Understanding Application As A Service for Beginners

Cloud computing is here now, and it’s here to stay. The on-demand availability of system resources in cloud storage provides the user with extra storage space and does not need active management.

There are three types of services offered by Cloud computing: Software as a Service (SaaS), Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), and Platform as a Service (PaaS).

This article will be studying AaaS or Application as a Service, which is more commonly known as SaaS.

What is Application as a Service?

When computer software applications are delivered via the internet, it is called Application as a Service, SaaS, Software on demand, or on-demand Software.

By delivering Software or application as a service, organizations can reduce costs and gain efficiency irrespective of their size.

Organizations no longer need individual user licenses, thereby reducing their expense compared to on-premise software delivery.

Efficiency gains are immense in using application as a service because enterprises can distribute the Software and maintain them for all their customers from a single point in the cloud or the internet.

Various functions such as user subscription management, user provisioning, application lifecycle management, and user account management can be automated, reducing cost.

Various companies provide applications as a service or AaaS. They are known as Application Service Providers or ASPs and can be of four types:

  • Vertical Market ASPs – They provide a set of applications for a particular market.
  • Local ASPs – They provide various applications or Software to small businesses within a specific geographical area.
  • Specialist or Functional ASPs – They offer a single application.
  • Enterprise ASPs – They provide integrated Software for the management of multiple regions of a single organization.
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Features of an Application as a Service

Here are a few traits of application as a Service or SaaS:

1. Accelerated feature delivery

The applications in the cloud model are updated more frequently when compared to the traditional applications. These updates are decided and executed by the service providers, thus reducing vendors’ need for resources.

2. Collaborative functionality

With an application as a service or SaaS, users can collaborate and share information. Some of these applications allow customers to like, comment, vote, etc., on their services.

3. Configuration and customization

Applications delivered on Software as a service model are easy to configure and customize according to the user. Each customer can have their personally customized view and configuration options.

4. Multitenant Architecture

In cloud-based applications, all users and applications have a common infrastructure and centrally maintained codebase.

Since all the customers that use SaaS are on the same infrastructure, vendors can innovate quickly and save development time spent on various versions.

5. Better Access

Customers can easily manage, monitor, and ensure the visibility of their data simultaneously on all network devices.

Difference: SaaS vs IaaS vs PaaS

DeliverySaaS has a web delivery structure that eliminates the need for an IT stall to download and install individual systems applications.Cloud computing infrastructure, including operating system, servers, storage, and the network, is virtually delivered by IaaS through API or dashboard.PaaS provides a platform for creating Software instead of delivering it over the internet. Since the Platform is offered on the web, the developers need not be worried about the operating system, updates, storage, etc.
AdvantagesEmployees and organizations can reduce time and money spent on installing, upgrading, and managing Software.It is the most flexible cloud model that is easy to automate and allows hardware purchase based on consumption. Customers of IaaS have complete control of it and can purchase resources as required.The deployment and development of apps are cost-effective, scalable, simple, and with high availability. The code requirement is less, and the company can be easily automated.
CharacteristicsApplications in SaaS can be managed from a central location and hosted on a remote server. They can be accessed via the internet.The resources can be used as a service with varying cost and high scalability. Multiple users can use single hardware, and organizations have complete infrastructural control.PaaS allows the business to scale up or down according to their changes.
UsageSmall organizations need to launch eCommerce.Short-term projects.Less often needed applications.An application is requiring mobile and web access.Startups and small companies use IaaS to save time and money.Large companies retain control over their applications and infrastructure.Rapidly growing companies use IaaS for its scalability.PaaS can streamline workflows in a deployment project with multiple developers.It gives excellent speed and flexibility.Reduces costs and allows customized app creation.
LimitationsNeed for integration systemData transfer between different vendors may not be cost-effective.Public clouds may not be safe for sensitive data.Control of version, appearance, etc., is not available.The downtime of the server will affect the organization.Even though users are in complete control, other hosts or VMs can be a security threat.Legacy apps may not get complete infrastructure security.The workforce may require additional training and resources to understand IaaS.Data is not secured as it is on third party servers.IT systems need to be updated to facilitate cloud usage.Migration policies of vendors might create future problems.PaaS applications may not be optimized for framework and language.
ExampleDropbox, Google Workspace, Concur, AWSAWS, Microsoft Azure, Linode, Cisco MetacloudAWS Elastic Beanstalk, Heroku, Google App Engine, Windows Azure.
Difference: SaaS vs IaaS vs PaaS

Types of Application as a Service

Applications of SaaS can be categorized as follows:

