You’re looking for a new content management software system, and everywhere you keep seeing new terms you’re unfamiliar with. Drowning in industry jargon, especially the word “SaaS.” We can help with that bit! Let’s define SaaS.
SaaS is an acronym for “Software as a Service,” sometimes hyphenated as Software-as-a-Service. What is Software as a Service? It means that instead of hosting and maintaining the software yourself, and paying more upfront for it, you can pay a provider to maintain the software for you. Or even pay them to host the software, including all of the files you keep on that server. Usually, the SaaS pricing model is subscription-based. This means that you pay monthly or quarterly instead of annually, but there may be discounts for paying upfront.
Perpetual Licensing versus Subscription Software
What is the alternative? Software providers usually offer one of two options. Subscription is one. The other is an outright purchase, meaning that you pay once to buy the software instead of making ongoing payments. This is called “Perpetual Licensing” or “Software as a Product” (SaaP), and it comes with some additional considerations. SaaP may be less expensive in the long run, but it is possible that its upfront payment won’t fit your budget. Some buyers prefer it though if they’re juggling multiple subscriptions.
Depending on the solution and the company, certain software providers will offer both pricing models. This isn’t possible with every program or in every industry. For some buyers they need to do all of their computing offline; subscription products usually require an internet connection. Some providers offer a combination of the two, such as buying software outright but then paying for cloud hosting or support.
Benefits of Software as a Service
Subscription-based is often equated with web-based, accessing your files and workflows via an online portal. Just like how you can download and store a video you bought but you can’t download movies from Netflix, you can’t usually keep subscription software in your possession. The provider hosting it on their own server or in a cloud server allows them to maintain the software in a controlled environment. That said, some companies do offer lease-to-purchase or will install software locally even with a SaaS model. You have more options than you think!
Instead of hosting yourself and paying for a full IT team just dedicated to maintaining such an in-house system, those costs and hassles are handled on the provider’s end. You’re saving time in addition to money. Of course, if you already have an IT team, SaaS can also free up team members who would otherwise be responsible for managing this part of your stack daily.
Just because your software is in the cloud doesn’t mean it’s less accessible. In fact, this can give you more ways to access and search information – from a browser-based web app, a mobile app, or a special program installed on your computer. You can still store all documents in one location, even if it can be reached in many different ways and from virtually anywhere. You can even log into your ECM and update all information in your documents with ease.
Additionally, subscription pricing is affordable immediately. Which means that if this software presents a high ROI from savings each month (represented by labor you can forgo or other programs you can cancel), then it will continue to do so.
SaaS and Enterprise Content Management
ECM is content management software – organizing your heaping filing structure, storing all of your physical media, sending those (way past due) forms to Frank in compliance. It’s more than just storage, just like how your house is more than just a storage locker. How does SaaS work with document management solutions?
That kind of depends on how flexible the software is. If it’s anything like Contentverse, you can choose your own hosting. Which means that you’re in control of the cloud provider and the cloud servers themselves. Or you can trust us to set up hosting for you. Either way. So long as your provider is flexible, well, flexibility and SaaS can go hand-in-hand. Especially as you scale up. Your provider may offer discounted rates or price reductions if you have more users.
Other than that, you can expect the same performance with SaaS as you do with SaaP. You are able to have sign-offs as part of your workflows for approvals, receive reminders when documents need to be evaluated, and eliminate the paperwork behind tracking all of this.
Use cases for SaaS solutions
Who tends to choose subscription software? Their business might just be like looking in the mirror. We know that some private and even some public organizations choose SaaS. Non-profits and municipal governments see the upside of SaaS since they may be able to save on initial fees. It can mean faster onboarding and greater loyalty discounts.
A school might choose subscription if the hosting service has greater security capabilities than what they can do pull off their own servers with their own team. Companies such as distributors or utilities, dealing with large volumes of paperwork might choose SaaS. It’s easier to increase their usage and storage capacity with a phone call than buying and setting up new servers on their own.
The great thing is that you can have the same great product in either pricing model. That includes web access and flexible payment terms. So a trip through our case studies blog category will show you all of the possibilities with ECM, whether you go with SaaP or SaaS.
The right hosting option and payment plan for your team
It’s not easy making the jump. If you’re used to pulling a box on the shelf and paying once, subscription sounds scary. It doesn’t have to be. Choose the option that’s perfect for your needs. It’s your business – so it should be your decision too. Just let us know what you choose, and we’ll do the rest.