Business software is meant to support whatever it is you do as your core business. Every time you are not able to use the software, you are not able to do what you are supposed to do. If installing, configuring, upgrading and solving issues is not your core business, then you should not be concerned about it.
As a large company you’d probably have your own IT department whose job is to run the IT so that you can focus on your core activities. Small companies rarely have that luxury, but they do have the same need. Software as a service (“SaaS”) has come to the rescue. It means that you no longer buy a license to be a able to use the software, but instead, you kind of rent it. By paying a monthly fee you have the right to use the software and someone else is taking care of installing, configuring, upgrading and solving issues for you. In addition, SaaS in most cases enables you to access the service from anywhere you like – as long as you have a working internet connection available.
SaaS, hosted service, on-premise… What?
There are different kinds of SaaS solutions. Normally when you use software as a service, you are sharing the same software and installation with other clients and you might not even be aware of that. That quite often limits possibilities to customise and integrate the software to other solutions. “Hosted service” is another kind of SaaS, but instead of sharing the same instance with others, you have your own dedicated environment that is not shared with others. This kind of solutions are usually a bit more costly but enables more customisations and integrations along with the benefits of SaaS.
Who then needs “on-premise” software (ie. software installed to your own computers)? Sometimes the security requirements are so strict that they do not allow a business critical software to be hosted outside of the company network. This attitude is becoming less and less common as even the biggest companies have moved to utilise the SaaS model. Sometimes companies wants to use their own hosting partners to offer the server environments. However, since the price of the server capacity does not really vary that much and maintaining software within the on-premise model is quite often even more expensive that using SaaS, there is no real rational justifying using the on-premise model.
But which model would be the best for me?
In most cases the SaaS model is the most suitable solution. It frees you from the worries that on-premise software might bring along, eg. having your own IT department to maintain and update the software. If you require even slightest customisations and strict security, then “hosted service” is most suitable to you. Nowadays it is even possible to do complex integrations over internet by utilising VPN connections. Therefore the hosted service model is in practice just as flexible as the on-premise model.
FA Solutions offers its software with both on-premise and hosted service models. Our recommendation both from costs and also from efficiency’s point of view is SaaS with the hosted service model.