What is SaaS and how can it help your business?

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To say that the information technology field has changed over the past decade would be a vast understatement. The way we create, store, and analyze data, along with the infrastructure required to do so, has undergone a massive paradigm shift. Tasks that used to take weeks or even months to accomplish can now be done in hours – if you know how to write the proper code. Even lifelong technology professionals have been forced to adapt, learn, or find another job!

You may have seen examples of this in web design and development with the emergence of HTML5 and CSS3. These languages (Hypertext Markup Language and Cascading Style Sheets) allow us to create beautiful, functional, and cohesive websites and applications with a much higher degree of control and flexibility. Their evolution has enabled seamless user experiences on a wide variety of devices and platforms without the need for parallel development. For all its complexity, CSS has profoundly simplified the task of adhering to a specific look and feel that includes color palettes, font treatments, padding (white space), and alignment on a site.

If your eyes started to cross while reading about HTML and CSS, you’re not alone. Most businesses are focused on their core functions like building new service models or creating new products and managing inventory. But unless you’re a performance artist or professional chef – and maybe even then! – technology is integral to effectively and efficiently running your business. That’s where SaaS comes into play.

Emerging in the late 1990s, SaaS (Software as a Service) grew into a multi-billion dollar industry and is as ubiquitous today as a smartphone or an automobile. The rise of SaaS is tied directly to the proliferation of cloud computing, which involves the use of multiple remote servers (computers) that harness the power of the internet to drive performance and functionality in online applications.

There was a time not long ago when the offices of many professional firms contained a ‘server room’ or closet that was kept at finger-numbing temperatures and tended by one or more doting IT professionals. They included racks of servers that powered the network and connected employees to one another. Software installation typically involved one or more people taking a disk from desk to desk and manually uploading a program. Needless to say, this could take hours or days to complete. SaaS changed all that.

The ability to conduct traditional business online offers nearly limitless possibilities for cost savings and increased efficiency.

Even if you’re not familiar with the acronym, you’ve very likely used SaaS, with offerings that include everything from accounting and invoicing applications to word processing and inventory management. At OrangeAxis, we utilize SaaS applications to create and share high-fidelity wireframes, perform banking and billing functions, meet with clients, share and collaborate on files, and build and manage websites on a daily basis.

Some of the most well known SaaS products for business include:

  • Gmail, Google’s free, advertising-supported email service
  • Salesforce, a customer relationship management (CRM) system
  • GoToMeeting, which allows for online meetings, screen sharing, and video conferencing
  • Box.com, a cloud-based storage and file synchronization system
  • Google Apps, a suite of productivity tools for creating and collaboration on documents, presentations, and spreadsheets

Additionally, tools like DocuSign facilitate the verification of signatures and digitally execute contracts from anywhere in the world, while “half-SaaS” content providers like Netflix and Spotify deliver content to you directly from the cloud. The ability to conduct traditional business online offers nearly limitless possibilities for cost savings and increased efficiency.

Many SaaS applications require monthly or annual subscriptions as opposed to a one-time purchase. The advantage in this case is that frequent updates, instantaneously executed from the cloud, ensure that applications work as intended and take advantage of the lightning-quick pace of new technology. This simply wasn’t possible a decade ago.

Consider the things you do in your job that take a lot of time and manual effort. Let OrangeAxis help you find SaaS solutions that will free up that time to grow your business, streamline your processes, and bolster your bottom line.

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