In the past, software was generally purchased outright and downloaded onto a device or a number of devices. However, in today’s digital world there is a new and alternative way of purchasing software. This new way of accessing software is known as Software as a Service, or, more succinctly, SaaS.

SaaS is essentially a cloud-based distribution model for software. The software is hosted by a third-party provider and accessed by users over the internet. It is usually sold as a subscription-based model.

Well-known examples of SaaS include Office 365, Google Apps, Netflix, Dropbox, and Adobe Creative Cloud, as well as our own Breathe SaaS.

An increasing number of businesses are re-evaluating their software needs and leaning more towards SaaS applications. SaaS is more commonly used by businesses these days for accounting, sales tracking, HR and communications.

What differentiates SaaS from traditional software licenses?

Traditional software requires installation on the customer’s premises. The number of computers it can be downloaded to is limited. Typically, traditional software has relatively high up-front costs and most of the implementation and support falls to the IT department of the customer.

There are also annual maintenance costs and upgrade charges, with some new versions requiring a completely new license. There’s often no option for a free trial with traditional software.

SaaS, on the other hand, is owned, managed and delivered by a third party (such as Breathe). The software is accessed from any device through any internet browser. The number of users is determined by subscription (usually paid weekly, monthly or annually), which makes SaaS more economical overall, and without large up-front costs. Most SaaS has an option for a free trial, so it is easy to see if the software is a good fit for your business before financially committing to it.

Another advantage of SaaS is the fact that updates are automatic, so employees are always working with the latest version. There’s also usually a lot more support, especially for mobile apps, than with traditional software licenses.

In addition, especially for smaller or medium-sized businesses, data is more secure with a third-party SaaS vendor than it is if managed in-house by your own IT team.

Is SaaS the same as cloud computing?

No. SaaS and cloud computing are often used interchangeably, but there are in fact some significant differences between the two. SaaS refers to any software application that you access that isn’t located on your premises. The SaaS vendor runs the application on their infrastructure and you log in to your vendor’s website via the internet to gain access. It’s essentially a rental system.

SaaS applications run in the cloud, but they aren’t the cloud itself. So, if cloud computing isn’t Saas, what is it? Cloud computing is a varied virtual landscape providing remote resources that aren’t tied to a specific location, such as servers, data storage, networking, software, analytics and so on. Cloud computing enables you to access, customise and manage your data from virtually any internet-connected device. There’s no IT infrastructure to maintain, so businesses can focus on other priorities.

Cloud computing is generally used by software programmers and application vendors, whereas SaaS offers a neatly packaged product for end users.

You only pay for the cloud services you use, so it enables businesses to lower operating costs and scale more easily as they grow. Cloud computing eliminates the expense of buying hardware and storing and maintaining it (i.e. racks of servers).

Why use SaaS HR software?

SaaS HR software offers a seamless and integrated platform for everything related to HR, from recruitment, on-boarding, performance management, training, holiday and absence management, and managing employee data through to payroll, expenses, benefits and comprehensive analytics.

Running a business means keeping up with the competition. It means employing the best talent and retaining your most valuable employees. You also need the best, most accessible and efficient tools for your staff to be able to perform optimally in their jobs.

Employee engagement is the key to productivity. Implementing a HR system that supports a collaborative culture, and keeps employees engaged, should be a top priority for business leaders.

There are many examples of SaaS HR software on the market. Breathe specialises in SaaS HR software for SMEs. Traditionally, small and medium-sized businesses have been slow to invest in any HR system as such, largely due to the cost.

However, SaaS HR, with its low set-up costs, easily scalable options and quick and easy implementation, is a much more attractive proposition for smaller businesses. Breathe HR SaaS software, for example, has a simple pricing structure based on the number of employees in your company.

With SaaS HR, the burden of security, availability, and performance lies with the service provider. SaaS HR software offers a hassle-free, reliable, secure option to any business. Breathe offers a unified HR system that is easy to use and puts you in control of all of your HR functions. To help you decide if we are the right fit for you, we offer a free 14-day trial, comprehensive training videos and a team of trained professionals on hand to answer any questions you might have.