Understanding Software as a Service (SaaS)


When it comes to software and technological advancements, there have been a lot of changes that have taken place over the last few years. One significant change that has caught the attention of many people in the business world is the rise of Software as a Service (SaaS). SaaS is a delivery model of software applications where clients can access them over the internet. SaaS is gaining popularity since it offers a variety of advantages with minimal hassles. In this article, we are going to take a closer look at what SaaS is, the advantages and disadvantages of SaaS applications, trends in SaaS and a list of the popular SaaS applications.

Advantages of SaaS Applications

  1. Reduced cost: SaaS applications are affordable for businesses and start-ups since they require minimal infrastructure requirements, and monthly or yearly payments depending on the service provider.
  2. Accessibility: SaaS applications can be accessed from any device with an internet connection, making it more flexible for remote workers.
  3. Easy set-up: SaaS applications are easy to install and to get up and running, without the need for an on-premise infrastructure.
  4. Scalability: SaaS applications offer businesses the flexibility to gain or reduce application capacity based on their present needs.
  5. Easy Maintenance/Updates: Updates are managed and maintained by the SaaS service provider, making it easier for a business to stay up to date with the latest technology advancements.

Disadvantages of SaaS Applications

  1. Dependency on Internet Connectivity: SaaS applications function over the internet; hence, a weak connection can lead to delays or disruptions.
  2. Downtime: When the service provider experiences downtime, the application will not be available to users
  3. Limited Customization: SaaS applications usually have limited customization options, therefore, some applications may not suit every business need.
  4. Security: Security issues can be a concern for SaaS applications since the applications are hosted on the service provider’s servers.
  5. Limited control: Businesses may not have full control over the application since it is managed and maintained by the SaaS service provider.

Popular SaaS Applications

Here is a list of popular SaaS applications and their estimated cost of subscription.

  1. Microsoft Office 365: Starting from $5/month per user
  2. Salesforce Platform: Starting from $25/month per user
  3. Zoom: Starting from $149.90/year for video conferencing up to 100 participants.
  4. Mailchimp: Starting from $9.99/month for 500 contacts
  5. Dropbox: Starting from $11.99/month
  6. Google Workspace (formerly G Suite): Starting from $6/user/month
  7. Zendesk: Starting from $19/month for up to 3 agents
  8. Slack: Starting from $6.67/month per user
  9. Hubspot: Starting from $50/month for CRM, Sales, and Marketing tools
  10. Shopify: Starting from $29/month for an e-commerce store.

Expected Trends in SaaS and Other Models That May Compete for SaaS

  1. Expected Growth in SaaS

According to Gartner, SaaS is expected to grow to $113.1 billion in 2021, up 18.4% from 2019. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated cloud adoption, and businesses are looking for more scalable and cost-effective software solutions to support their operations remotely. In addition, emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), and blockchain are powering innovation in SaaS and making it more accessible to businesses of all sizes.

  1. Hybrid SaaS Models

One of the trends we are seeing in SaaS is the hybrid model, which combines the benefits of both on-premise and cloud solutions. A hybrid model allows businesses to store sensitive data on-premise while taking advantage of cloud infrastructure to scale their operations. This model is attractive to businesses that need to comply with data privacy regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

  1. Platform as a Service (PaaS)

Platform as a Service (PaaS) is another model that may provide competition for SaaS. PaaS offers a platform for developers to build, deploy, and manage applications without the overhead of managing infrastructure. PaaS is particularly useful for businesses that want to customize their software solutions and integrate them with other systems. Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, and Amazon Web Services are some of the major PaaS providers in the market.

  1. Open Source Software

Open source software is another model that may provide competition for SaaS. Open source software is software whose source code is freely available for anyone to use, modify, and distribute. Open source software is often associated with cost savings, innovation, and community-driven development. However, businesses need to be aware of the security risks associated with using open source software and have the competence to manage it effectively.

  1. Microservices Architecture

Microservices architecture is a software development approach that emphasizes the decomposition of applications into small, independent services that can be developed, deployed, and scaled independently. Microservices architecture enables businesses to build modular software solutions that can be easily customized and scaled to meet changing demands. Microservices architecture is often used in combination with cloud infrastructure and containerization technologies such as Docker and Kubernetes.


SaaS has undoubtedly transformed the way businesses use software applications. Despite its limitations, the advantages of SaaS applications continue to make them a popular choice for businesses of different sizes, making it easier to scale operations and handle workloads without wasting time, resources, and money on the requisite infrastructure. The ten SaaS applications listed above are just a few of the most popular ones; there are hundreds of other SaaS applications to choose from depending on business needs and operations. The future of SaaS applications looks bright, as more businesses move to the cloud.

In conclusion, SaaS is expected to continue growing in popularity as businesses seek more flexible, cost-effective, and scalable software solutions. However, other models such as hybrid models, PaaS, open source software, and microservices architecture may provide competition for SaaS. Businesses need to evaluate their software needs and choose the model that best fits their requirements and goals. By staying up-to-date with emerging trends in software delivery models, businesses can stay competitive and gain a strategic advantage in their respective markets.

Also, UX design is critical for any website and especially SaaS applications. Having an easy to navigate, user-pleasing and user-friendly UX can make or break a SaaS application. The amount of time being spent on UX for SaaS applications has generally been rising due to both their popularity and feedback about UX frustration. Expect to see better UX experiences on many SaaS platforms.

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