As the business landscape gets more competitive than ever, companies look to technology for securing a winning advantage. Many are undergoing digital transformation to stay in the race, but the challenge is really big for small and mid-sized businesses. Indian SMEs, in particular, are struggling to determine the right strategy and relevant components that must be a part of their tech stacks, considering the resource constraints. The key lies in effectively managing the adoption and implementation of various digital solutions. Fortunately, software-as-a-service (SaaS) and cloud emerge as the right elements for such businesses that look for affordable yet effective alternatives to enterprise-grade, custom software solutions. The good news is that the SaaS ecosystem is now mature enough to allow small businesses to get immediate access to apps, rather than having to invest huge capital upfront, buy the required software licenses, tech infrastructure and setup services.
Before trying to figure out the advantages that Indian SMEs can unlock by switching to this model, let us explain it in detail.
SaaS- Understanding what it is about and why it matters for SMEs!
When it comes to onboarding new technologies, SaaS makes the most worthwhile investment for small and mid-sized entities. As the name suggests, it involves getting software as a service rather than developing these solutions in-house as your business assets. Compared to on-premise systems, these are the applications sold to you as a service with the objective to reduce the cost of ownership of the software infrastructure of your business.
In the SaaS model, the provider gives you a network-based access to a copy of an application created specifically for distribution. Businesses have a wide range of applications that they can onboard for critical business processes such as email, contact center solution, customer relationship management (CRM), sales management, human resources management (HRM), financial management, billing and collaboration. Now that you understand the usability and suitability of the software as a service model for businesses, you will be able to comprehend the benefits of this model for Indian SMEs.
Benefits of SaaS for Indian SMEs
This model is a blessing for enterprises, but it is all the more valuable for small and mid-sized businesses. Indian SMEs are gradually and consistently making a move towards this model because it opens a host of opportunities for them. Here is a list of benefits it offers for them.
Lowest initial cost
Without any doubt, the biggest advantage of SaaS for the cash-strapped Indian SMEs is the lowest initial setup cost. Since it resides in a shared environment, the infrastructural and software license costs are very low in comparison with the traditional model. For example, you can have a cloud call center for your business up and running without having to spend a fortune. Or you may get an access to a software app that otherwise you would not be able to afford because of the high cost of its license. Maintenance costs are minimized as well because the provider owns the environment, while the cost of maintaining it is split among the clients that use the solution. The service is typically subscription-based, which translates into lower upfront costs.
Timing matters a lot for Indian SMEs when it comes to getting a winning edge over the competitors in the huge market landscape. If you want to be an early adopter of technology to secure this advantage, SaaS is the right approach. Since these applications are already configured in the cloud, you can get it up and running for your business faster than you expect. The time for installation and configuration is reduced to the minimum. SMEs that want a contact center solution right now, for instance, can get started only within a few hours, all without any infrastructure or labour!
Another advantage associated with SaaS applications is their accessibility in comparison to the traditional enterprise software installations. All the users need to have is a browser and an Internet connection to use it from anywhere and with any device. Consider the usability of cloud based applications in the current scenario, when the world has come to a standstill due to the coronavirus crisis. Businesses have been forced to transition to remote operations and only SaaS solutions have come to their rescue because teams working from home can access them from anywhere.
Scalability is a major concern for small and mid-sized businesses because growth is imperative for them. They aspire to have bigger teams and greater customer base in the future. Not being equipped to handle them can be a killer for SMEs. Fortunately, this model serves extensive scalability because providers offer diverse subscription options along with the flexibility to change plans when there is a need. Imagine that you run a contact center that caters to only a few hundred customers today but plan to extend your reach to thousands of them across the country. Moving to a cloud based contact center solution makes sense because it lets you switch to a bigger plan with zero effort and within no time.
Updates managed by SaaS providers
Deploying updates is often a challenge for small enterprises as they are apprehensive about the work it involves and the technology barriers as well. The best thing about collaborating with SaaS providers is that they manage the hardware and software updates from start to end and deploy them on hosted applications, which completely eliminates the workload of customers. You need not worry about running the latest version of applications and can focus on growing your business.
Recommended read: UCaaS vs CPaaS: Understanding the Difference
Witnessing the extensive benefits of software as a service, it becomes the smartest investment for any Indian SME today. More importantly, it can help you handle the challenges of remote working in the current situation. It lets you make the most despite a limited IT budget. At the same time, you get access to the latest technology and technical support.
Though moving to the SaaS model is a worthwhile decision, everything boils down to finding a provider you can trust so that you get nothing but the best for your business. The deployment of right applications along with reliable services and support can put your small business on the growth route and transform it into a big enterprise sooner than you expect.