Software as a Service (SaaS) refers to the delivery of business applications via the Internet, eliminating the need for installation and maintenance. With SaaS, you can access software directly online, freeing you from hardware and software management concerns. SaaS applications are also known as hosted software, on-demand software, or web-based software. This buyer's guide aims to provide you with valuable advice and key considerations when searching for the right SaaS software for your business needs.
Explore Products with Free Trials
To begin your search for the ideal software, we recommend reading business software reviews to identify promising solutions. Then, register for free trials of leading applications that seem promising. These software reviews allow you to assess each product's features at no cost and understand how they can enhance your business productivity. User reviews, particularly from individuals in your industry or with similar company sizes, can offer valuable insights and advice for comparison.
Alternatively, you can start by examining free or freemium solutions available on the market. This will give you an initial idea of what to expect from different types of software, and later you can choose to upgrade to a paid plan. Here are some popular SaaS solutions with valuable free trial plans: Sisense, FreshBooks, Wrike, Freshdesk, Zendesk, 10to8.
For additional interesting possibilities, you can check out our article on Free CRM Software Solutions to Consider, where we discuss several free options.
If you are interested in exploring the project management niche instead, we have a ready-made post on Free Project Management Software to Consider.
SaaS software can benefit freelancers, startups, and small businesses by boosting efficiency. Medium-sized companies, large enterprises, and multinational corporations can utilize these systems to improve collaboration and increase productivity.
Types of SaaS Software
The following types of SaaS applications are widely used by businesses:
CRM software: Automate marketing, manage customer information, and track the sales process.
ERP software: Enhance process efficiency, enable information sharing, and gain insight into productivity and workflow.
Accounting software: Organize and track finances without requiring finance expertise.
Project management software: Track project progress, deadlines, requirements, and scope.
Email marketing software: Automate relationship building and enhance message delivery.
Billing and invoicing software: Automate billing processes, reduce errors, and lower data entry expenses.
Collaboration software: Facilitate effective communication and increase business productivity.
Web hosting and e-commerce: Provide tools for online business operations.
HR software: Automate payroll, scheduling, hiring, time tracking, and other HR tasks.
Public sector, EDI, and compliance: Ensure compliance with standardized regulations and simplify inter-company communications.
Vertical applications: Tailored apps for specific industries like healthcare, law, real estate, etc.
Transaction processing: Process payments, credit cards, coupons, loyalty rewards, and more.
Key Features of SaaS Software
Time-saving: No need to install the software; simply sign up online and start using it immediately.
Scalability: SaaS apps are easily scalable and can integrate with your existing business systems.
Ease of Use: Accessible via the internet and mobile devices, with user-friendly interfaces and helpful guides.
Cost-saving: Monthly or annual subscription plans, eliminating upfront costs and reducing licensing expenses.
Improved Security: Regular data backups and secure storage on the vendor's servers ensure data safety.
Benefits of SaaS Software
High Adoption: Easy access from any device leads to widespread adoption among users.
Easy Upgrades: Vendors handle all upgrades and ensure availability as the user base expands.
Smooth Integration: Multitenant architectures and APIs facilitate seamless integration with other systems.
Data Security Challenges: Controlling data security becomes complex with the rise of BYOD practices. Outsourcing to a third-party vendor with robust security systems can be more effective.
Integrating Mobile Apps: Integrating similar apps across organizations allows for efficient collaboration and data sharing.
DaaS (Data as a Service): Businesses are increasingly adopting DaaS solutions to access cloud-based data for strategic decision-making.
Increased Costs: Long-term monthly payment plans may result in higher expenses. Annual plans and pay-as-you-go options can be more cost-effective based on usage.
Hidden Costs: Carefully review the contract to identify any additional charges for software setup, mobile access, exceeding storage limits, and technical support.
Reliance on Internet: Ensure a reliable internet connection or consider dedicated connections and backup alternatives for uninterrupted access to SaaS software.