For decades, leading-edge technological innovation has been available only to those with the resources for expensive hardware and software systems and the IT experts needed to keep these systems up and running. The result has been an historic innovation gap that left small and medium-sized entities — public and private, for-profit and not-for-profit — at a disadvantage in realizing the productivity gains that larger companies took for granted.

New advantages

That innovation gap has largely disappeared, thanks to the shift of technology to the cloud. The functionality needed to run a business, school, clinic or hospital can now be accessed from a PC, tablet or smartphone without the need for anything more than a good internet connection.

The functionality available from SaaS providers has other advantages as well. software as a service (SaaS) software is typically sold on a per-user, per-month basis, making it financially much more accessible by doing away with massive capital outlays and long-term depreciation of assets. SaaS software is also designed to be as self-service as possible, making purchasing, deployment and daily use something a business user can do without asking the IT department to set up and maintain it.

SaaS self-service culture has also helped drive massive improvements in user experience. SaaS software, much of which is intended for use on a smartphone or tablet, is increasingly designed to be orders of magnitude more user-friendly than older, on-premise software.

“The functionality needed to run a business, school, clinic or hospital can now be accessed from a PC, tablet or smartphone...”

Improving on-premise software

Access to the latest business process innovation, however, is perhaps the greatest reason companies are moving to embrace SaaS. This isn’t just because vendors are focused almost entirely on shifting innovation from their on-premise products to their SaaS products, though that’s increasingly the case. Importantly, SaaS software can also impart distinct advantages to businesses that could never be available in on-premise software.

One major advantage comes from the connectivity available in the cloud. When businesses that use the same SaaS system want to transact with one another, they can use the connectivity inherent in their SaaS software to streamline their transactions. Once a company sets itself up to sell products on a SaaS procurement system, for example, its products, pricing and services can be available to any company that signs on to the network. Instead of setting up and maintaining individual connections to each of its customers, the seller can rely on the SaaS software’s connectivity to onboard each and every customer.

These and other one-to-many connections available in SaaS software, along with the standardization of the customer experience for all customers, can lead to significant productivity gains for buyer and seller.

Streamlining your updates

Similarly, when it comes to adding new products or services or changing prices, the seller does so once, in the SaaS system, and those changes are made available automatically to every other company using the system. This one-to-many connectivity adds a degree of accuracy and consistency to business processes that’s difficult to achieve in the older, one-to-one connectivity required by on-premise systems.

These are but a few of the ways SaaS software is changing business practices and driving new levels of efficiency, customer service and productivity to companies large and small. Innovation isn’t just for the big guys anymore: SaaS software provides a level playing field for all.