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Software as a Service is the capability provided to the consumer to use the provider's applications running on a cloud infrastructure. The applications can be accessible from various client devices through either a thin client interface, such as a web browser (e.g., web-based email), or a program interface [1]. The consumer does not manage or control the underlying cloud infrastructure including network, servers, operating systems, storage, or even individual application capabilities, with the possible exception of limited user-specific application configuration settings. When we translate it to the SaaS business applications, that means client just need to run and configure application, but everything other is out of his scope.

In the software as a service (SaaS) model, users gain access to application software and databases. Cloud providers manage the infrastructure and platforms that run the applications. SaaS is sometimes referred to as "on-demand software" and is usually priced on a pay-per-use basis or using a subscription fee.[2] In the SaaS model, cloud providers install and operate application software in the cloud and cloud users access the software from cloud clients. Cloud users do not manage the cloud infrastructure and platform where the application runs. This eliminates the need to install and run the application on the cloud user's own computers, which simplifies maintenance and support. Cloud applications differ from other applications in their scalability—which can be achieved by cloning tasks onto multiple virtual machines at run-time to meet changing work demand.[3] Load balancers distribute the work over the set of virtual machines. This process is transparent to the cloud user, who sees only a single access-point. To accommodate a large number of cloud users, cloud applications can be multitenant, meaning that any machine may serve more than one cloud-user organization.

The pricing model for SaaS applications is typically a monthly or yearly flat fee per user,[4] so prices become scalable and adjustable if users are added or removed at any point. It may also be free.[5] Proponents claim that SaaS gives a business the potential to reduce IT operational costs by outsourcing hardware and software maintenance and support to the cloud provider. This enables the business to reallocate IT operations costs away from hardware/software spending and from personnel expenses, towards meeting other goals. In addition, with applications hosted centrally, updates can be released without the need for users to install new software. One drawback of SaaS comes with storing the users' data on the cloud provider's server. As a result, there could be unauthorized access to the data.[6] Examples of applications offered as SaaS are productivity software like Office 365 and Google Docs or Slack and Zoom. SaaS applications may be integrated with cloud storage or File hosting services, which is the case with Office 365 being integrated with Microsoft One Drive.

SaaS and Business Applications[edit]

First SaaS applications were not business applications, but with new century business applications started slowly with SaaS concept. In the beginning there were only few of them as clients were not sure in this concept. In these early beginnings, clients didn't have enough trust to move their legacy business applications to full cloud concept.

But with the years, this concept got more and more fans and in the last few years SaaS slowly becomes dominant model in business applications segment. Now when we are talking about future of business applications, if vendor doesn't have SaaS business applications on offering, market concludes it doesn't have a future.

The first and the most popular SaaS business applications are:

See also[edit]


  1. Definition by National Institute of Standards and Technology
  2. "Definition of: SaaS".
  3. Hamdaqa, Mohammad. "A Reference Model for Developing Cloud Applications" (PDF).
  4. Chou, Timothy. "Introduction to Cloud Computing: Business & Technology".
  5. "HVD: the cloud's silver lining" (PDF). Intrinsic Technology. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 October 2012. Retrieved 30 August 2012.
  6. Sun, Yunchuan; Zhang, Junsheng; Xiong, Yongping; Zhu, Guangyu (2014-07-01). "Data Security and Privacy in Cloud Computing".