SaaS stands for software as a service and it is a way to deliver software to users via a subscription over the Internet.
Back in the golden olden days of the late 90’s we all had to install our software to our home computers. As more and more software development has moved to the web, and more and more computing power has moved into the cloud, software has migrated off our computers and onto the Internet.
Instead of buying a CD-ROM or downloading the software and installing it to your computer, you can now sign up for a software subscription and access the application through your browser. Common examples are Dropbox, Google Apps, Quickbooks Online, Postling, Chartbeat, and Salesforce Sales Cloud.
Although most SaaSes are paid via monthly or yearly subscription plans, some SaaSes like Mint.com are free for consumers.
There are lots of benefits to the SaaS approach for software developers and consumers alike.
Developers who choose to distribute their software as a service pay a much lower cost for distribution and find it much easier to update their products – instead of having to issue a new version and ask all users to update the application, they can update the application on their own servers and all users will automatically see the changes.
From the consumer point of view software as a service is a great option because the initial investment is usually much lower and you can access the application from any computer or device. You also get the added benefit of having all your data backed up by someone else.
Cocktail Party Fact
Now you know what SaaS is, but have you ever heard of its crazy cousin SASS? SASS has nothing to do with software as a service but is all about Syntactically Awesome Stylesheets aka a new way to write CSS in a manner similar to how you write programs in Ruby or PHP.
SaaS, SASS, SASS, SaaS. Similar looking and sounding, completely unrelated things. Some SaaSes use SASS, but many a sassy SaaS don’t take no sass from SASS. You follow me?
We techies don’t mean to confuse you, we just like to confuse you. Is it working?