Businesses in the service industry have found it hard to keep up with increasing consumer demands. If your company works in the service industry, you'll need to investigate the numerous software solutions available to meet customer expectations.
Let's explore why investing in software for the service industry is so crucial and how it can help you increase your bottom line.
What Is Software As a Service?
Let's define SaaS. Software as a service gives users access to a provider's software in small chunks. That means that you have the ability to seamlessly implement certain features or functions that the provider has already built out.
Previously, businesses needed to create their own environment and configure the server and applications they planned to use. With SaaS, your company is essentially renting web-based capabilities for your business from a vendor by paying a monthly or annual fee for the privilege of using parts of their software.
The vast majority of field service organizations have gotten on board with using Software as a service, or SaaS, to improve customer experiences and increase their workforce's efficiencies.
At this point, if your company hasn't begun implementing this type of technology, consider it as soon as possible. There are myriad advantages to implementing SaaS for your business, regardless of industry, but we address some of the biggest benefits in the sections below.
No More Waiting Around
With software as a service, you don't have to wait for your IT team to install and configure your applications and integrations. With SaaS offerings, you can have the application you purchased ready to go in a much shorter time frame. By decreasing the amount of time and effort your team has to spend on configuring the application, they can spend that time working out issues with your website or company.
However, the need for internet access to use certain programs can come at a cost, too. Many programs can function offline, and there are plenty of situations why you might need to be able to work within a program with limited or no internet access. Additionally, if a strong storm or other event brings down your internet access, you'll have no way of getting into your SaaS programs since they're hosted on the cloud.
Some SaaS providers have begun developing offline features, but currently, nothing can take the place of having applications natively installed and configured on your hardware.
One of the largest benefits for companies that take advantage of SaaS offerings is the decrease in costs. Typically, businesses rent their applications inside of a shared cloud environment, which means that you are only paying for your share of the application instead of the whole thing. This means that you only spend as much as your company uses to store data or run the application.
With in-house search development, your company would need to consider:
- Software licensing cost
- Search administration front end
- Natural language processing
- The vertical search engine algorithm
- Federated search algorithm
- Knowledge graph development
- Consumer-grade serving infrastructure
All of which just keep adding to the costs associated with adding an integral feature like an internal site search. When you purchase an application just for your company, you have to pay all of the licensing costs yourself, even if it's only something you use occasionally. This also counts for maintenance fees and costs for upgrades which are shared out among all of the customers. Of course, shared environments can have their own pitfalls that you'll need to consider when making this decision, too.
The most obvious drawback is the lack of control. Your company doesn't own the server or application, which means that if the vendor goes in a different direction with their features or changes how their software works, you have no say in the matter. You also have no control over which, if any, precautions are taken, so it's vital to learn about the vendor's data security measures.
When creating something from scratch, there is a possibility things could go wrong. Features may not work as intended, or your environment might not support a critical application in the future. All of these can be avoided by using SaaS. You already know that it will work and how to get the most out of the software since it comes with settings for best practices.
Almost all SaaS providers will allow a free trial or give you a demo to see how their software works and how your company can leverage it effectively. You have the opportunity to see for yourself how the software would work with your existing environment.
However, it is important to note that not every company that offers SaaS and traditional applications can contain the same features in both offerings. It's easy to assume that anything you can do in an owned application is the same as what you can do with SaaS packages, but that isn't always the case.
Depending on the provider, your mileage may vary, but some companies offer more features or a different suite of features depending on how you use their applications. It is essential to discuss the features available with your SaaS provider before investing in their packages since they might not offer the same key capabilities that their traditional applications do.
Ability to Scale Effectively
Smaller businesses who would normally not be able to afford to leverage certain types of software or features due to licensing costs have access to them through rental packages in SaaS, which can be extremely beneficial for scaling your company. Plus, as your company grows and your needs change, SaaS providers often provide multiple tiers or packages to choose from so that they can accommodate your business's growth.
SaaS solutions also recognize the need to work well with other SaaS offerings since they are majority cloud-based.
SaaS vendors own the servers and the maintenance of their packages. They have a large incentive to continue developing updates and releasing them in a timely manner which is to attract new customers and keep their existing customers satisfied. This will work in your business's favor by frequently providing new updates that fix known bugs or expand existing capabilities.
Instead of buying the upgrade and having the company come out to install it or needing to install it yourself, a cloud-based SaaS package will automatically install the updates without you needing to do anything. This saves you the time and money involved with bringing a vendor representative out to your location.
Of course, the other side to these frequent updates again means you have no control over when the updates are released. Instead, your provider chooses when and how updates are released, meaning that it might happen at an inconvenient time for your business.
Additionally, you might have preferred a previous version of the software and not want some of the changes associated with the update. For example, the previous version might have been compatible with software you use, and that compatibility ended with the new update.
Some SaaS vendors have corrected this by allowing some users to turn off automatic updates or need to accept them manually.
Software as a Service packages are becoming more popular, especially among small and medium-sized businesses who wouldn't normally be able to afford certain features due to expensive licensing costs. With SaaS, your company can benefit from having features available without the hassle of configuring and maintaining the applications.
Contact us to learn more about how Yext can take your website to the next level with our software as a service.