Traditionally, most companies have a process they go through to purchase their application software. Vendors are researched, long lists are made, demos and trials are held, and eventually, selections are finalized. Once the new software is delivered, IT personnel must install the application and then the software is deployed to employees for use. This grueling process can be lengthy and can also add to the initial investment when you consider the man-hours required to set up and configure the new solution.
Or, perhaps your company's budget constraints will not allow you to invest in a large application. You may have very specific needs for a certain kind of software (such as IT Help Desk), but the required initial investment may lead to the entire project being labeled "cost prohibitive." In addition, you may not currently have the infrastructure in place to house the software, which could mean even more money out-of-pocket.
On-Demand software or Software as a Solution (SaaS (News
)) is becoming increasingly more popular. Instead of purchasing an expensive license and installing your software in-house, software is “hosted” by the solution provider and “rented” by the month. Analysts project that by 2010, 30 percent of new software will be delivered via the SaaS model.
There are many benefits to this software deployment model:
--Low Cost of Entry – instead of a large initial investment, you make monthly payments to use the software as long as you need it. The ongoing expenses are predictable for easy budgeting.
--Upgrades are Included – typically you are offered the latest version of the software that is available.
--Controlled Risk – if the application is not a good fit for your company you can opt out at the end of your contract.
--Reduced IT Burden – since the software is hosted by the provider, your IT staff does not have the burden of the install or ongoing maintenance. Breakdowns are handled by the vendor.
--Flexibility – as your business changes you may need changes in your software. SaaS allows you the ability to make changes as your circumstances change.
Of important consideration when selecting a SaaS provider is data security. You should ensure that your data is safe and secure. You will want to know the location of the data center, their physical security measures, data backup practices, and disaster recovery plans if the data center becomes unavailable.
More and more vendors -- including help desk software vendors -- are offering SaaS, so when you are evaluating software application purchases, you might want to consider an on-demand SaaS solution.
Anne Sych is Marketing Manager for Novo Solutions, Inc., specialists in help desk software.