Software as a Service or SaaS is a new model of software delivery. It refers to Software that can be accessed through a web browser. The customer can utilize all features or selective features based on a subscription amount. The subscription can be made monthly or annually and it depends on the service provider.
Traditionally softwares came in packages (Installation CD / DVD). The customer is provided with a unique installation key while purchasing the license. This unique installation key helps install the software and use all the features of it. Apart from that, the customer can choose to download the updates every 6 months or every year from the service provider website, through registering himself with the key. The major issue here is that, the customer’s PC should have the required configuration to run the software at its fullest potential. Also, the customer should maintain it properly by installing anti-virus software, cleaning and fragmenting it periodically.
SaaS works in a completely different manner. No installations required; no maintenance required. It is faster regardless of the system configuration of the user. It is cost effective as the user pays only for the features he is using. It is completely the responsibility of the service provider to manage and run the software with utmost security, performance, reliability and upgrade periodically as per market standards. The user just has to register, get a username and password, subscribe to the services and then start using it through a web browser. The only constraint here is the internet connection speed of the user.
At present, SaaS has become a common delivery model for many applications like accounting, collaboration, customer relationship management, e-learning, enterprise resource planning (ERP), telemedicine etc.