SaaS: Make Sure Your Sword Has a Hilt
Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) has been a popular way to sell and deliver software for decades. Here at Perdix Software, our flagship product, MOLI, is sold using a SaaS model. Let's take a look at some of the benefits and drawbacks of SaaS, and discuss some of the ways we address the drawbacks, and, in most cases, turn them into benefits.
Benefits of SaaS
- Time to deployment: SaaS software solutions can be implemented in a matter of weeks rather than months. This is usually because you have external people committed to the project, and because you don't need to worry about provisioning servers or other resources.
- Less internal responsibility: The SaaS service provider is responsible for maintenance and upgrades, not your internal IT staff.
- Scalable and Flexible: SaaS can be scaled up or down to meet your business needs. You only pay for what you use, so the costs are appropriate to your size business.
- Access Anywhere: SaaS works anywhere you have access to the Internet, on any device with a web browser. This simplifies mobile access, working from home, and sharing information.
- Resilience: SaaS service providers maintain the datacenter... and due to economies of scale, that means our datacenter is better than your datacenter (no offense!) Plus, if the unthinkable happens, and your business suffers a disaster, your data are still safe, and we can get you up and running again from an alternate location.
- Cost savings: SaaS is a small operational expense. On-premise is a large capital expense.
- Upgradeability: Your SaaS provider deals with hardware and software updates, removing a significant workload from your in-house IT department, who will now have time to work on other things.
- Reduced time to benefit/rapid prototyping: Everything's already installed and configured, so it's quick to grant access. And it's possible to prototype new features quickly, since the SaaS provider can just quickly spin up a new instance of the software to try things out.
Concerns with SaaS
- Security concerns: With news of data breaches being an almost weekly occurrence, something that's on everyone's mind is security — and there's a tendency to say that on-premise applications are more secure, since they can operate entirely behind your firewall. In practice, however, SaaS applications can be more secure, because the SaaS provider is in a position where they know exactly how to protect their software, since they created it. At Perdix, a large number of our engineering team actually used to work at a company that made a web security product… so we're in a unique position where security's always on our minds.
- Performance: A browser-based application hosted remotely and accessed over the Internet is likely to worry some businesses, when compared to software running on a local machine. Internet connections have improved severely over the past few years, and SaaS providers can optimize their applications for delivery over the Internet. At Perdix, we've spent a lot of time figuring out how to make things fast, and it shows!
- Outages: Every piece of software can break sometimes, and SaaS is no exception. But SaaS can also fail when your Internet connection goes down... and all-too-common event in most parts of the world. This risk can be eliminated with a backup internet connection. At Perdix, we've partnered with a national ISP to provide a backup Internet connection to our customers, at a fair price.
- Data mobility: Some people are worried about vendor lock-in. When you don't own your data, and you can't get it out of a system, your business is beholden to your SaaS provider in a big way. At Perdix, we built MOLI to have a robust data export feature, as well as realtime APIs... so that you will always be able to get your data out... just in case.
- Loss of control: With SaaS, you're turning over a large amount of control over your internal business tools, to a third-party provider. There's no technical solution to this problem... ultimately, you're either comfortable with this or not. But a good contract can keep honest people honest.
SaaS has a lot of benefits over traditional on-premises software, but nothing is risk-free. It's important for our customers to understand that there are risks with SaaS, and understand how we've decided to address these risks.
At Perdix Software, we are building a factory automation and resource planning system that enables leaders of SMB manufacturing companies to translate more revenue to their bottom line by automating business processes, reducing waste and inventory, and increasing quality and timely delivery.
Is that important or interesting to you? If so, let's get together to determine feasibility, and whether or not we're the best fit.
Steven L SmithCo-Founder and CEO
Steven L Smith is the CEO of Perdix Software, which he co-founded in 2014.
He spends what little spare time he has enjoying travel, fast cars, and cooking.