1.1 Market definition
SaaS - "software as a service" - is a new model for 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, the user acquires final 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 "SaaS" an application that is owned, proposed and managed by one or more suppliers. The supplier offers this application based on a set of data codes and definitions that are used on the basis of a "model of one-to-many ", whose revenues are indexed to the frequency of use or generated on a subscription basis ». Salesforce or SAP are among the most well-known examples and used by companies. SaaS is therefore not used as physical software but as virtual software that is used as a service through the cloud
However, understanding of the SaaS market remains variable given the complexity of the services offered by SaaS software vendors.
Two approaches can be adopted
- By its use, SaaS is considered as a software in its own right that meets a specific business need such as human resources management. SaaS is then a 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 capabilities SaaS thus complements the other two pillars of the cloud. The first, the infrastructure - or "IaaS" (Infrastructure as a service) - that is necessary for the establishment of a remote network. The second, the platform - or "Paas" (Platform as a service) - allowing the establishment of an environment dedicated to software hosting that represent SaaS
In this perspective, SaaS is the heir to service applications, known as ASP ("Application Service Provider"). SaaS orchestrated a fundamental difference with its predecessor whose principle was to install and use their applications directly on a computer. By disrupting this use of applications through the Internet, SaaS not only disrupts the use of applications, including the main interest lies in their remote use, but also in 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. computer, mobile) and services (i.e. database management and integration consulting) 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 throughout 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 - Entreprise Ressource Planning ;
- Customer relationship management (e.g. relationship history). They are grouped under the name CRM - Customer Relationship Management
- Product management (e.g. after-sales service, location). They are grouped under the name PLM - Product Lifecycle Management;
- Office automation (e. g. spreadsheets);
- Design (e. g. computer-assisted manufacturing).
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