (i.e. task lists and dashboards) to view only the information needed for a specific call or task.
The only major downside of SaaS is its dependence on a solid internet connection. As added protection against downtime, some SaaS vendors have created “offline” capabilities that allow people to continue working even if the internet goes down, then syncing that work once a good connection is again available.