What is Software as a Service (SaaS)?
In the past, in order to use a software application, you had to purchase it, and install it on your PC using a disk provided to you by the manufacturer. Files are copied and stored on your computer, then “called” each time you launch the application. While this type of traditional “box” software is still frequently used, many companies are making their solutions available in a different, more convenient way.
Software as a service (SaaS) makes software packages available to users over the Web. Other commonly used terms for this type of solution include on-demand software, hosted software, or software “in the cloud”. With SaaS, a third-party service provider installs software on their own equipment in their own secure facilities, and makes it accessible via the Internet. Users then “subscribe” to utilize the application, typically paying a flat monthly fee for usage. Any data generated by subscribers while using the application is also stored by the third party provider.
Today, many popular software packages are available “in the cloud”. FaceBook, MySpace, and other popular social networking sites, personal money management tools like QuickenOnline, GPS and mapping tools like MapQuest and GoogleMaps, email systems like Hotmail and Gmail, and media sharing sites like PhotoBucket, YouTube, and SnapFish are all examples of software delivered through SaaS. RememberItNow! is also a SaaS-based application.
There are many, many benefits to the SaaS approach, which is why it is becoming more and more popular among software consumers. In fact, studies have shown that more than 69 percent of Americans are currently using some form of cloud computing.
One key advantage is that there is no software to install on your PC. So, it won’t take up valuable disk space, and you’ve got more storage room for digital pictures, music, and other electronic files. And, you won’t have to re-install the program if you get a new computer, or update the operating system on your existing one.
With SaaS, you also never have to worry about upgrades. With “box” software, you often need to pay when a new version of the solution is released, then re-install the disks to use the improved features. SaaS providers always keep their software up-to-date, so the version you’re accessing over the Web is the latest and greatest.
But, most importantly, SaaS solutions can be accessed by anyone, at any time, from any PC with a Web connection. This not only improves convenience, it allows for fast, simple information sharing. For example, if you grant certain healthcare providers or caregivers access to your RememberItNow! calendar, they can view and update it from any location – from their office PC, from their home PC, or even from a laptop or smart phone when they’re traveling.
SaaS solutions are very economical, and while some are free, most are available for a low monthly “rental” fee, which includes unlimited usage of the application. And, there are no contracts or long-term commitments, you can pay as you go, and cancel the service at any time, with no penalties.
For more information about SaaS for healthcare, or to learn more about how to access RememberItNow! over the Internet, visit our Web site at www.rememberitnow.com.