Some of the benefits of Software as a Service (SaaS) have come to light in the last several years as more and more small businesses are deciding to run their ERP system online. With the ability to login to their system from anywhere (and on any device), users of web-based SaaS applications find accessibility to data is no longer a constraint they have to simply “deal with” when visiting their customers.
The tax benefits are obvious to most CPAs, being able to rent software means not carrying extraneous assets that have to be considered during tax season after a good year.
However, the most impactful benefits of switching to SaaS are only truly realized by the visionaries who fully understand the power of the web. By their nature, SaaS applications are designed to be integrated with other programs. Some of VISCO’s most recent integrations include:
1) Adding a link to the website http://marinetraffic.com/ directly from our application so that users can see the precise location of their GPS tracked vessels.
2) Drawing up to the minute RSS feeds from Yahoo newsgroups like “commodity pricing” and “Shipping Company news.”
3) Passing tax information from invoices automatically to online filing services like Avatax (http://www.avalara.com/products/avatax)
Those in the market for software often treat “integration” like a bad word. As recently as a decade ago, an integration generally meant hundreds of hours of custom programming as fields from two systems were laboriously mapped from one to the other. But the integration opportunities available to applications operating as SaaS are plentiful and categorically more accessible then they were in the last generation of software.
There are thousands of different applications out there, most of which have taken the “be excellent at one thing” approach to capture their specific market. With integration from SaaS to SaaS, there are now much more cost effective ways to tap into the unique power of those niche applications. The future of software will never be a consolidated effort of harmonious code packed into “The ultimate ERP” that fits all needs for all people. We are more likely to see an overwhelming amount of options, with our choice of functionality served “a la carte” and much of the time spent deciding how to make your software work, not which software to choose. Small and Medium business owners (and their resident software expects) will thrive if they think as creatively about their software as they have done with product line.
Next time you are thinking “wouldn’t it be nice if my system could talk with this great website I use every day,” mention it to your SaaS software vendor, because chances are it can.