Software as a Service (Saas) is more than just a passing fad.
It's a massive paradigm shift in the way small businesses use software applications and it's taking the business community by storm. Rather then dedicating resources to an upfront software purchase, companies are increasingly choosing hosted solutions with a monthly subscription fee and outsourced system maintenance.
But despite its advantages, SaaS does have some drawbacks. These drawbacks are not necessarily deal breakers, but they can create certain challenges that need to be addressed and overcome before you adopt an ASP software solution.
If you're new to SaaS, you'll hear a lot about the benefits from vendors in the marketplace. For a more complete picture, you'll need to rely on our brief guide to some of the potential disadvantages of SaaS solutions.
- Loss of control. In-house software applications give business owners a high degree of control. When you use a hosted solution, you turn much of that control over to a third party provider. If you aren't comfortable relying on someone else to manage critical business applications, an ASP platform may not be right for you.
- Limited applications. SaaS is gaining in popularity. However, there are still many software applications that don't offer a hosted platform. You may find it necessary to still host certain applications on site, especially if your company relies on multiple software solutions.
- Connectivity requirements. Since SaaS software is web-hosted, you can't use these applications without an Internet connection. If your Internet service goes down or if mobile workers are in an Internet dead zone, you won't have access to your software or data.
- Variable functions & features. In many cases, hosted applications are limited in function. It's not uncommon for a hosted solution to lack some functions or features that are standard in its client/server counterpart. You will need to evaluate each application on a case-by-case basis to make sure your SaaS solution offers the features you need to do business.
- Slower speeds. In general, SaaS applications run at slightly slower speeds than client/server applications. Although their speed is still pretty good, you'll need to be prepared for the possibility of a less-than-instant computing environment.