Should all SMBs adopt SaaS?
Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), which involves running applications from the cloud rather than having them installed locally, has taken off in a big way in recent years. SaaS is popular among all businesses, but why is it such an attractive proposition for SMBs?
Historically, smaller organisations have been unable to afford the sophisticated software packages used by larger companies and have had to make do with low-cost alternatives offering less functionality. The licensing model offered by SaaS changes that, putting smaller businesses on a level playing field and allowing them access to the same sophisticated systems as their larger competitors.
Using SaaS means that upfront costs can be lower as you only licence the software as you use it. There’s no need to buy servers and other infrastructure required to run applications in house, giving you greater control over your IT budget too. Provided that you have a PC or mobile device and an internet connection, you can access your business systems from anywhere.
So what are the key areas in which SaaS can have the most significant impact for SMBs?
Finance and payments
As we move closer to a cashless society, SaaS solutions are making it easier than ever for smaller businesses to accept payments in a variety of forms. Where previously companies have needed a point of sale terminal from a bank to be able to accept card payments, for example, there are now SaaS applications that can turn any tablet or smartphone into a PoS terminal. The PoS terminal not only lets you take payments but also accept money from digital wallets and payment portals such as PayPal.
SaaS accounting software can improve the efficiency of your bookmaking and accounts processes. SaaS systems are continually running in the cloud, meaning you can schedule activities such as invoice generation to run automatically, saving your business valuable time.
Solutions such as Soldo’s expense management system can free finance team members from the burden of collating and cross-checking high volumes of expense receipts with manual expense reports. Instead, staff can be issued with prepaid business cards and can use the Soldo app to scan expense receipts and upload them.
Central finance team staff can use the Soldo dashboard to control card expenditure via sophisticated rules, and the system provides extensive accounting system integration, reporting and analytics insights, all of which can save significant time.
Many smaller companies still rely upon paper files. But these are vulnerable to loss, damage and being misfiled. Even if documents are stored electronically, businesses still might worry about backing them up, securing them, archiving older material and so forth.
A SaaS-based document management solution simplifies many of these functions by automating them. It also avoids the need to buy and maintain the infrastructure needed to handle documents in house.
Finding documents is easier too because they can be tagged with multiple categories, such as type, subject, department and more. This not only promotes greater efficiency, but companies can also be aware as to who has access to certain documents and can ensure that all employees are using the latest versions.
Sales and marketing are key functions of any business. Here again, SaaS can assist in streamlining operations. Customer relationship management (CRM) systems can put information about clients at the fingertips of your sales and marketing teams. Companies can also create and manage campaigns so that they effectively target the right consumers.
Sales and marketing is increasingly a time-sensitive activity and using the flexibility of SaaS means that staff can access and share information in real-time and act on it quickly to achieve optimum results.
Managing the supply chain and using software for enterprise resource planning (ERP) used to be the use of big businesses mainly. Smaller companies couldn’t run systems of this scope or sophistication. SaaS has changed that, providing even the smallest enterprise with the ability to manage inventory, supply chain and much more with high accuracy and efficiency.
The software can even connect with radiofrequency trackers so that you can see where goods are in real-time. For manufacturing businesses, it can streamline processes and help with just-in-time delivery models.
Digital transformation is changing the face of today’s enterprises, allowing businesses to become more efficient and to improve their competitiveness. SaaS can help with this process by providing access to software that might otherwise be beyond the reach of smaller businesses.
Accessing systems from the cloud also means that the most up to date information is available whenever and wherever you need it, making working from home or on the move much more straightforward. You have additional flexibility because there is no long term contract, and there’s also reduced lead time when it comes to preparing for expansion or seasonal peaks in demand.
Ultimately a move to SaaS can lead to greater efficiency, improved customer satisfaction, reduced stress and enhanced profitability. If your SMB has not adopted SaaS yet, it may be worth considering in order to keep ahead of competitors and enjoy the vast amounts of benefits that come with implementing certain software.