In an age where we, technology users, give a key role to mobility and portability, it is important to have access to our files and the services we use "on the go". Cloud computing has come to stay and there is no doubt about the fact that much of computing's future relies on it.
Taking advantage of this fact, a new software delivery model is trying to conquer the market: I am talking about the "Software as a Service" model or, in short, SaaS. We all have used some sort of service distributed with this model, but probably without realizing what really was behind it.
Basically, in the SaaS model softwares and all the associated data are hosted centrally, in the cloud. Users usually access them through a client via a web browser, making them available on the go without the need to be related (i.e. installed) with a single computer.
SaaS based services are being used almost for a decade, but recently there was a giant growth in this market. It was estimated that, in 2012, SaaS sales represented around $14.5 billion, and they are expected to reach $22.1 billion in two years from now.
More recently, more and more companies are turning to the SaaS model, from simple to more complex softwares. For example, Telematics can help manage your fleet, or Salesforce.com services, useful in costumer relations. A recent and notable example of the transition from the "traditional" software delivery model to SaaS was made by Adobe. The computer software giant decided to end its physical version of its Creative Suite and moved to the cloud. Adobe Creative Cloud is the current way for Adobe to distribute its software.
Truthfully, SaaS represents a paradigm shift, not only in the way we see computing but also in the way we relate with the software we use. If before we bought a copy of the software and "owned" it, SaaS based softwares rely on a different business model, subscription-based. With it users do not exactly own the software, they are simply renting for the duration of the subscription.
But, as I stated before, today's desire for mobility and ease of collaboration is probably setting SaaS as the way to go in the future, exactly as cloud computing. It is also probable that the gaming market will follow a similar course of action, launching subscription-based, even though games are, sometimes, heavier than the regular softwares, therefore making it hard to deliver them this way.
What are your thoughts on this subject? Let us know in the comments.