In this era of online-based businesses, cloud computing has paved way for variety of different applications and software that perform multitude of functions. A lot of this has to do with one of the most talked-about classifications of cloud computing- SaaS or Software-as-a-Service.
You may have seen SaaS thrown around but what is it really? Software as a Service or SaaS in short is away by which applications are delivered as a service over the internet. SaaS solutions involve handing control over the third-party service providers. Despite the weird acronym, it’s everywhere. If you have a computer, you probably use a few examples every day.
Let’s look at SaaS in a bit more detail:
What is SaaS?
SaaS customers don’t get anything material in return for their payments. Instead, they pay for the service provided usually in the form of a subscription. Some more common SaaS services may be free but include ads for other services or for a more complete and costlier version of the service.
Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) is an instant computing infrastructure, which is one of the cloud services along with Software as a service (SaaS) and PaaS. Cloud service providers set up data centers to use by their clients.
What a SaaS Does for Customers?
SaaS vendors provide customers with built-in tools and usually a distribution platform with much cost-effectiveness. Customers can use similar tools offline or build them themself too but all this might require too much time and effort.
These tools make it easier for customers to take advantage of tools without having a strong knowledge of coding. It may also make your product more visible or accessible to your target customers or audience.
In many cases, these services offer a variety of tools that are available elsewhere but in ways that would be inconvenient to use them together.
SaaS Vs. Customer-Premise Software
SaaS Software is in some ways in opposition to Customer-Premise or On-Premise Software. Customer-Premise Software is software that runs on hardware provided by the company and also requiring a subscription.
The most readily accessible examples of Customer-Premise Software is Point of Sale systems in which a software suite runs on a specific computer, console, or other devices.
From the perspective of a service provider, SaaS is often cheaper and more convenient than Customer-Premise Software. Because no hardware infrastructure is required. This makes the service easier and cheaper to provide but also makes it easier to do things like terminate contracts.
Let’s look at some common, less common and rare or tricky examples of SaaS usage in the modern world:
12 Common SaaS application Usage
1. Cloud Suites
A Common example of SaaS that you probably use but may not have considered. Include the Cloud Suites that most of us have free access to an incentive for choosing email accounts.
We’re talking about Microsoft’s Office Suite which comes free with an Outlook email, and Google’s Google Suite, which comes free with a Gmail account. These SaaS examples offer bundles of services that allow document production and sharing.
Even before document sharing existed, the tools for document production that these services provide for free used to be very expensive. Older users will no doubt recall with a shudder the price that Microsoft used to extract for just a Word update.
These tools are free but they both have reasons for that giveaway. Both of these packages come free with an email account and, while the email account is also free, that account has ads that make the companies money.
In the case of Google, the Suite is only one of the services that users have easier access to with a Gmail including YouTube accounts and other perks.
In the case of Microsoft Office, the free version serves as an advertisement for a subscription service with more advanced tools and features.
Microsoft Azure is a cloud computing service for building, testing, deploying and managing applications.
2. Streaming Sites
Another common SaaS example that you probably use every day is a streaming site. The most recognizable examples are video streaming sites like Netflix and Hulu and the music streaming sites like Pandora and Spotify.
Netflix and Hulu both have a subscription fee that users pay in exchange for television shows and films but they never own these programs. They can view the programs but only when they are available on the site.
Further, in addition to having ads, Hulu charges for additional services including access to special programs not available for most users.
Pandora and Spotify operate on a similar model. However, both of them have free basic versions with advertising as well as payable versions. It doesn’t have ads and come with additional features.
Interestingly, Amazon is also dipping its toe into the SaaS model. It has its own streaming service, Amazon Prime, which charges a subscription fee in exchange for viewing but not owning television programs and movies. Users who don’t pay for Prime but have Amazon accounts can also pay to rent or purchase digital versions of this content.
