colleagues looking at government software on laptop

Hesitant to move to SaaS? Wondering what the differences between SaaS and traditional software?

Software as a service (SaaS) is cloud-based software. This means that instead of downloading the software onto your computer or network, you access it via a web browser. 

Access via an internet browser allows you to use the software from anywhere. Gone are the days of only being able to use software when you were on a specific company computer with the software downloaded on it. 

Organizations hesitant to move to SaaS might be wondering what are the benefits of SaaS over traditional software.

SaaS offers improved access, compatibility with a variety of devices (including mobile) and allows your organization to be more agile in its work. Here’s a look at the benefits of SaaS and deciding whether SaaS or traditional legacy software makes sense for your organization.

What are the benefits of SaaS over traditional software?

Traditional legacy software requires that you have a copy downloaded on your computer. Managing many users can be challenging in this format as it requires someone in your IT or procurement department keep track of who has the software and whether they still need it.

Alternatively, software as a service is accessible via any device with a web browser. Your users will still need to prove they have rights to the software through a username and password, but they can access it from any device from any location. This is especially helpful for software like online HR software that many of your employees need access to.

Let’s compare SaaS and Traditional On-Premise Software:

1. Easier for the IT team and procurement teams to manage since they assign credentials instead of having to install the software on a device.

2. Increased access so team members can get to the data within the software when they need it. Because SaaS is hosted on cloud-based servers instead of locally on one specific computer, your team can access the software from home or while working remotely.

3. SaaS generally costs less per license than traditional software. Since there aren’t licensing and physical copies of the software to maintain, you’ll also experience a lower cost of ownership with less maintenance.

4. Scales easily as your organization grows and changes. When you need to add more users, you can do so in a couple of clicks without the burden of needing to download the software onto their computer.

5. Easier to dispatch updates to the software since it’s hosted in a cloud environment. This means you can dispatch updates remotely without disrupting your user base.

6. Audit license usage and keep a clear trail of changes within the software so you know who has done what. Because SaaS applications update in real time, you can see who is logged in at any given time, what they’ve changed or updated in the software and how often they use the software. That way, you can best manage your licenses to optimize the amount you spend on the software.

Examples of Online SaaS Software

Understanding the difference between SaaS and traditional software is sometimes easiest when compared with software programs you already use within your government agency.

You might be surprised how many cloud services you’re already using that operate on the SaaS model.

Office 365

Using Office 365, you can access an online version of Microsoft Office Suite. From accessing work email to using SharePoint, having your Office tools available from any device is quite helpful. 

Salesforce

Salesforce is a cloud-based CRM system. As one of the largest CRM tools on the market, you’re probably familiar with Salesforce. You might have even used it to manage contacts within your municipality.

You’ll know your Salesforce account is a SaaS product when you access it through your web browser. That will tell you that it is not hosted locally on your computer.

Google Apps

Google Drive, Gmail, Hangout – these are all SaaS products. You can access them from any device, including a mobile device and generally access the content via your website browser.

Concur

Concur is a business travel management software that helps organizations automate their travel and expense management. Through a web browser, employees can log expenses, assign them to specific departments and track their spending.

Slack/Instant Messaging

Many instant messaging platforms are available both as traditional software and SaaS. While you can access tools like Slack through your web browser, you can also get an application for your computer to manage this tool locally if that’s more convenient for you.

Canopy

Canopy offers an HR SaaS software. Within Core HR, employees can access their pay stubs, manage their vacation time and vacation requests, and file important paperwork, such as information related to FMLA leave. This type of software is especially helpful to have as a SaaS product because your whole staff needs access to it.

Key Considerations for SaaS vs. Traditional Software

Control

While SaaS has opened the door for new ways of doing business and collaborating, there are still some key considerations when deciding between SaaS and traditional on-premises software. These considerations include control, security and compliance. Here’s what you need to keep in mind as you shop for SaaS products.

Traditional software: With traditional software, organizations retain all their data and are fully in control of what happens to it. Organizations in highly regulated communities with extra privacy concerns are more likely to hesitate to leap into the cloud before others because of this reason.

SaaS: In a SaaS cloud computing environment, the question of ownership of data is one that many organizations – and vendors for that matter, must define. Data and encryption keys reside within your solution provider, so if the unexpected happens and there is downtime, you maybe be unable to access that data.

Security

Traditional software: Organizations that have extra sensitive information, must have a certain level of security and privacy that an on-premises environment provides. Despite the promise of the cloud, security is the primary concern for many industries, so an on-premises environment, despite some of its drawbacks and price tag, make more sense.

SaaS: Security concerns remain the number one barrier to a cloud computing deployment. There have been many publicized cloud breaches, and IT departments around the world are concerned. From the personal information of employees to a loss of intellectual property, the security threats are real.

Compliance

Traditional software: Many organizations operate under some form of regulatory control. Perhaps the most common one is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) for private health information, but there are many others, including the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). For organizations that are subject to such regulations, they must remain compliant and know where their data is always.

SaaS: Organizations that do choose a SaaS cloud computing model must do their due diligence and ensure that their third-party provider is compliant with all the different regulatory mandates within their industry. The SaaS provider must secure sensitive data.

Whether you need your software locally hosted to meet your required level of access and control or are looking for a hands-free SaaS solution that manages your updates, backups, and compliance needs, BMSI offers software designed to meet the needs of local governments and municipalities. 

We help organizations save time and money by integrating software solutions for HR, accounting, billing and more.

 

Schedule a free demo to learn more about how BMSI can make your job easier and to find out if you qualify for free data transfer.