Various business models exist due to the existence of the internet. Without the internet, most of these business models would fail. It is because these models primarily focus on customers that come due to online products or services. While the internet has existed for decades, some relatively new business models still utilize it.
Among these new business models is the Software as a Service (SaaS) business model. Most tech companies have tagged this business model as highly successful with great prospects. Therefore, it is crucial to look at what it is.
What is the Software as a Service (SaaS) business model?
The Software as a Service (SaaS) business model comes from companies that host their software solutions on cloud platforms. These companies provide software that companies or individuals can run through their web browsers. Their products go against traditional applications or software, which users need to install to use.
The web-based application business has boomed due to the internet and, more importantly, complex cloud infrastructure. Many businesses have adopted the SaaS business model to attract customers to web-based applications. Some well-established tech companies have already introduced various solutions for their customers.
As mentioned, the main difference between SaaS and other software is the usage through the web. The software gets rid of the need for an end-user license to activate it. Similarly, users don’t need to invest in an infrastructure to host or install the software. Instead, SaaS companies offer users these services in exchange for a subscription or membership fee.
How does the Software as a Service (SaaS) business model work?
The SaaS business model comes from the latest developments in cloud infrastructure technology. Due to these developments, companies have started offering software that uses the cloud as a host. It eliminates the need for customers to have a host to use the software. Similarly, it avoids compatibility issues with various computers and operating systems.
Since SaaS is a highly regarded business model, most companies are shifting their focus towards it. Many companies offer dedicated solutions to customers or individuals through SaaS. Various companies provide generic SaaS solutions while some others may develop bespoke software according to their clients’ needs.
The primary source of revenue for the SaaS business model is a membership or subscription fee. Therefore, these companies combine the subscription-based service business model as a base for generating revenues. Most software require customers to pay a monthly or yearly fee to use the provided solutions.
The SaaS business model is also highly scalable. Companies can offer software from small solutions to full-on systems for users. Therefore, these products appeal to a massive demographic of users with an internet connection. Similarly, the company can develop a product and use it for a long time to generate a steady income.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of the Software as a Service (SaaS) business model?
The Software as a Service business model has various advantages and disadvantages, some of which are below.
The SaaS business model allows companies to tackle the problem related to accessibility and compatibility issues. With traditional software, developers need to consider various operating systems and computers systems. However, with SaaS solutions, they can eliminate these issues. SaaS software allows customers to access their software through the web, which makes it accessible through all devices.
Similarly, the SaaS business model is scalable. Companies can start by providing small or basic solutions. As they start gaining more users and revenues, they can scale their operations to consider more users. It allows companies to grow naturally over time.
SaaS solutions also protect privacy for most solutions. With traditional software, users can use pirated versions to use the software without paying for it. However, with SaaS solutions, customers need login credentials, which they get after paying a fee only.
Most companies outsource their SaaS hosting to other companies. Due to this, companies may face security issues. For SaaS solutions that cater to large companies or businesses, security may be crucial. Similarly, outsourcing may result in breaches of data and privacy, which some users want to avoid.
While SaaS solutions avoid problems with operating systems and specific computer builds, they can suffer performance issues. For most web browser applications, users complain of slow speeds. While it may relate to their devices or internet speed, it limits the SaaS business model.
Salesforce is the largest company that uses the SaaS business model. The company provides various sales-related solutions through web browser software.
Similarly, Shopify is a company that uses the business model. Through web-based software, the company offers a dropshipping platform to users.
Other names that employ the business model are ServiceNow, Workday, Atlassian, Square, Zoom, TransferWise, Slack, Xero, MongoDB, HubSpot, Dropbox, etc.
Software as a Service business model is a recent model that has become highly regarded recently. Companies that offer web-based solutions to customers use this model. The primary source of revenue in this business model is a subscription or membership fee charged to users.