1.1 Market definition
A SaaS - "software as a service" - is a new model of software distribution. Two characteristics distinguish a SaaS from traditional software: its remote use and its price.
In the case of traditional software, it is used as a physical product, of which the user acquires definitive ownership upon purchase. The acquisition of the Family Office Pack is a typical example of this first type of software.
Conversely, a SaaS is used remotely and with variable pricing. According to the firm Gartner A SaaS can be defined as a " application that is owned, offered and managed by one or more vendors. The vendor offers this application based on a set of codes and definitions for the data that are used based on a " one-to-many "with revenues indexed to frequency of use or generated on a subscription basis ". Salesforce or SAP are some of the best known examples used by companies. SaaS is therefore not used as physical software but virtual software that is used as a service through the cloud
However, the understanding of the SaaS market remains variable due to the complexity of the services offered by software publishers.
Two approaches can be used
- By its use, SaaS is considered as a full-fledged software that meets a specific need of the company as for example the management of human resources. SaaS is then a integral part of the cloud computing system
- By its commercialization, SaaS is considered as a marketable IT solution in the same way as a hardware (a computer) or a service (consulting among others) but in the form of a subscription rather than an acquisition
In the first approach, SaaS is the ultimate pillar of the three elements used by cloud computing. The objective of the cloud is to provide users, private or public, with remote computing or storage capacities SaaS thus complements the other two pillars of the cloud. The first, the infrastructure - or "IaaS" (Infrastructure as a service) - which is necessary to establish a remote network. The second, the platform - or "Paas" (Platform as a service) - allowing the establishment of a dedicated software hosting environment that SaaS represents
From this perspective, SaaS is the heir to the application services, known as ASPs (Application Service Providers). SaaS has orchestrated a fundamental difference from its predecessor, whose principle was to install and use their applications directly on a computer. By changing the way applications are used through the Internet, SaaS not only changes the way applications are used, but also the way they are used the main interest lies in their remote use, but also the possibilities of integration and partnership.
From a commercial point of view, SaaS is integrated into the software segment, and is therefore one of the three traditional segments of the IT industry alongside hardware (i.e. computers, mobile phones) and services (i.e. management consulting and database integration) The software segment includes networking, IT development and usage applications. These applications are physical (traditional software) or remote (SaaS).
SaaS is intended for private and professional use. In this context of professional use, SaaS supports companies across the entire value chain. Several categories of software are thus commonly distinguished:
- Management of company resources (e.g. accounting, suppliers). These softwares are grouped under the name of ERP - Enterprise Resource Planning;
- Customer relationship management (e.g.: relationship history). They are grouped under the name of CRM - Customer Relationship Management
- Product management (e.g. after-sales service, localization). They are grouped under the name PLM - Product Lifecycle Management ;
- Office automation (e.g. spreadsheets) ;
- Design (e.g. computer-aided manufacturing).
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