software as a service is a model of software deployment whereby a provider licenses an application to customers for use as a service on demand. saas software vendors may host the application on their own web servers or download the application to the consumer device, disabling it after use or after the on-demand contract expires. the on-demand function may be handled internally to share licenses within a firm or by a third-party application service provider (asp) sharing licenses between firms.
saas is becoming an increasingly prevalent delivery model as underlying technologies that support web services and service-oriented architecture (soa) mature and new developmental approaches, such as ajax, become popular. meanwhile, broadband service has become increasingly available to support user access from more areas around the world.
benefits of the saas model include:
enrollment - customer orders can be entered online instead of being manually received and manually entered.
provisioning - customer orders are automatically delivered 24x7 instead of being manually delivered during business hours.
upgrades - customers can upgrade their service any time of day and receive instant access to additional resources.
service calls - customer service calls are greatly reduced as routine tasks such as changing passwords, changing configuration settings, and adding/removing user permissions are handled automatically.
billing - the end of the month is no longer a challenge as bills are automatically compiled and charges automatically applied to payment vehicles through an automated payment gateway.