What is SaaS and why should you use it?

We all use SaaS hosted applications every day, such as Gmail, Office365, Dropbox and Google Drive. 

At its most basic level, SaaS (Software as a Service) can be described as being a provision of services (rather than a licence to use something), allowing a supplier to deliver a cloud-based service package, usually by a subscription model / pay-per-user basis.  

Rather than the end-user downloading the major components of the software, they will reside with the supplier, rather than on-site with the end-user, and are accessed online, usually via a web browser. 

There are some significant user benefits to accessing software in the cloud rather than downloading a particular version. End-users are able to automatically receive the latest updates and patches and the supplier takes care of data management and security.

In addition, the end-user can avoid an up-front cost and simply pay a monthly subscription or even just pay-per-use, making SaaS a very cost effective way to streamline their business operations.