Similarly, the popular streaming site YouTube has rolled out a subscription-based model called YouTube Red. It provides users with ad-free viewing as well as additional content. The basic YouTube subscribers can’t access including original programming.
YouTube is a significant example because users also have the ability to use the platform to make their content available to others. Further, because the free version of YouTube is monetized, this allows posters to make some money off of their posts if enough people engage with them.
3. Tax Software
These days, most Americans do their taxes with tax software with perhaps the most recognizable example being TurboTax.
TurboTax advertises its free services but only very basic services are free with many filers needing to pay for services and all users being advertised optional paid for services. They also advertise other software packages offered by the parent company, including some of those that make up our next example.
4. Art and Production Tools
Many tools that allow users to create art, like the Adobe Suite or Canva, or to create other digital artifacts also charge subscription fees for their services. Sometimes the offer free subscription or plan-tiers depending on user needs
5. Business Software
A somewhat less common example of SaaS includes business software like accounting and invoicing software. These tools help small business owners and independent contractors manage their expenses and income.
Many examples are offered by companies that also sell tax software subscriptions. That’s partly because the fields are adjacent and partially because providers can then use their services to advertise for one another.
In many cases, companies that offer both business software packages and tax software packages will also offer benefits for using both of these packages together, like decreased prices or better compatibility.
More advanced business software providers like SalesForce give subscribers access to high-end analytical tools or allow them to use the platform to create their own apps & websites.
Free versions of business software packages are rare but the services often have tiered pricing so that users can elect to pay more for more advanced tools.
6. Email Management
Some SaaS services give customers an easier option for saving email drafts, timing email distribution, and managing mailing lists. Examples include Mailchimp.
Email Management Services often bill like business software in that they may or may not have a free version but offer varied tiers of service for different prices.
7. Educational Apps and Games
Many educational apps and games including Duolingo and Lumosity also operate on a similar Software as a Service model. Users have access to a limited free version and are regularly reminded that they have access to a paid subscription with additional features. Duolingo also has adds on the free version.
8 Registration Software
Registration software packages allow businesses that hold courses, schedule events, or orchestrate trips to manage and bill their clients. Examples include Eventbrite.
Registration Software Providers work on a similar system as business software packages in that they seldom have free versions but have different service tiers for different services.
9. Web Hosting
If you have your own website, you know that keeping them running can be expensive. Web hosting companies charge for the services of maintaining domains and watching over the backend janitorial elements of websites for their clients. This is where SaaS software’s make maintenance and updates easier for webs hosting providers and clients.
10: Expert Services
Some SaaS companies connect users with experts such as legal experts, mental health experts, healthcare providers, &c. Examples include LegalZoom and BetterHelp.
These examples are tricky because they don’t usually charge subscription fees or offer free services. Instead, they may charge by time just like these experts would if they were seen in person.
11. Social Media and Dating Sites
Other interesting examples of SaaS include dating sites and some social media sites.
Most dating sites including Tinder and Bumble operate like regular social media sites, though they run more analytical software in order to connect compatible subscribers. This may be the reason that most of these websites charge.
Similarly, some social media sites such as LinkedIn are moving toward a SaaS model. That site, for example, has a free version but also has a subscription service that gives subscribers access to advanced services.
12. Academic Publications
Many academic publications are available online but only to people who pay a subscription fee to the organization posting the articles. This may not qualify as a SaaS service if it only provided the text of the articles.
For example, online publications like online newspapers and e-magazines don’t qualify as SaaS because, while they rely on the internet, they do not provide a service or software.
However, the sites that host academic publications usually also give access to other tools like analytical software and tools for searching and citing documents.
Popular SaaS Software Applications – Examples
Let us discuss a few SaaS software examples as mentioned above, that are widely used in the industry today.
Accelo ServOps is a cloud-based software that is ideal for professional services providing business ventures. It includes Sales with a smarter version of CRM; Project planning, tracking, and collaboration.
