Introduction: As a software entrepreneur and SaaS vendor, I regularly get asked what isSaaS 101. In fact, one of my first articles on this subject was called ӓaaS 101: Creating an Innovative Consumer PlatformԠ֠which explains why I am penning this article today. In this article, IҤ like to discuss one of the most important topics there is when it comes to selling SaaS (software as a service) solutions: The Business Case. But first, let me give you my definition of a SaaS ӣosystemԮ
Ӂ SaaS ecosystem is a collection of products, services, and associated processes that have been built into one cohesive platform. It is usually sold to the end user for minimal cost. Consumers gain access to these services via an application interface, usually web-based. The end users can use the services without having to understand any programming or coding, and often do so without any significant IT assistance. The purpose of the system is to provide a convenient and integrated solution to a businessҳ needs.Լ/p>
Okay, but what does that have to do with SaaS services and how do I define them? Well, IҬl take a cue from Bill Gates and Eric Schmidt, who are responsible for the original concept of ӯpen sourceԠ֠and one of its most popular extensions: the open source licensing model. Gates and Schmidt point out that they created the term to allow for mass adoption of low cost software by large companies; something that has yet to occur. Essentially, when an individual purchases a SaaS for their company, they are making an investment in their companyҳ future ֠and that future could well be the difference between success and failure. Therefore, when someone asks me what SaaS 101 is, I tell them: Itҳ the foundation on which your company will stand.
Now then, what does that have to do with you needing SaaS services? Consider this: You start up a service company and you realize that your needs for some services may exceed your companyҳ capabilities to provide. This means you need more resources ֠especially in todayҳ digital world. The beauty of this model is that the company doesnҴ need to purchase its own hardware; they simply require a cloud provider to provide them with SaaS services via the Internet.
In other words, you donҴ really need a computer to get started providing SaaS services to your customers. In fact, the only hardware youҬl need is an Internet connection. As for the software part of this equation, youҬl be able to quickly and easily configure your applications on a ready made template so long as your hosting company provides you with a platform to do this with. There are plenty of SaaS providers out there for your business to choose from. What it comes down to is this: You can either spend a tremendous amount of time learning the business model and the technical aspects of configuring applications, or you can simply head over to the Internet, pick up a few tools, and start implementing your own software.
For most businesses, however, the IT department may not be up to the task of installing and configuring all of the applications. For that, youҬl need to have an in-house SaaS team. Once youҶe chosen your cloud provider (which can vary greatly) and your application platform, the rest of the process should be fairly straightforward. In fact, it could be a matter of as little as a few mouse clicks to get your SaaS solutions up and running!
As for how long it will take you to get your first group of customers using SaaS services through the cloud, this too varies. This largely depends upon the kind of products youҲe offering. If your offerings revolve around software and the like, the process should take no more than a few days to set everything up and test out your new services. That said, on the other hand, if your products revolve around hardware ֠such as printers and servers ֠youҬl likely need to wait a few months before you can begin selling the products to your first group of customers.
Of course, thereҳ one more thing youҬl need to consider: Since most SaaS providers offer a variety of SaaS solutions, you should be able to find one that suits your specific needs. For example, while you can find some SaaS software for web hosting thatҳ free, others will cost you money. Similarly, there are SaaS software options that are suitable for small businesses that donҴ have a whole lot of inventory or other complicated needs. As a result, your choice in which SaaS provider to go with will depend upon the type of products you want to sell ֠and also upon your knowledge of how SaaS services generally work.