What is SaaS? A History of Software as a Service

What is SaaS? A History of Software as a Service

You might have heard it mentioned at work, someone from IT is throwing around ideas about the next best thing in business software. That’s all well and good, but you’ve got a customer call scheduled five minutes ago, and they’re unlikely to let you off because of an exciting new cloud-based solution someone is talking about. So what really is SaaS?

The simplest way to understand SaaS is a service providing access to software applications for users via the internet. It’s about unlocking the opportunity of specialist software without the need for costly in-house installations or state-of-the-art hardware. All you need is an internet connection, a subscription, and an appreciation of the huge opportunity that SaaS delivers. Understanding the history of SaaS is the perfect stepping stone to embracing that potential.

A History of SaaS

The SaaS model existed in an early form as far back as the 1980s, a frontier world of clunking hard drives and emerging business software applications. From those early stirrings, the flexibility and opportunity of the SaaS approach began a transformation in the software industry.

The first true trailblazer of widespread SaaS success came from business-management platform Salesforce. From its launch in 1999, Salesforce went on to become a multibillion dollar company that’s still a market leader today. The explosion in demand for SaaS functionality reportedly saw employees at Salesforce working full-time in hallways and conference rooms because growth was so rapid that their 8,000ft office couldn’t seat them.

In its early days, SaaS primarily emerged as an innovative new B2B solution. Pioneers like Salesforce led the way, before established software systems such as Oracle and Sage soon saw the shape of the future to come and transitioned their own services in this direction. B2C solutions would follow, with applications like note-taking software Evernote and cloud-storage business Dropbox two of the more widely recognised consumer SaaS solutions today.

An inherent driving force behind this increasing adoption of SaaS has been the growth in high-speed internet connections. Malaysia’s average internet speed as of 2017 was 6.69Mbps, far exceeding what was enjoyed just a decade before.

This tandem growth in adoption and connectivity means SaaS is so widespread today that we barely even notice. Looking for a bit of Netflix and chill after a hard day’s work? You might as well be sitting down to ‘some SaaS and relaxation’. Streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime are just as much an SaaS application as the business-driven benefits of an e-procurement platform like Procurehere.

What does that dramatic growth in SaaS solutions mean in terms of market value? Gartner predict that the booming SaaS market, valued at an estimated US$12.3 billion by 2011, will be worth US$71.2 billion in 2018.

What SaaS means for procurement

SaaS is widely favoured for its easily adopted path to accessing software. The established benefits of accessibility, flexibility and customer opportunity that have made SaaS such a success, are the very reasons that Procurehere’s cloud-based e-procurement solution operates on this model.

SaaS is an adaptive approach that helps you embrace opportunity today, while keeping you relevant tomorrow. There is no burdensome upfront expenditure or need for extensive IT resourcing. You don’t have to pay for annual software upgrades, with SaaS we invest in the upgrades, so you’re already invested in the future. With a simple subscription, users of Procurehere gain access to user-friendly auctions, requisitioning and RFx events that deliver real savings for their business.

Of course we’re not saying you should head home from a hard day at work and relax with some e-procurement, but the reality today is that SaaS isn’t some daring new business model, it’s part of our everyday lives.

If the history of SaaS teaches us anything, it’s that the growing potential of these solutions is a huge opportunity for business. This is no longer the emerging frontier of business software solutions, it’s the pinnacle of effective access to value-unlocking business software today.

Explore the powerful opportunity SaaS can unlock for your procurement, with a free trial of Procurehere.