Let’s Get SaaS-y

Thomas Friedman wrote that the earth is flat. He made this claim over 7 years ago, and it is becoming more and more true every day. With the rise of companies offering their Software as a Service (SaaS), usually cloud-based applications, companies no longer need to be in the same office to do day to day business. They don’t even need to be in the same country for that matter.

The rise of these applications being sold as a service has been brought on because of the many advantages provided. The first, and most obvious one, is that you do not have to install anything to use it; most SaaS applications are cloud-based and can be accessed using any web browser.

Another clear advantage is that updates are done centrally, therefore the user does not have to update anything to use the current version of the software. This also eliminates the concern about compatibility with certain hardware and operating systems.

And finally, some SaaS applications are designed to integrate with an existing software to make it more user-friendly. These applications cover everything from accounting services, to customer relationship management (CRM), to sales and marketing.

What do some of these applications do? Here are a few examples that range the SaaS spectrum:

1. SalesForce

A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) service allows a company to keep track of all current customers and leads, providing up to the minute information that anyone with an account in the company can access. They also offer an integration with Quickbooks to cut out the middleman so that financial information is automatically synced when entered in either program.

2. SpringAhead

A time and expense tracking service that allows employees to fill out time sheets and expense reports using any internet browser, these are then sent to be approved by an administrator at the company. This service also offers integration with Quickbooks and other accounting applications including payroll companies to cut out another middleman.

3. SignNow

Proving Friedman’s claim about the world being flat, we can now sign legal documents over the web. SignNow offers free document signing online, all you have to do is upload any document (contract, lease, etc…) and type or draw your signature. They also offer a notary service which eliminates the need to have an in-house notary for some companies.

4. Cloud9 Real Time

A cloud-based hosting application that allows you to store data on their servers and access them from a web browser. They host data at a facility with a SAS 70 type II Service Auditor’s Report to ensure its safety, so you know you’re documents are safe.

It’s no surprise that cloud-computing is taking over, I’m actually using a Google document to write this article right now. The International Data Corporation believes that by the end of this year, 85% of software will be sold as a service rather than a product, so it appears the ball is already rolling in that direction.

The examples given are just a small sample of the SaaS applications out there, it’s up to you to do research and find the company that fits your needs.

Justin is a recent graduate from UC Santa Barbara with a degree in Communication, living in San Francisco, just trying to make a name in the social media world.


  1. Seth on the 17th October

    Great intro article to SaaS!

    I’d like to add one more to your list, which is the app my company makes. It’s called Cashboard, and it tracks time, sends online invoices, and allows you to collect payments.

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