What is Enterprise SaaS: Software as a Service for Businesses

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Julia Sakovich , Author at Geomotiv
Reviewed by Alex Kharkauski, COO at Geomotiv
Published: Nov 29, 2023

The use of cloud technologies has already become a standard for many industries. Such a software distribution model as Software as a service (SaaS), which presupposes that people can access various apps via the Internet, is already well-known to many users. 

The popularity of SaaS software development services and these solutions is continuously growing. This trend is explained by the benefits this software can provide to different groups of users, including companies and enterprises. These apps are secure, highly performing, scalable, and accessible from any device. Moreover, thanks to the use of enterprise SaaS, managers can significantly optimize their IT budgets by reducing their expenses on the maintenance of on-premises servers. 

As an enterprise software development company with rich experience, we deeply understand the peculiarities of the enterprise SaaS business model and the new opportunities the companies get when they adopt it. 

In this article, we talk about this concept in general and will focus on such aspects as enterprise SaaS trends and traditional use cases.

What Is Enterprise SaaS?

The most straightforward enterprise SaaS definition doesn’t seriously differ from the general explanation of a consumer SaaS. The essential peculiarity of the type of software under consideration is related to its users. As a rule, such apps are targeted at businesses with many employees (100+).

An enterprise SaaS is a solution built for enterprise businesses that they can access via the Internet and use on a paid basis.

SaaS products in general (and SaaS enterprise solutions in particular) appeared as an answer to the limitations of traditional software. These drawbacks include:

  • the inflexibility of traditional apps;
  • lack of scalability;
  • difficulties related to their support, updates, modernization, and the possibility of accessing them exclusively from those computers where they were installed.

With SaaS, everything is more accessible. There is no need to download the required software to your device. And it is a considerable relief for enterprise apps, as they can be highly complex and heavy. Applications can be reached from any device, at any time, and from any corner of the globe if you have an Internet connection.

Thanks to the introduction of SaaS, businesses have an additional possibility to optimize their staff. Now, it is optional to have IT specialists who will be responsible for downloading different programs on dozens (if not hundreds) of computers at your office and then updating them all one by one. Cloud technologies allow businesses to avoid such trouble.

enterprise saas meaning - enterprise saas businesses

Moreover, the financial side of buying licenses remained to be a pressing issue for many big companies. However, the enterprise SaaS business model is an excellent alternative. Most providers of SaaS solutions offer tiered subscription plans that may have a fixed fee or a flexible one. In the latter case, costs are calculated based on the number of users, consumed resources, or a precise set of tools and services an enterprise needs.

SaaS products have greatly influenced businesses' approach to digital transformation in general. With off-the-shelf solutions vendors provide, companies can integrate software products into their processes much faster and more efficiently. Costs, required efforts, accessibility, and efficiency made SaaS solutions the most preferable option among enterprises and smaller companies worldwide.

The enterprise SaaS market size is continuously growing despite all the negative trends that were observed during the COVID-19 period and still has its influence in the post-pandemic era. In 2022, the sector was said to have a volume of over $290 billion. It was an increase of more than 7% from the previous year. Now, experts believe that it will be able to gain momentum and demonstrate low-double-digit growth within the period from 2024 to 2027.

Enterprise SaaS: Key Сharacteristics

Speaking about enterprise SaaS meaning, we’ve already touched on some peculiarities of this software that make it stand out from the row of its traditional alternatives. Now, we allow you to look closely at the leading enterprise SaaS features and characteristics.

enterprise saas meaning - key enterprise saas characteristics

1.Deployment. For an enterprise that relies on traditional software systems, allocating enough money and resources to support local servers and individual computers is necessary. It means that dedicated IT staff will manage all the software-related processes and track the performance and state of the used hardware.

With SaaS products, all tasks of this kind won’t be the responsibility of end-users. This software will be hosted on a cloud platform and maintained by a vendor. When you launch your enterprise SaaS for the needs of your staff or clients, you will need to support and update your product. Still, it will be done in the cloud without the necessity of making all the manipulations on individual computers.

This approach to deployment can save a lot of time and ensure that the same software version will be available to all users simultaneously.

2.Maintenance. In the case of traditional software, when a vendor releases updates, they should be manually installed by each user on each device. It requires a lot of time and effort. Moreover, due to some factors, employees of the same organization often have different software versions, which can become a problem for their interaction and data exchange.

In the enterprise SaaS business model, such processes are centralized. None of these tasks require any user participation. It means that businesses can focus more on their core processes while a vendor will introduce all the needed changes and updates remotely.

3.Costs. When a company is planning to implement new traditional software, it is required to consider an impressive amount of upfront costs (first of all, it will be the cost of the necessary hardware and licensing fees) and expenses on support and maintenance.

