Switching fully to SaaS / subscription software
SaaS – why ease of ownership is just the start
The start of 2017 saw us back in the office at Hup and reviewing a few of our annual subscription packages. After a recent product upgrade, I realised that we had become fully cloud/SaaS subscription-based in all our day-to-day applications and software.
It does not seem that long ago that I was lamenting the need to switch from on-premise Adobe suite to Adobe Creative Cloud (Adobe CC) – the cloud subscription version of Adobe graphics software. At the time, the value of switching seemed minimal and many other creative professionals felt the same way – preferring to stick with traditional CDs and manuals. Internet forums were awash with angst and vitriol.
Fast forward a few years and our organisation, like many others, had fully adopted Office 365, almost sleepwalking into cloud-based subscription services for our office applications. Slowly but surely, we became accustomed to the ease of use, auto updating and, of course, free application upgrades that are an inherent part of subscription. Technically, most of these SaaS products were in fact hybrid – being cloud based for their license/account verification and the actual software residing on the user machine. This can still be said for many of the day-to-day subscription products we use today.
Other single use applications, such as accounting, reporting, analytics and webtools, started to become available as subscription only. New purchases and upgrades aside, a few apps still clung onto traditional delivery methods and we found ourselves stalling our upgrades of these products and looking at alternatives in the market. The key to our final application switch was product upgrade. Updates usually occur within a 12-month cycle. A simple calculation clearly shows that to purchase a physical or downloaded version of the product as an upgrade each year, rather than owning it on a subscription basis, involves a significant additional financial burden.
Owning the product, however, is only a part of what has truly been a revolution in application usage. The key moment for me was when I needed to rebuild my workstation. Admittedly (and thankfully) this is not something that I need to do very often. Once the operating system is installed, the power of SaaS ownership really comes into play. Now, bear in mind that – as a designer – I have many memory-intensive applications installed as standard. The beauty is that, rather than hunting for discs/licence keys and downloads, there is often just a simple download of the respective app installer, a login and, hey presto, your apps are downloaded, installed and licences verified. It really does take a massive amount of pain away from such a scenario.
From an IT security point of view, I would go as far as to say that a modern disaster recovery set-up should always consider a SaaS approach as the best option. Consider for a moment the scenario I outlined and then add in the ability to manage licenses centrally – deactivating and reallocating licenses as needed and backing up profiles and data in the cloud rather than on a local machine that could be damaged or stolen.
Many readers of this article may well be in the same situation and will have fully adopted subscription-based services already. Others may be on the cusp or weighing up the pros and cons of switching approach. Hopefully our experience will help you to consider the benefits of SaaS from a different perspective.