Software as a Service (SaaS) development involves the creation of software that is available on-demand. It also can be called cloud computing. SaaS intends to provide a faster and more practical way of delivering computer software and programs to businesses and general users.
With SaaS, a computer user gets to use programs like Google® Docs and Photoshop® Express without having to install the programs. Instead, they use them off of an external server. Users can gain access to programs instantly if those programs are available for online use.
One major advantage this system promises is that it will remove the need to transfer files from the host computer. The file transfer process theoretically is eliminated because all files are saved on a server in a central location, either locally or on the Internet. Users can either download the SaaS software program on their computer or use it directly from the server, depending on the situation.
Under traditional methods of software distribution, when a person purchases a computer, programs typically come already installed. If a person wants to add new programs, he usually has to purchase them. This cost could become exorbitant, especially in large companies.
When a company wants to install new software, it often has to purchase individual licenses for that software for every system that it has. In many cases, licenses are not available for group usage and only are offered for individual systems. Buying multiple licenses for each employee that needs to use the software could be very expensive.
Businesses hope to eliminate this exorbitant cost with SaaS development. Using SaaS, the same programs can be downloaded over the Internet to any number of systems. A one-time cost often is all the company has to pay.
Some believe that the advent and growth of Internet file sharing is at least partially responsible for SaaS development. When Internet speeds were slower, it was time consuming and in some cases, it was impossible to download entire programs. Higher speeds have allowed people to download larger files in less time, and larger networks have contributed to making it possible for SaaS programs to be shared over networks.
Software distributed under SaaS usually is not free, so software companies and those involved in SaaS development are able to make a profit from software distribution. Many believe that SaaS development businesses will grow, as this method of software distribution may make it possible for more entities to begin developing applications. Marketing and distribution of programs should be cheaper and more efficient than traditional software sales channels.