  • Accounting Software: These applications help you keep your finances organized, track business growth and ensure stability.
  • Email marketing software: This Software is used to optimize delivery messages and automate marketing emails.
  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software: These applications allow customers to manage customer data, compile business information, automate sales, and track customer interactions.
  • Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software: This Software can integrate multiple functions in a single system and improve its efficiency and information sharing.
  • Project Management software: These applications are used to complete projects and budget by helping in planning projects, allocating resources, communicating deadlines, and managing schedules.
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Advantages of an Application as a Service

There are various benefits of using the application as a Service, such as:

  • Since AaaS is managed services, they reduce the time, workforce, and energy required by the IT teams to maintain, secure, and manage the applications if they are stored locally.
  • The end users can work from anywhere without compromising any protected data.
  • The employees can work from the office, café, home, airport or even a train and get the same productivity level.
  • Suppose the application is hosted on major public cloud providers such as Azure, Google Cloud, Amazon Web Services, etc. In that case, the application can obtain additional functionalities such as high availability, global reach, and scalability.
  • Since the IT requirements will be reduced by employing the cloud, administrative costs will also decrease. This will make way for new innovative projects.
  • The data will not be compromised even if the device on which a user is working is stolen. The data is stored on a cloud server, and hence breaking into local storage cannot compromise it.

Applications of Application as a Service

Various vendors provide applications as a service or SaaS. Here we are listing the top five SaaS applications.

1. Amazon Web Services (AWS)

AWS is an Application As A Service

To support its core e-commerce platform, Amazon developed an on-demand cloud-based application that can be used by other customers using its pay-as-you-go pricing options.

AWS has more than 70 services, including database, management, networking, analytics, computing, etc.

2. Google Applications (Google Workspace)

Google Workspace is an Application As A Service

Google offers various SaaS-based applications such as Google Drive, Gmail, Google Photos, Google Docs, etc., that can be people from all demographics and businesses.

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3. Salesforce

Salesforce is an Application As A Service

Salesforce is arguably the most accredited cloud-based application aimed at improving sales of an organization by managing leads and prospects in a single place.

It offers customer relations management solutions with which authorized employees can access critical data anytime and anywhere and increase sales up to 37%.

4. Dropbox

Dropbox is an Application As A Service

It is a cloud storage provider that allows users to access data on any device. Using it, professionals can work simultaneously on mobiles, desktops, and laptops from any location with adequate internet connectivity.

5. Slack

Slack is an Application As A Service

Slack is a real-time messaging, searching, and archiving solution that can redefine business communication by organizing team conversations.

Users can have project-related conversations, sensitive topics, secured discussions, share files, PDFs, spreadsheets, etc., with Slack.

Who uses Application as a Service?

Irrespective of whether you have a small, medium, or large-sized organization, cloud services are required by everyone.

Organizations that have their personal data centers or use public cloud use Application as a Service or SaaS. They also use IaaS, PaaS, or XaaS based on their needs.

Organizations like the American Red Cross, Jet.com, Netflix, Ravio, and many others are using SaaS.

How to choose the right Application as a Service?

Shifting your business to on-demand can significantly help you increase your organization’s efficiency, collaboration, and effectiveness across multiple locations.

Depending on your business, you can choose the application as a service that best suits your needs. You can also opt for IaaS, PaaS, and other services based on your business.

SaaS, PaaS, IaaS, and other cloud services can significantly reduce cost and time and increase the scalability of Software depending on employee count fluctuation.


With an application as a service or on-demand software, small and medium-sized enterprises can access software that was previously out of their pockets.

As a SaaS subscriber, organizations can enjoy various benefits such as improved application reliability, increased security of applications, an overall reduction in IT costs, etc.

Application As A Service FAQs

What is the difference between SaaS and PaaS?

SaaS: Software as a service. It is a software or application that third-party vendors provide via the internet.
PaaS: Platform as a service. It means providing Software and hardware tools over the internet.

What are examples of SaaS?

Examples of SaaS include Cisco WebEx, GoToMeeting, Salesforce, Microsoft Office 365, Dropbox, etc.

What is PaaS in simple terms?

PaaS, also known as Platform as a Service, is a cloud computing service that delivers its clients a platform. They can develop, run, and manage the business without physically building and maintaining infrastructure.

Is Gmail SaaS or PaaS?

Gmail is an application that is provided over the internet. Hence it is a SaaS.

Is Netflix a SaaS company?

Netflix sells Software to watch on-demand licensed videos on a subscription-based model. It is a SaaS company.

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