Software licensing is a huge expense for most small businesses. It isn’t uncommon for software licenses to cost hundreds of dollars, each. For example, each Microsoft Office license can cost in the range of $150-300 per device. Alone this may seem like an insignificant expense, but what you have to remember is that this is only one of many software licenses, and potentially one of many devices it needs to run on. This doesn't even factor in the cost or hassle of updating your entire network when patches and updates are released. Fortunately, one change in how business uses technology has lessened the impact of licensing problems.
Software as a Service (SaaS)
Software as a Service is exactly what it sounds like: instead of paying for software as a product, you're paying as if it's a service. You pay a monthly fee, and in exchange for that monthly fee, you get access to the software. Think of it like your monthly cable subscription.
Today, more and more providers are switching to the monthly subscription model, which offers several benefits for small businesses. To do this, they use a cloud computing service offering: Software as a Service. Essentially, the applications you use are cloud-enabled (they run in the cloud), which means everyone in your business can have access to them, for one monthly fee.
Software as a Service solves several problems that your business may have with application licensing, and here are a few examples of how:
You'll find that the biggest benefit to the Software as a Service model is your bottom-line: when you make the transition, you're going to begin saving money. This is because Software as a Service licensing allows you to pay for licenses per user, instead of per device.
For example, if you need two employees to have access to Microsoft Office, you would add those two employees to your licensing plan. Once added, those two employees will be able to access Microsoft Office through the cloud via their work desktop, home computer, laptop, any mobile device and more. This means instead of paying several fees for each license in order for your employee to access Microsoft Office on both their computer and their tablet, you only have to pay once – you pay per user instead of per device. These savings add up quickly.
Often times, when you license software, updates aren’t included. For example, if you licensed Adobe Photoshop 5, and Adobe Photoshop 6 comes out a few months later, you'll have to pay an upgrading fee to take advantage of the repairs and new features. However, when you're using the SaaS method, you won't have to pay that upgrading fee. Instead, you’ll be automatically upgraded. What's more, this upgrade will occur across all users, saving you money and your IT staff time.
As a business, it's natural to deal with waves of change. You might hire ten employees, and then have several of those employees leave within the year. Or you might underestimate the amount of manpower you require and need to hire a handful of employees to support business during your busy period.
The traditional software licensing method would require you to pay the licensing fee each time your business grows. And worse – you are generally stuck with a license that may sit unused if your staff quantity declines. The Software as a Service model solves this problem. As you're paying per user, you can scale your operation up or down with ease.
Cloud Software as a Service Licensing
Cloud computing is changing the way business accesses technology. Now, instead of paying a license fee on a software application that may never get used, you can pay a monthly subscription per-user, on an as-needed basis. It's a smarter way to do business.
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