Software as a Service (SaaS) is a software delivery model that basically allows organizations to access and run applications over the Internet instead of buying, installing, and maintaining their own software.
SaaS provides a cost-efficient way for organizations to access and utilize software anywhere and at any time. Many organizations, especially start-ups benefit greatly from SaaS tools.
Some SaaS tools such as Notion and SurferSEO have started to integrate AI into their services to enhance efficiency for their users. Many more SaaS tools are expected to follow.
What is Software as a Service (SaaS)?
SaaS is a software delivery model in which a provider hosts applications allowing businesses to access and use the software. Basically, it is a subscription-based service that allows organizations to access and run applications over the Internet instead of buying, installing, and maintaining their own software. This means that with a web browser, users can simply log in to the system using a username and password instead of installing a big software on their computer, making it easier for small businesses and entrepreneurs to access.
By using SaaS solutions, companies can focus on core business activities while allowing the service provider to take care of all things related to operations, maintenance, security, and upgrades.
History of SaaS
In the late 1990s, SaaS solutions emerged as a game-changer in the tech industry, with pioneers like Salesforce, NetSuite, and RightNow offering web-based customer relationship management systems. By 2023, Salesforce had become the largest CRM platform and 90% of the Fortune 100 companies in the world are using Salesforce to manage their business relationships.
Today, SaaS options have evolved with the latest innovations from entrepreneurs, resulting in an ever-expanding array of software services via the cloud. Microsoft Office 365, Google G Suite, Slack, and Dropbox are just a few examples of the many SaaS solutions available to businesses.
As the SaaS sector continues to flourish, it is quickly becoming a key factor in a company's success. The future looks bright for SaaS adoption among both businesses and consumers, and Fintech companies must keep up with the latest technological progress in the market to remain competitive. The question remains: what SaaS options are currently available on the market for Fintech companies to leverage?
Examples of SaaS Tools
The SaaS market is teeming with software vendors and products that can cater to various software applications and services. Among the most widely used are CRM and ERP applications, e-commerce platforms, invoicing, billing, payroll, and more.
Examples of Invoicing SaaS
Managing your billing practices through invoicing software SaaS has become increasingly popular, with several solutions available online that enable you to issue invoices, track payments, and manage expenses conveniently. The primary benefit of this solution is the ease it offers, eliminating the need to manually create invoices or chase customers for payment via emails or phone calls. Furthermore, many providers now offer mobile apps, allowing you to issue invoices while on the go, which is perfect if you are continually moving between client meetings and supplier visits. For a more comprehensive guide on invoice payments, check out our resources.
Below are some examples of invoicing SaaS in the market:
- Stripe allows you to integrate a payment platform into your business to accept payments online from customers around the world. Major brands such as BMW, Amazon and Twilio also use Stripe on their platforms.
- QuickBooks allows you to track cash flow, integrate payroll, capture receipts and invoice payments and accept credit cards and ACH.
- FreshBooks offers enhanced customer communication capabilities like client reminders and automated notifications when bills are due.
Examples of Ecommerce SaaS Tools
Before the rise of SaaS tools, aspiring entrepreneurs had to hire website developers to build a website for them, whether it was a normal website to give information or an ecommerce website to sell their products. Nowadays, SaaS tools have enabled people without technical backgrounds to create their own websites without hiring expensive developers.
Below are some examples of such tools:
- Shopify allows you to build your online store anywhere in the world using drag & drop functions without any coding experience.
- Bigcommerce allows you to build ecommerce websites and simplify ecommerce management online. Popular brands such as Ted Baker and Johnnie Walker are examples of websites built using this tool.
- Wix allows you to create websites using drag & drop functionalities or choose a free template from 900+ samples. It is normally used to create ecommerce websites, bloggers, personal portfolios, etc.
Advantages & Disadvantages of SaaS
As a business, before you purchase or use any new tools you should always consider the pros and cons first. Below we will cover the pros and cons of SaaS tools so you can make a decision about whether SaaS tools are right for you or not.
Advantages of SaaS
Next, we will highlight the key advantages of SaaS tools.
