SaaS Characteristics and Integration

SaaSSaaS has several characteristics that set it apart from other services:

  1. SaaS allows the access and use of commercially available software through a remote, network, or internet connection. This means that the software is not installed in the subscriber’s computer, but rather on the SaaS provider’s server. This also makes the software accessible to the subscriber regardless of his or her location.
  2. SaaS provides commercially available software, not custom made software, meaning that a particular software service is made available to multiple clients, so customization is limited to only what the software or SaaS provider allows.
  3. The SaaS provider shoulders the responsibility of updating the software, and subscribers can request updates, upgrades, and additional features.

Regarding implementation, SaaS architecture is classified into four “maturity” levels based on factors such as configurability, multi-tenant efficiency, and scalability.

  1. Level 1 is the “ad-hoc/custom” level, in which a modified version of a particular piece of software is offered to subscribers, which is then run on the provider’s host server. This level is requires the lowest maintenance.
  2. The second level offers more customization and allows subscribers to configure the metadata of a program. This then allows a customized version of the same software, based on the needs of the subscriber.
  3. Multi-tenant efficiency is added to the third maturity level, which means that the SaaS servers are made more conducive for subscribers to use separate instances of a single application.
  4. The fourth and most “mature” SaaS architecture offers all four factors, with the service reaching optimum efficiency.

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