A subscription-based pricing model typical for enterprise SaaS is based on periodic payments (usually annually or monthly) that depend on the services, products, or resources used. It is a predictable model flexible enough to suit many businesses regardless of their requirements, expectations, and budgets. The need for any upfront cost is eliminated.

4.Customization. To ensure that your software product will demonstrate its highest efficiency, it should be fully tailored to your ongoing business needs. Unfortunately, when you rely on ready-made software available on the market, it is not always possible to customize all its features. If we take customization possibilities provided to businesses by traditional software, we will see that they are limited. Moreover, the introduction of any changes will require significant time and effort. The same problems may appear when you integrate your solution with other systems.

Among the leading enterprise SaaS features, we should name its flexibility. As a rule, vendors provide relatively comprehensive customization options that only presuppose a little coding. Moreover, such apps can be seamlessly integrated with other cloud solutions, which can help enterprises optimize their processes and achieve better performance.

5.Accessibility. If your employees are based in different locations or work remotely and your company uses traditional software, it can become a problem. Sharing data and collaboration between people will be a significant challenge. Even if you decide to make this possible, extra network configurations will be necessary.

In the case of using SaaS, it doesn’t matter where you or your employees are. You all will have access to the same programs, files, and data.

6.Compliance and security. The logic here will be the same as in all the above points. If you have traditional software products, you will need to take care of the security of your data stored locally, maintain firewalls, track all the changes in regulatory requirements to stay compliant with them, and introduce on-premises security protocols. All this requires time and money. Moreover, these are time-consuming and challenging tasks.

When you cooperate with a reliable cloud provider, you can be sure that all the required security measures are introduced. Trustworthy vendors and developers of enterprise SaaS solutions also take all necessary steps, submit encryption protocols, and obtain certifications proving that their software is regulatory compliant.

How Is Enterprise SaaS Different from B2B SaaS?

While speaking about enterprise SaaS products, it is also important to highlight their differences from B2B SaaS. In general, they have a lot in common, which is explained by the fact that their target audiences partially coincide. However, some features help us to see that they are not just the same:

  1. Enterprise SaaS solutions are developed for large organizations, while B2B products are built for businesses of any size. Given this fact, it is reasonable to conclude that enterprise solutions are much more complex. 
  2. Enterprise software usually costs more.
  3. Enterprise SaaS features are often more flexible and customizable than B2B products.

While two solutions (if the first one is developed for enterprises and the second one - just for businesses) may share the same functionality, enterprise software should be more powerful and resilient to high loads. 

Just imagine the difference: what capabilities are required from a software product when you must prepare 1000 invoices monthly or when you process 15 invoices monthly?

It is worth mentioning that various SaaS vendors often offer different plans for businesses and enterprise clients.

For example, Google Analytics, which is available for free to a broad audience, has a particular Google Analytics 360 product for enterprises that want to get access to deeper insights into their performance. This plan that was designed for enterprises includes a row of advanced tools, a tracking API, access to real-time data, more significant processing limits, and other new opportunities. Moreover, the company has a dedicated support team and is always ready to provide Google Analytics 360 users with the required assistance. 

Another product to mention is a cloud-based instant messaging service, Slack, which also has different options for businesses of various sizes. Its subscription plan for enterprises is upgraded with advanced compliance and security offerings, support for offline backup providers and external data loss prevention, premium workflow, domain claiming, and other features that will facilitate many tasks for employees of huge businesses. Like Google, Slack offers priority customer support to those companies that have chosen the Enterprise plan.

Benefits of Enterprise SaaS

Now, after we’ve discussed the characteristics that make enterprise SaaS unique, we offer you to consider its key benefits. Let’s briefly summarize why businesses opt for such solutions, especially since their use is not very cheap.

enterprise saas meaning - key enterprise saas benefits
  • Reduced upfront costs. You do not need to purchase any special equipment or licenses. Once you’ve chosen an enterprise SaaS product suitable for your company, you need to buy a subscription based on your precise needs and can start using this solution.
  • No additional hardware. Local dedicated servers and other equipment are required to run on-premises infrastructure and programs. For cloud-based solutions, you, as an end-user, won’t need to invest in hardware.
  • Faster deployment. The configuration and deployment of a SaaS product can take place in no time. When you rely on a ready-made product, all these tasks will be a vendor's responsibility.
  • Quick and easy updates. When new features are released, you do not need to care about the necessity to update the app on all devices. The software will be modified by its owner, and all users will automatically gain access to it.
  • Optimized labor force. When businesses do not have servers and do not need to update and support their traditional apps and programs regularly, their IT staff can be reduced.
  • Higher productivity. While all the tasks related to SaaS will be performed on the side of a vendor, enterprises can concentrate more on their critical business tasks.

