A Few Thoughts on SaaS Terms from a non-technical CFO
It’s hard to keep up with techno speak in almost any area, and Software as a Service, or SaaS is certainly no exception. One can find all of these on the web, but what’s the difference between SaaS, IaaS (Infrastructure), Cloud Computing, ASP (Application Service Provider), the great sounding oxymoron-HaaS (Hardware), CaaS (Communication), PaaS (Platform) and the ubiquitous EaaS (Everything). Here at Replicon we have tried to standardize on SaaS, which seems to be the most common name for how we deliver to our customers the functionality of our software. For example, we refer to our timesheet software delivered over SaaS as SaaS Timesheet.
More SaaS lingo-is it SAS 70 or SaaS 70? For the time being it’s SAS 70, which sounds the same as SaaS 70 and I’ve seen both written, but for the time being, there is only one accepted standard and it’s SAS 70. Statement on Auditing Standards (SAS) No. 70, Service Organizations, is a widely recognized auditing standard developed by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). SAS 70 is widely recognized because it represents that a service organization has been through an in-depth audit of its control objectives and control activities, which often include controls over information technology and related processes. The merits of SAS 70 for a SaaS provider are beyond the scope of this blog, but I can say with certainty that Replicon has regular SAS 70 Type II audits performed and passed.
Much has been written on the benefits of SaaS. One benefit, sticking with industry speak and which I believe in, is the reduction of “shelfware”. The shelfware I’m speaking about is unused software, either wholly unused due to installation challenges or purchasing mistakes, or possibly more insidiously shelfware through unused seats. Near and dear to a CFO’s heart, SaaS makes it conveniently possible for a customer to only be billed and pay for software actually used. This is done through invoicing taking place at the end of a billing period, based on actual usage during that period as determined by the SaaS providers’ software management system.
What is your take on techie terminology? Post your comments, connect with us at LinkedIn, or send them to @Replicon on Twitter.