Operating a business in today’s digital economy means that you are almost invariably going to encounter Software-as-a-Service – otherwise known as SaaS.
The transformative effects that SaaS products, services and solutions have had on both B2C and B2B markets have been profound indeed. Yet despite their ubiquity, comprehensive knowledge on what a SaaS is and how to define one can often feel surprisingly difficult to come by.
This article will focus on breaking down not only what a SaaS is, but also how the Software-as-a-Service business model has entered more verticals than you might think – including the international supply chain.
Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) is a catch-all term to distinguish any piece of software that operates with a specific function that represents a service, rather than an end product. Therefore, as an example, a digital movie bought via an online platform is not a SaaS, and neither is the platform itself – yet the payment handling software that securely facilitated the transaction would be Software-as-a-Service.
In the business and industrial spheres, SaaS products exist to solve problems and expedite business operations. However, in contrast to enterprise resource programs (ERPs) as used internally within a business, a SaaS is often designed with broad interoperability and greater cost-effectiveness in mind.
Software-as-a-Service specifically speaks to a software solution that focuses on a given series of enterprise tasks, such as HR, accounting, supply chain logistics, and more. It is wise not to confuse SaaS with Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), which relates to cloud computing infrastructure, or Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), which relates to development and deployment tools made possible by cloud computing.
The explosion of SaaS businesses now active in the market is representative of the value addition that the Software-as-a-Service operational model provides. This is true of corporations and organisations of all shapes and sizes – from startups in need of human resource assistance, through to multinationals requiring a fine-tuned supply chain reporting and monitoring solution in real-time.
Naturally, the readiness and availability of the solutions that SaaS solutions offer clients is a big reason for their draw. For example, although it is possible for a company to develop their own accounting software in-house, it is costly and time-consuming to do so.
By contrast, that same company can simply speak to an accounting SaaS provider to set out their organisation’s goals and expectations, and have a solution made readily available to them.
That same solution is not only widely available to many other industry contemporaries, but also priced more effectively than many ERP software solutions. SaaS solutions are also often designed for intuitive ease of use, qualified as user-friendly, no matter the users’ level of computer literacy.
This aims to reduce downtimes, eliminate training misunderstandings and to allow the SaaS software to easily integrate in few hours or days not only with the IT infrastructure a given business is using today – but also their means of growth tomorrow, qualifying them as plug-and-play solutions.
The chances are, almost anyone reading this article has interacted with a SaaS today, perhaps without even fully realising it. It could be as simple as having sent some funds via PayPal, or perhaps something more involved with your vocation, such as entering a new employee’s credentials into your chosen HR SaaS provider’s software.
While fascinating to consider, the reality is that the likes of Personio and Workday for HR – or Moss or Intuit Quickbooks for accounting – have become completely ubiquitous. The convenience, ease of use and cost-effectiveness that intelligently designed SaaS offerings can bring has made them indispensable.
Furthermore, this market is rapidly growing, which means that SaaS companies are going to enter the global market more and more – bringing with them disruptive new solutions, dependable core services and who knows what other surprises.
Worldwide, the SaaS market surpassed US$176 billion (EUR181.5 billion) in total company spending, and will rise above US$208 billion (EUR214.5 billion) in 2023.
With so many SaaS offerings out there, how many industries are covered? The answer is almost anything you can imagine – including that most vital of industries, the supply chain.
International trade is a vital central pivot, around which the entirety of global growth, economics and everyday living is made possible. Without effective supply chain and logistics efficiency, situations can grind to a halt in no time flat – a reality that has become all too apparent to many businesses during periods of raw material shortages, shortages of skilled labour, and the disruption wrought by the global health crisis and the different armed conflicts.
Yet with complexity in the supply chain rising, the good news is that there is a Software-as-a-Solution partner ready and able to help facilitate the movement of the goods your business needs – particularly at those vital yet challenging cross-border moments in the journey.
Holocene has been created as the SaaS for cross-border supply chain management and facilitation. Built as an intuitive plug-and-play Software-as-a-Service solution, with a low-cost barrier and streamlined interface, our goal has always been to help trade business professionals to manage their cross-border activities and obligations in ways that eliminate red tape, vast spreadsheets and overcomplicated paperwork.
With effective track and trace technologies to prevent misplaced orders and unforeseen border delays during customs checks, Holocene works by baking in compliance best practices and ongoing customer support that will help both new and seasoned import and export operatives from incurring costly Detention & Demurrage penalties and damaging downtime.
The supply chain has never been more vital to ongoing global efficiency and recovery than it is in our modern history. Technology to help the supply chain stay resilient in a world of almost continuous change need not be complicated and difficult to master. With Holocene, it is one smooth workflow from packing to delivery – the SaaS for the supply chain the world needs today.