On Demand Solutions
On-demand software is a type of software delivery model that is deployed and managed on a vendor’s cloud computing infrastructure and accessed by users over the Internet as and when required. On-demand software enables a user/organization to subscribe to software on a pay-as- you-go, monthly billing method.
On-demand software is also known as Software as a Service (SaaS), online software and cloud-based software. Businesses are increasingly moving towards hosted applications. The rise of SaaS and cloud computing underlines the need to be able to offer this to your customers and application partners. The On-Demand name comes from the fact you license the software by subscribing to it and then using it directly from where it is centrally hosted.
On-demand solutions provide the same or enhanced capabilities compared to on-premises software but the main benefit is that companies don’t have to buy their own software. The customer pays a flat monthly fee to use the software and can decommission services anytime.
On-demand software also eliminates the need for in-house server hardware and other operational expenses, as well as the staff required to manage the software. The on-demand software can be accessed anytime globally from the Internet in a standard Web browser on most end devices such as computers, tablets and smartphones. The vendor, in turn, is responsible for ensuring the software’s availability, back-end security and management and versioning control.
“I could either watch it happen or be a part of it” ― Elon Musk
SaaS removes the need for organizations to install and run applications on their own computers or in their own data centers. Other benefits of the SaaS model include:
- Flexible payments. Rather than purchasing software to install, or additional hardware to support it, customers subscribe to a SaaS offering. Transitioning costs to a recurring operating expense allows many businesses to exercise better and more predictable budgeting. Users can also terminate SaaS offerings at any time to stop those recurring costs.
- Scalable usage. Cloud services like SaaS offer high Vertical scalability, which gives customers the option to access more or fewer services or features on demand.
- Automatic updates. Rather than purchasing new software, customers can rely on a SaaS provider to automatically perform updates and patch management. This further reduces the burden on in-house IT staff.
- Accessibility and persistence. Since SaaS vendors deliver applications over the internet, users can access them from any internet-enabled device and location.
- Customization. SaaS applications are often customizable and can be integrated with other business applications, especially across applications from a common software provider.
SaaS applications similarly support what is traditionally known as application configuration. In other words, like traditional enterprise software, a single customer can alter the set of configuration options that affect its functionality and look-and-feel. Each customer may have its own settings for the configuration options.
SaaS applications are often updated more frequently than traditional software, in many cases on a weekly or monthly basis. This is enabled by several factors:
- The application is hosted centrally, so an update is decided and executed by the provider, not by customers.
- The application only has a single configuration, making development testing faster.
Because SaaS applications cannot access a company’s internal systems (databases or internal services), they predominantly offer integration protocols and application programming interfaces (APIs) that operate over a network.
Inspired by the success of social networking services and other so-called web 2.0 functionality, SaaS applications offer features that let their users collaborate and share information. Collaboration features let users comment on tasks and plans and share documents within and outside an organization.