Software as a Service (SaaS) is on the rise. Its flexibility and scalability has obvious appeal for consumers and it is cheaper from a maintenance and administrative point of view, compared with on-premises licensed software.
Many software development houses have capitalised on SaaS as a very lucrative business, achieving thousands of subscriptions worldwide in a short amount of time, with very efficient management of further development releases according to demand.
SaaS comes under the territory of Cloud Computing, which is a paradigm preferred today by the giants: Microsoft, Amazon and Google, as well as many smaller hosting companies offering scalable solutions. Cloud provision of services allows customers to pay for an agile, secure, reliable and on-demand hosting solution within a predictable pay-per-use business model.
According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology, there are five essential characteristics of Cloud Computing:
On-demand self-service: No need for human interaction with the service provider – consumers can unilaterally provision the capabilities they need.
Broad network access: Standard access mechanisms facilitate use by all kinds of thin or thick client platforms
Resource pooling: Location independence and flexibility is maintained by pooling multiple global resources like storage, bandwidth and memory to meet consumer demand.
Rapid elasticity: Consumers experience limitless, immediate expansion and contraction of capabilities as required, often automatically.
Measured service: Optimisation of resource is automatically controlled through appropriate monitoring of resource consumption, which is transparently measurable by both provider and consumer.
A consumer can unilaterally provision computing capabilities, such as server time and network storage as needed automatically without requiring human interaction with each service provider.
The NIST Definition of Cloud Computing
Devising new software for a cloud SaaS model has huge benefits but needs significant up-front investment to deliver these standards. It also requires specialist knowledge and expertise to predict and manage the intrinsic demand in this type of model. Challenges can grow exponentially with subscribers so it is vital to choose a software development outsource partner with experience in the area of Software as a Service, whose engineers who can plan and anticipate risk and response.