Definition of SaaS:
Software as a Service (SaaS) is software that is rented rather than purchased. Instead of buying software and paying for periodic upgrades, SaaS is subscription-based, and all upgrades are provided during the term of the subscription. When the subscription period expires, the software is no longer valid.
SaaS can be implemented with local applications that expire after a certain time, but it is ideally suited for cloud computing in the Internet and Web browser-based applications, which can run in any desktop or mobile device, no matter the operating system. In this model, the applications are maintained in the service provider’s datacenter, and every time users launch their browsers and log on, they get the latest version. In addition, the data can also be stored in the provider’s datacenter.
This approach has been touted as the wave of the future, many believing that local applications will be history down the road. However, legacy architectures tend to last longer than expected, and the road could be long. (PCMag)
Church Management Software as a Service
The popularity of using the SaaS concept with web-based applications has grown due to the increased availability of broadband internet access. Paying a monthly or annual subscription allows you to access your data anytime, anywhere you have internet access while letting someone else host the software, install updates and enhancements, store and safeguard your data, perform backups, and deal with any outages.
SaaS is like living in an apartment: you pay rent each month based on how much space you occupy (e.g. a three-bedroom apartment would cost more than a studio.) The management company is responsible for resolving any problems such as when the heat stops working or if the appliances need to be updated. And if you decide to move, you can take all of your furnishings and belongings (church’s data) with you.
Many churches are quickly adapting this concept because they can spend less time and money on Information Technology (IT) while getting immediate access to the latest technological innovations. Also, the financial risk you take is lowered significantly; instead paying the hefty license fee associated with traditional software upfront, you only pay for what you use and the subscription fee can easily be incorporated into your budget. And if, for some reason, the software is no longer meeting the needs of your church – you can take your data with you. For more information, read our post on security and data storage.