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A New Term Every Business Owner Should Know

There’s an enormous wave of change occurring that affects every business owner. Most if not all software is moving to the Web. The term is called SaaS or Software as a Service. Chances are, even if you don’t know it, you may already be using a SaaS solution in your home and business lives. SaaS, or Software as a Service, is a relatively simple concept. Instead of installing a piece of software on your desktop PC or your company’s server, users access an instance of the software over the Internet, or put another way, the cloud.

Web-based software is easy. All you need to know is to remember your password and follow the instructions on the screen. The same is true with business web-based software. Everything from Payroll, to Email Marketing, to Customer Relationship Management (CRM) to Accounting can be accessed online (through a SaaS application). This means that you don’t have to worry about anything (such as servers, software maintenance or software installation) other than logging in to the application online.

Some caveats to web-based software are that you end up storing your data online on someone else’s servers. So, its important to make sure you know how to get your data back if want to leave the service. Also, you will sometimes want your application to connect with another SaaS application. This can often be easily setup (often with the help of a consultant) through something called an API, if the application includes one. An API just means that it is easy for a programmer to help two applications talk to each other (meaning share data).

In general, using SaaS versions of an application makes it easier for you since there is no software to install or maintain. The interfaces are becoming easier to use and there is a web-based application for just about everything these days. But there is the “lock-in” factor, meaning that its not as easy as it seems to leave an application because your data is in the application and your team gets used to the interface. So, do your research on sites like Comparz before you make your selection.

Rachel BlanksteinFounder and CEO, Comparz, Inc.
She launched and grew the Data Services business at U.S. Cellular to a $100 Million business, and is an experienced consultant in the areas of online customer acquisition and strategic business growth. | Facebook | @evolvebiz | More from Rachel

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