Enterprise SaaS can become an excellent solution for large companies. We have rich expertise in building such solutions and will be able to find the right solution to boost your business growth.

Common Use Cases and Enterprise SaaS Examples

To better understand whether your company needs to integrate such a solution, it will be helpful to look at real-life enterprise SaaS examples and find out how different businesses can benefit from them.

Enterprise SaaS products are used precisely in the same fields and industries typical for any other enterprise software. They are applied across numerous industries, including manufacturing, retail, banking and finance, transport and logistics, and many others. 

As for the exact scope of tasks that such software can cover, we should mention the following:

  • HR management;
  • marketing automation;
  • customer relation management;
  • accounting;
  • business intelligence, etc.
enterprise saas meaning-types of SaaS enterprise products

Let us focus on the most popular and highly demanded types of SaaS enterprise products.

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems

These solutions help businesses optimize their processes by bringing them to one system and making them more straightforward for all employees.

ERP platforms traditionally have all the required tools for storing, operating, and processing enterprise-wide data. As a result, it is possible to increase the quality of business data, enhance its analytics, avoid duplication, and provide access to all departments. 

Thanks to the offered visibility, enterprises can make more valuable business decisions. Oracle NetSuite can be named among the most well-known solutions in this category. It is intended to facilitate and streamline such business processes as inventory, procurement, order fulfillment, and financial operations.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platforms

CRM systems help businesses to accumulate and efficiently use all the data regarding their customers. This data can be received from different sources and channels. A CRM solution has the required functionality for organizing it and making it comfortable. 

With a reliable platform, enterprises can significantly improve customer interactions, increase their loyalty, and drive sales.

When discussing CRM solutions, we should mention Salesforce Sales Cloud, which is positioned as a platform for managing customer communication and improving the efficiency of all marketing efforts. It has advanced tools for tracking leads, monitoring changes in customer engagement, and increasing the productivity of sales and marketing departments.

Human Resource (HR) management solutions

For any company (and especially any large enterprise), finding the most appropriate methods for managing their workforce and all the data related to their employees is vital. HR enterprise SaaS solutions typically cover general information on each person with contact details or other data. Such software can also help to manage payrolls, benefits, compensation, vacations, corporate training, etc.

Workday is precisely such a solution that is widely used by large-sized businesses. It has talent management, time tracking, and recruiting features.

Finance software

Finance and accounting tools' quality, reliability, and security are crucial for every business. But when it comes to large companies, the importance of these parameters is even higher. 

This group of software products unites different types of apps and tools. Their functionality typically includes features for cash management, accounting, reporting, transactions, inventory management, and others.

As an example of such a cloud-based platform that enterprises can use, we can mention Sage Intacct. It provides the essential accounting tools that big enterprises typically need. It also offers advanced functionality, like AI-powered timesheets, dynamic allocations, and expense management. Sage Intacct can also become a good choice if you must simultaneously manage accounting processes at several businesses.

Enterprise SaaS Implementation: Key Challenges

In this article, up to this section, we’ve discussed only positive aspects related to implementing enterprise SaaS products. However, as we all know, all tech processes and products always have some pitfalls and limitations you should be aware of to be well-prepared for. What do we mean in this case?

enterprise saas meaning - disadvantages of enterprise SaaS
  • Vendor lock-in. When you rely on an off-the-shelf solution, you should never forget that dependency on the vendor will be a vital side effect. The vendor will introduce updates and provide maintenance and tech support. If one day you decide to opt for another provider or to come back to traditional systems instead of cloud-based ones, you may be unpleasantly surprised after you see all the possible challenges, risks, and the amount that should be invested in this project. To mitigate risk, we recommend you be attentive when choosing a vendor and find a reliable company so you won’t want to change a provider. Moreover, custom software development can also become an excellent solution to avoid vendor dependency.
  • Data security. Though cloud platforms are known to be a highly secure option, it’s essential not to forget that when you start implementing a SaaS solution, you will need to migrate your data from on-premises databases to the cloud. This process can cause data loss and damage, so pay special attention to factors such as who will conduct this migration and how it is necessary. Also, you must attentively study your SaaS provider's security measures and practices to ensure your data is well-protected.
  • User training. When introducing a new software solution at your enterprise, you must make this transition as comfortable for your employees as possible. If employees do not fully understand how to use an offered tool, your business can't leverage all the benefits and new opportunities ensured by enterprise SaaS.
  • Integration and interoperability. As a rule, enterprises use much more than just one platform. Integrating them is always quite comfortable for their efficient use and data exchange between systems. When planning to introduce a new solution, it will be necessary to analyze whether you will be able to integrate it with your broader IT ecosystem seamlessly and whether it will be convenient to use it with your existing software platforms.