Client services such as scalable support ticketing and Retainers for the best administration procedures for the clients. Accelo provides a trial version including all the major features of the package before you purchase the product for your business.
Aircall is a cloud call software for business phone support that helps in better sales and also supports the integration of the software with the major business tools like HubSpot and Salesforce. The software provides an accessible, transparent and collaborative platform to easily manage the business workflow.
AppCues is your bae for customer retention for your business. The platform adds a customer experience layer to your products for building user onboarding, NPS surveys and feature announcements in just a matter of seconds rather than spending days.
AppZen uses artificial intelligence for both small and large business ventures to conduct a complete automated audit of the company’s expenses. It includes expense reports, invoices, and contracts in a limited time. This auditing technology combines computer vision, deep analysis, learning, and natural language processing for procuring the results.
Ceros is a new innovative approach to content management in the digital era. The platform has an extensively attractive and user-friendly studio to create engaging content that helps your brand stand out in the crowd. Experiential content is their forte which simply means to create content that is an amalgamation of interactions, animations, storytelling and embedded media.
A well-developed workstation for all your brand reputation requirements ranging from development, local SEO, social media activities, emails, reporting and analysis, ChatMeter has them all covered in one place. A team of energetic and dedicated professionals that works for even the smallest to the big shots in the industry!
The team at CultureIQ has devised this SaaS platform for culture management. The software is not a mere platform to measure performance but to manage the culture. They have a team of psychologists and data scientists that work to create the best-in results to improve and identify greater talents in an organization.
FramerX is a tool devised for creating an easy design environment, create prototypes, and even develop a frame all in one place. It consists of multiple automated layouts making designing stress-free. You can also make your prototypes feel lively using interactive elements and animations from the Frame Studio. Apart from these features this SaaS application also turns complex HTML, CSS, or even React components into visual elements in just a few easy steps.
FullStory, as the name suggests, provides the user with a full site analysis report on where the website has scored and where should it improve. Hence this platform will help the brains behind the venture to shove in some more time to resolve the issues and optimize the customer’s digital experience.
GitLab is a superpower tool that covers all aspects of the lifecycle of product development and launch. It is a one-stop solution for the entire DevOps lifecycle from project planning and source code management to CI/CD and monitoring.
Among the most widely used SaaS platform is the Google apps. With the ease in usage and, multiple and customizable applications that you can access simply through a web browser, it is one of the favourites of many business professionals!
Hubdoc is a SaaS application for document collection and management. You might be receiving countless receipts, bills and statements and emails regarding your financial activities. The functionality of Hubdoc comes into the picture. Once all the documents are imported (via snapshots or email forwardings) and the software is linked to your accounts. It will convert all these scattered documents into usable data. Hence avoid the hectic data entry process.
HubSpot is one of the best tools for business professionals to use for Sales, Marketing and Customer Relationship Management. Many of the features are free to access and for premium features, the user will have to pay a premium amount for different subscription plans as desired.
Logikcull is a first of its kind that is prepared for the law personnel. The tool is highly effective for time management in law firms. Apart from time management this cloud-based software also reduces the time and cost of disputes, investigations, and records requests.
The Loopio platform manages the response of organizations/ institutions to Requests for Proposals (RFPs), Due Diligence Questionnaires (DDQs), and Security Questionnaires. This eDiscovery SaaS application helps companies to collaborate more intelligently aiming at better user experience.
Great results come from great teams! On this fact, this SaaS application has been developed. Officevibe provides a weekly survey consisting of a few important questions that help in accessing the performances of the employees. It also has provisions for adding feedback and conversations as a follow-up mechanism and finally even creates team reports based on the studies.
PageFreezer is a SaaS application devised for managing your website and social media content that is vulnerable to compliance issues and litigation. This eDiscovery platform has been used for many governments and financial services firms to collect and archive any such content in real-time.
