What is SaaS?
Software as a Service - what it is and isn't
SaaS companies are on the rise (particularly in the work-from-home economy) and an increasing amount of people recognize the value of SaaS. But what does that mean? What is Software as a Service and what can you expect from a SaaS company?
Software as a Service explained
Most of us use software on a daily basis. For a long time, it was common to buy a CD or DVD which contained the software you purchased, which you would then install onto your computer. Updates could be purchased by buying a new version or downloading updates from the company website. When apps were introduced, this changed a bit. Unfortunately, apps still require to be installed and updated locally, and that uses up storage on your device. Open-source systems also require storage, and they need to be managed by IT. With Software as a Service, all this is becoming a thing of the past.
“The SaaS concept provides you with the use of the software on a subscription basis, and the application resides elsewhere. [...] That “elsewhere” has become popularly known as the cloud.” Source: SaaS for Dummies
Most SaaS solutions are built for and accessible in the cloud. The software is obtained through licensing rather than a purchase. The SaaS company typically provides:
the software and updates
the operating systems
ensures you can use the latest software any time, any place
There is no need to have a degree in IT anymore to implement new software – all the technical details are taken care of by the SaaS company. The biggest advantages, especially for companies, are that the software can be used on multiple devices from anywhere in the world, it is accessible online, there is no installation required, and the software is always up to date. Instead of investing a large sum of money to purchase new software, you pay a subscription fee for the services you actually use. Many SaaS solutions offer a free trial, supplemental apps, or integrations to ensure optimal experience with the software. In practice, this might look like a project management or collaboration software which offers integrations with cloud storage services, email providers, or time-management tools. In the case of PressPage, if you're using our software to publish your stories in your online newsroom, you can widen the scope of your PR activities with PressPage by adding unlimited email distribution as an add-on, or a media database to make sure you reach out to relevant media contacts.
The SaaS concept provides you with the use of the software on a subscription basis, and the application resides elsewhere. [...] That “elsewhere” has become popularly known as the cloud.
What can you expect from a SaaS company?
The advantages of the SaaS software solutions are quite clear, with the main advantage being that it is easy to use, maintain and implement. But that is just one part of the equation. The other part, the human touch, is also quite important. What does a SaaS company do for a client?
The first point of contact with a business is usually through sales. Most SaaS companies go about their sales strategies differently. An open and direct conversation, and zooming in on the issue you as a client may have, are key in the sales strategy. Sales Representatives are developing more and more into consultants and researchers that connect with possible clients, with a great understanding of the market they are operating in and the challenges that prospects face. They know the service they provide to a T and connect with people that would really benefit from their software solution. Providing a free trial, investing in proper demo meetings and brainstorming with a prospect to find a solution that suits them is the way to go. Whenever a prospect turns into a customer, the Sales Representative provides the dedicated Customer Success Manager with the necessary information to enter the onboarding process.
Most SaaS companies have a dedicated Client Service or Customer Success team. They are the link between the customer and internal departments, mostly development. When a new client comes in, the Customer Success Manager is responsible for the onboarding process, ensuring the software is implemented correctly, and that the customer knows how to handle the software. Most importantly, the Customer Success Manager proactively thinks of ways the client could use the software to its full potential. When the software is up and running, Customer Success Managers will provide customer support and offer in-depth information about the software to their clients. They are the main point of contact with clients and have great insight in what is working well, what needs are not being met and what developments are in demand. They will communicate these needs to development and update clients on support tickets they have requested.
Since SaaS is centered around software, a great development team is indispensable. Development focuses on keeping the software running properly, providing regular updates, and thinking of ways to improve the software and user experience. Most SaaS companies provide a software solution ‘off the shelf’. There might be different options based on company size, industry or preference, but the solution is being bought as is. Development teams within SaaS companies are working on improving and updating the software for all users, therefore custom work is rarely part of the deal. The upside is that with the development team continuously working to stay on top of trends, every feature on the platform is up to date, ensuring that customers always have a cutting edge software solution.
What doesn’t a SaaS company do?
A SaaS company usually offers one or more ‘off the shelf’ software solutions. This means custom work is not included or is considered an added service. Here at PressPage, whenever a new client signs up, our Customer Success team is devoted to getting the newsroom up and running within the style of the client’s company website and using all the features the client needs. This means we will create a newsroom template (or design layer) based on the live website of the client, we style the modules according to the look & feel of the corporate website and help set up the layout of the newsroom. What our clients find really useful, is that they are able to customize the platform themselves by simply turning modules on and off – no coding knowledge needed.
We don’t create a whole new design for a website or web page, create a custom content management system, or create new apps and modules. We are, however, always open for suggestions and rely on client input to prioritize updates and additions to our platform.
SaaS creates new opportunities and a different kind of relationship between vendors and customers that benefits both sides.
Why choose a SaaS company?
Are you looking into purchasing new software? Then you are most likely running into several SaaS solutions. Why should you consider a SaaS company?
First and foremost, SaaS companies take the full responsibility of the technical details of the software – you don’t need elaborate technical knowledge or resources to use it.
Secondly, most SaaS solutions are up to date and easy to use. SaaS solutions rely on the subscriptions of happy customers, so we try our hardest to keep you happy.
Lastly, the SaaS mindset is usually centered around a proactive approach to clients and prospects. This means sales does research on prospects and offers valuable insights while looking for a potential fit, customer success helps customers to get the most out of the software, and development is focused on evolving the platform to make sure it exceeds the expectations of our clients. SaaS is a very flexible and client oriented way of doing business.
In conclusion, SaaS creates new opportunities and a different kind of relationship between vendors and customers that benefits both sides. At PressPage, we are constantly evolving the different aspects of our SaaS model to make sure we offer our customers the desired service and experience.
PressPage provides a SaaS PR platform with additional services for creation of advanced social newsrooms, virtual press centers and online media hubs. It enables brands to publish and distribute rich content, and provides direct insights into the results. PressPage empowers PR professionals by adding efficiency and effectiveness to their daily work routine.