Shifting to Software-as-a-Service: Where small businesses have the edge
When you’re a small business up against the big guys, at times it can seem impossible to compete. But there are a few areas where your smaller size gives you a distinct advantage.
Shifting to a ‘Software-as-a-Service’ (SaaS) business environment is one of those areas. Big businesses have done their homework. They know they’ll gain a huge competitive advantage when they ditch their outdated legacy applications. But their size and complexity means that, for them, the shift to SaaS is a serious undertaking that can take many months - sometimes years. For a small business without the baggage of unwieldy legacy systems and processes, it’s usually much more straightforward.
A COMPLETE SHIFT TO SAAS IS WHERE THE MAGIC HAPPENS
Your business is probably already using at least one SaaS product. Perhaps you upgraded one of your legacy applications because it was no longer supported, or because it didn’t integrate easily into other services you were using. Maybe ongoing maintenance and upgrades were becoming a financial burden. Solving any of these problems is a good reason to transition to a SaaS product. But the really exciting benefits come from removing dependency on all of your legacy applications. Making a total shift to SaaS is where the magic happens - and it’s much easier to achieve for a smaller business than for a big enterprise.
Here’s what you can expect when you completely kick the legacy application habit and move to a 100% SaaS environment:
1. MORE TIME TO DO WHAT YOU DO BEST
Managing your IT in-house is a considerable drain on time and money. As a small business owner, it’s likely that responsibility for IT falls on your shoulders, or on those of the most ‘techy’ of your staff members. No matter how IT-savvy you are, there are better things you could be doing with your time. SaaS services manage all upgrades, patching and testing, so making a complete shift to SaaS negates the need for you or any of your staff to spend another second managing your IT. The result? You’re freed up to focus on what you do best.
2. MORE MANAGEABLE AND TRANSPARENT IT COSTS
Replacing all of your legacy applications with SaaS alternatives means all those hidden IT costs associated with managing your IT in-house will disappear. What’s more, if you choose to use a managed service provider, they’ll wrap up their cost savings and pass them on to you in the form of a predictable, all-inclusive monthly fee per user.
3. A FUTURE-PROOFED BUSINESS
SaaS platforms allow for dynamic growth. Unlike legacy systems, they’re instantly scalable – meaning that when that golden business opportunity crops up, you won’t miss the boat while you’re scrambling to upgrade your IT architecture. Strong competition in the SaaS space means there’s an incentive for your data to be portable to multiple SaaS solutions with import and export services, making future moves between SaaS products very simple. That means if a SaaS product that better suits your future business becomes available, you can switch far more easily than if you were moving from a legacy system.
4. INCREASED SECURITY
SaaS offerings are designed under the assumption that services will be maliciously attacked. Many SaaS providers are capable of showing you who is accessing and changing your information from within your team, and who is attempting to access it externally, in the form of real-time and historical reporting. Strategies such as data encryption and multi-factor authentication (e.g. keying a one-time password texted to your phone) are becoming necessary security measures for SaaS. This 360-degree control means that your data is actually much more secure within a SaaS platform than within legacy systems.
5. MORE FLEXIBILITY
With SaaS, your data is available to you and your staff on multiple devices across multiple interfaces, which allows you to implement a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy if you wish, without compromising productivity. Some SaaS communication and collaboration apps, such as Microsoft Office 365, a user can be offline and can still work locally on their device, then synchronise their data later – further improving efficiency and flexibility.
6. REDUCED RELIANCE ON SERVERS
An important benefit of completely removing your dependency on legacy applications is reduced reliance on your office or datacentre. Backup and restoration processes don’t require any additional on-premises systems or daily tasks for your staff. Office disaster recovery strategies could be as simple as telling people to work from home.
THE LAST MILE IS THE HARDEST
We frequently see small businesses replace one or more of their legacy applications with SaaS alternatives, but stop short of a complete move to the cloud. While this is understandable – the last mile is always the hardest – it’s a huge lost opportunity. That’s because each of the benefits covered here can only be fully realised once you’ve completely cut the legacy apron strings.
Want an unfair advantage over your big, slower-moving competitors? Use your size and flexibility to your advantage by beating them to the finish line in the race to convert to SaaS.
Get in touch today to see how Hum can help you shake off your dependency on legacy applications and experience the benefits of a complete shift to SaaS.