Pax8 is a one-stop solution for all your cloud computing requirements. Apart from the heavily invested cloud services and products available readily in the market, Pax8 provides the users with a well-distributed cloud for better productivity, security, continuity, and infrastructure.
Pipefy is a lean management platform that consists of an exclusive process management features and resources. This SaaS platform can be implemented for team management, prevent errors and reduce overall expenses. You can start off with the free version of Pipefy and upgrade to our premium features.
Plivo is a SaaS application for communication that enables a business to customer interactions. The systems integrate both SMS and voice calling features such as SMS API platform, Voce API platform, Virtual phone numbers and SIP enterprise-grading trunking called Zentrunk.
Postman provides the most uncomplicated API development environment. It offers features such as automated testing, monitoring, debugging, etc.
Postman’s workspace is ideal for project management. Its sync mechanism for team workspace is where team member’s activities monitored.
This SaaS application has a free version and a premium version. Premium features are added to the user’s disposal.
As the name suggests, Projector PSA is among the leading Professional Services Automation software on the market. It integrates with a business’s sales and financial sections to improve the management of the making and delivery of the project.
This is one name you find almost everywhere as pop ads and suggestions. Shopify is one great platform to create your own online store and shopping cart. The application also provides plugins both free and paid versions to make your e-commerce website better from the rest.
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If your business works remotely, employing Slack will highly help you in monitoring activities using their instant messaging feature. It can also be easily integrated with popular project management apps such as Trello, Basecamp, and Asana.
StackAdapt is North America’s first-native Demand-Side Platform for advertising possibilities used by the region’s exceptionally digital marketing professionals. The SaaS platform works on intent-based targeting and performance-based bidding for bringing in better outputs for the clientele.
Total Expert is the first centralized SaaS platform built for enterprise-grade marketing for financial organizations. The system employs the major constituents of marketing solutions such as multi-channel marketing, co-branded marketing, audit level tracking and reporting, and lead and contact management.
TravelPerk is a SaaS platform developed for corporate travel management. The software assists in the booking, managing and reporting of all your business trips in accordance with the companies policies. It can be accessed both using desktop or smart devices on the go. TravelPerk’s 24×7 in-house support team provides assistance to all your travel needs.
UpCity is a SaaS platform dedicated to providing best-in-class marketing solutions for its client businesses. The website will have detailed reviews and details on the service providers from which you can select the trusted marketing service provider in just five minutes.
Winmo is a Sale intelligence platform that helps its users to connect to the top professionals in the industry. This SaaS platform works as an advertising database. It provides details such as the key decision-makers, budget by budget, and projected opportunity timelines. It is for the users to study and use to pitch and win businesses.
Teamwork has always been the key factor in many businesses. Hence, it is essential to engage and communicate with your team. And ensure works are on time with high quality and at the same time recognize the efforts of the employees.
WorkJam works on this principle providing the company with a workplace for all sorts of internal communications. It can be regarding work, task management, learning or training sessions, and recognition with badges or momentoes.
Zendesk is a combination of some inevitable features for client relationship management by managing customer tickets and support requests. It has an onboard chat support feature, phone call support feature and even a bot facility to provide automated answers.
With the onset of technology, communication has gotten easier and one such a communication platform is Zoom. This SaaS application has been developed especially for corporates to conduct conferences, webinars, and business meetings.
It also requires high-quality video and uninterrupted audio and remote screen sharing experiences. It has both free and affordably priced plans that you can use according to the company’s requirements.
Apart from these business model tools, Armia has developed an efficient social media monitoring tool that fetches the conversations in social media about your brand. It also measures the media reach and new trends that match your business.
Platform as a service (PaaS) is a cloud computing service that allows customers to run, develop, and manage applications without the difficulty of building. Amazon web services are made up of different cloud computing services and products which provide a reliable, scalable, low-cost infrastructure platform.
A social commerce application allows businesses to create fully functional eCommerce storefronts on their Facebook pages and sell through multiple channels.