SaaS solutions can eliminate the need for expensive hardware purchases and ongoing IT maintenance. This makes them a cost-effective option for businesses of all sizes, especially for entrepreneurs or start-ups. This saves you costs and allows you to reinvest that into other areas of the business such as marketing and product development.
Furthermore, SaaS providers offer scalable systems that can quickly adapt to the changing needs of businesses, without requiring upfront investment. This means companies can easily add new users, increase server space or access software upgrades without disrupting their workflows or hiring additional personnel. This helps smaller businesses and start-ups to gain access the powerful tools that can help them operate more effectively and efficiently.
Disadvantages of SaaS
Despite the good things that we have covered about SaaS, there are a few things you need to keep in mind such as:
- Security & Privacy
As with any technology, there are potential risks associated with SaaS solutions as well. Data security and privacy are primary concerns because data are stored on third-party servers. In the event of a security breach, companies could face financial loss or legal action. Furthermore, as the number of users on the system increases, server resource demands may exceed capacity, leading to slow performance or even downtime. Additionally, customized workflows may become outdated as customers switch between different versions or offerings, requiring costly upgrades or manual rewriting.
- Missed Opportunities
Finally, relying too heavily on one SaaS supplier could lead to missed opportunities for innovation and overlooking other potential solutions that could better suit your company's needs. For example, if a company is relying too much on billing SaaS tools instead of hiring an accountant to manage their finances, they could be missing opportunities to save on taxes or save costs in other areas of the business.
In conclusion, while SaaS solutions offer significant benefits in terms of scalability and affordability, it is essential to be aware of the potential risks and to work with reputable providers who prioritize data security and ongoing innovation so their functionalities will grow along with your business.
Web-Based SaaS vs Hybrid SaaS
Web-based SaaS is an application delivery model in which software and related data are stored centrally on the cloud. Instead of purchasing and installing software on their own computers, users typically 'rent' or borrow it online.
Even though web-based SaaS solutions offer many advantages, there are still some downsides:
- Low IT support costs when outsourcing hardware and software maintenance and support to the SaaS provider
- It offers flexibility as it can be deployed quickly and easily
- More expensive to maintain, as they require more frequent updates and upgrades
- Huge threats to data security as all data are being stored in the licensor's data center
- More difficult to customize and tailor to specific needs and requirements
These downsides have nurtured the development of Hybrid SaaS: an innovative and secured SaaS model.
Hybrid SaaS combines Software as a Service (SaaS) and traditional on-premises software. This type of software provides customers with both on-site installation and cloud access.
It’s the perfect solution for businesses that need to store some data or applications locally while taking advantage of the specific flexibility of the cloud.
For example, an accounting firm could have its accountants use classic, on-site accounting software while client invoices and payments are managed off-site in the cloud.
Hybrid SaaS allows businesses to take advantage of the scalability and flexibility of cloud computing and integration with third-party services. This deployment provides greater control over the application and can provide increased security and performance.
The Future of SaaS
The future of SaaS is exciting and promising. It is evident that artificial intelligence (AI) is increasingly becoming the norm in the SaaS industry. According to Google's current CEO statement, Sundar Pichai, "AI is one of the most important things humanity is working on".
With this in mind, we have also started to notice some SaaS tools that we use have started to integrate AI into their services. For example, SurferSEO has formed a partnership with a popular AI platform called Jasper AI, allowing users to download a chrome extension and generate SEO-optimized content with a click of a button.
Another example is Notion has released a "Notion AI" function that allows their users to work faster and generate content within their connected workspaces. Several options include improving writing, fixing spelling & grammar, making the texts longer or shorter and even changing the tone.
From these two examples, we believe that the future of SaaS will be heavily influenced by AI and as more SaaS tools integrate their services with AI, we expect to see some incredible tools emerge that will change the way we work for the next decade.
What is Software as a Service (SaaS)?
Software as a Service (SaaS) is a software delivery model in which a provider hosts applications allowing businesses to access and use the software.
What are the benefits of SaaS tools?
Which SaaS tools have started to integrate AI?