As you see, most issues associated with enterprise SaaS implementation won’t become a severe problem when you have chosen a reliable vendor or have a professional IT partner who will be responsible for developing your solution. Introducing a new software product (especially a big enterprise platform) is always a serious step that requires serious preparation and preliminary analysis. Only after attentive consideration of the peculiarities of the chosen software and the existing infrastructure will you be able to avoid serious issues related to SaaS integration into your business processes.

How to Choose the Right Enterprise SaaS Product

Suppose you have already decided that the enterprise SaaS business model is exactly what you need. Now, find a suitable solution to help you reach all your business goals. We have prepared some practical tips you can rely on while making up your mind.

  1. Analyze your ongoing needs and set goals. Choosing a software solution is possible by clearly understanding why you need it and what tasks you want it to solve. First, you need to detect your pain points, possible ways to address them, your essential requirements, risks, and desired results. For example, you may detect problems with your employee data management, and tracking all the related processes takes a lot of work. It means that you will need to think about implementing an HR management platform. If you have specific requirements, such as having tools for conducting payrolls via this solution, it will help narrow your search.
  2. Consider the reputation of a vendor. Even if a solution for a market newcomer looks very appealing, it may be rather risky to start using it. We recommend you consider the company's reputation, the reviews written by its customers, and its approaches to ensuring security and compliance. Unfortunately, if you work with a company with no history, you do not know what to expect, what approaches it has, and whether it fulfills all its promises. If you can access enterprise SaaS metrics, like enterprise SaaS churn rate showing the percentage of lost customers, you can use this data for decision-making.
  3. Analyze the quality of support services. The factor of the support services is rather weighty, especially for an enterprise system that can become core software for you. You need to be sure that your vendor will always be able to help you with any tech issues you may face. The faster your problems are solved, the lower the risk of downtime.
  4. Examine scalability. The flexibility and scalability of the chosen solution will guarantee that it will be able to cope with the growing load amid your business expansion.
  5. Take into account the financial side of the question. In many cases, using a SaaS product is much more feasible than a traditional one. However, as a rule, enterprise SaaS products are not offered for free, so you will need to allocate a budget for it. Before making up your mind, you should study all the available options, including pay-as-you-go, subscription-based, and tier-based plans.

We highly recommend you analyze and consider all these factors to ensure that you will find an excellent solution that will fully meet your requirements.

It is always interesting to observe how different technologies and solutions are evolving under the impact of the progress in this field. 

Enterprise SaaS products have an enormous potential to revolutionize how many large companies work. But what innovations can revolutionize (or at least slightly change) such solutions?

AI and ML-powered functionalityIntegration of IoT dataBlockchain
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are expected to lead in business process automation. Today, such tools are integrated into business solutions, and their popularity is projected to increase. AI can also help to process vast volumes of business data quickly to help managers make better-informed decisions. Another essential thing to mention is AI’s capabilities in making predictions and forecasts based on the detected patterns and real-time data.The Internet of Things is another up-and-coming emerging technology. Thanks to the network of sensors, IoT systems can accumulate valuable real-time data related to the different environments, equipment, and items. Such data is crucial for increasing the safety, productivity, and efficiency of decisions. If your enterprise's SaaS platform is enriched with IoT-powered functionality, you can ensure high visibility of numerous processes and enhance the quality of your enterprise's asset management.This technology can significantly enhance the security of the stored data and the conducted transactions. When a transaction is recorded on the blockchain, it can’t be altered or deleted. It helps to increase the visibility and transparency of the network. All the authorized parties can view this transaction, which helps to increase trust between the network participants. Moreover, thanks to smart contracts on the blockchain, it is possible to increase automation. Once the approved conditions are met, an intelligent agreement will be executed automatically.

Even though, with time flow, enterprise SaaS products are expected to become more advanced and feature-rich, we can presuppose that developers will do their best to make such solutions more user-friendly and easier to use. 

Another important point that engineers are already working on is making such products more secure and compatible with a more significant number of solutions. That’s exactly what businesses want to get.

Instead of a Final Word

The demand for cloud-based enterprise solutions is constantly growing these days. Cloud products can bring more flexibility and scalability to solutions, which is extremely important in today's markets with continually changing requirements. Easy deployment, quick updates, and seamless integration with other cloud tools make enterprise SaaS solutions a viable option for many businesses.

At Geomotiv, we are always at your disposal. Just contact us! We will be happy to discuss possible formats of our cooperation.

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