Armanino Blog

9 SaaS Differentiators and Benefits

by Dave Burlington
September 02, 2014

Software as a service (SaaS) is differentiated from hosted solutions or ASP (Application Service Provider) solutions on a number of various points. Benefits to end users can be direct or indirect.

In a recent interview with Dave Burlington, partner and leader of Armanino's Cloud Solutions practice, he identified these common SaaS differentiators and the benefits end users can expect to realize.

Built from the ground, up on a multi-tenant architecture – This basically makes it easier for the provider to deploy and manage the application; lowering overall costs. This translates into a benefit for customers by allowing for lower service pricing.

New releases delivered promptly to all customers at the same time, seamlessly; without requiring upgrades – There are two benefits here:

1) The end users have access to the latest, and presumably best, version of the software

2) Allows the provider to update one code base without having to upgrade hundreds of individual systems; lowering overall costs, which should result in lower service pricing.

Configurations preserved and kept effective when new versions are released – This eliminates the need for the end users to reconfigure their systems and eliminates errors in data processing that might result from configuration errors not detected by the end users.

New versions of software are functionally compatible with previous versions – The benefit is that end users will not lose functionality when systems are updated. It's not uncommon that non-SaaS systems lose some functionality when they're upgraded.

Typically have open, versioned, and backward compatible web service-based API's for integration – Makes it easier to develop integrations to external systems and keeps integrations working through version updates; reducing system downtime.

Full database mirroring – Ensures that should there be a debilitating event at the data center housing your application and data, your application and data will be available from another, geographically distant data center. Typical hosting and ASP providers may offer this service, but usually at additional cost.

Self-service trials and provisioning – This means you can get up and running quickly and that you can try the software before you commit, on your own, without a pushy salesperson bugging you. You can also scale your system yourself, without having to wait for someone to buy new hardware, install new software, change network attributes, etc.

There will be a steady stream of enhancements – Because it's easier and less costly for the SaaS provider to deploy enhancements and updates, the end users will be able to use them sooner and get the benefits of the updated application sooner.

Can be used on multiple types of devices – The applications will work in a browser, tablet, phone, etc.; whatever device the end user chooses.

If you have specific questions about these benefits or other SaaS differentiators, we invite you to reach out directly to Dave.

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Dave Burlington - Partner, Consulting - San Francisco CA | Armanino
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