SaaS Solutions for Higher Education: The benefits

Technology has unfolded in recent times, and there has been quite an unprecedented shift from the normal software solutions which were developed to meet organizational requirements. These software conventionally had to be installed and run on organizational computers, hence resulting in expense in acquisition of a hardware, maintenance, software licensing, installations and support. But with innovative Solutions like SaaS (Software as a Service) organizations are migrating and beginning to recognize the benefits.

What is Saas?

Saas is a software distribution model in which a third-party provider hosts cloud-based applications and makes them available for customers to connect to over the Internet. In lay man terms, it is a way of delivering applications to customers as a service via the internet, without the need to install or get engaged in complex software or hardware maintenance. Saas applications are sometimes called Web based software or hosted software. There are so many reasons why Saas has been proven preferable to the conventional software-hardware infrastructure. There are various types of SaaS software solutions such as Email Marketing Software, Accounting Software, CRM Software, HR Software and many more.

In an article by Margaret Rouse on SearchCloudComputing, she asked her readers the reasons for their choice of SaaS.

What made you choose SaaS for your enterprise?”- Margaret Rouse

Some responses were as follows:

“Unlike traditional software which is conventionally sold as a perpetual license with an up-front cost (and an optional ongoing support fee), SaaS providers generally price applications using a subscription fee, most commonly a monthly or an annual fee. Consequently, the initial setup cost for SaaS is typical lower than the equivalent enterprise software, SaaS vendors typically price thei applications based on some usage parameters, such as the number of users(“seats”) using the application”- markm20

 “We wanted to save time as we have many clients using public cloud services and optimizing costs for each of them was time consuming. So we started using several SaaS- cloud monitoring tools and now we use Unigma which helps us in managing Azure, AWS and Google Cloud together providing partner billing, cost analytics, reporting, policy-based alerting etc”- MichealCo

Some Statistics on SaaS

Here are some statistics according to Small Business Trends

  • New SaaS offerings and start-ups are rising at a rate of more than 1,400 over the last five years among various sectors.
  • SaaS growth continues on a global level, the United States continues to hold more than half the market share
  • Early half (43 percent) of small business owners use mobile devices as the primary device for running their operations.
  • 90 percent of mobile data traffic will be generated by cloud solutions/SaaS by 2019

SaaS for Schools:

As much as SaaS provides solutions for organizations, it also provides specific on-demand services for educational institutions. SaaS Solutions allows virtual academic process management cloud to control different aspect of your institutions activities, allowing you focus on providing best education to your student and better school management. Some examples of SaaS LMS are Moodle, Edmodo, Headmaster, CourseSites by Blackboard and many more, below are some benefits of a school with an integrated SaaS LMS solution:

  • Cost Effective: Unlike normal software applications, Saas runs on a pay-as-you-go model which suggests payment on either a monthly, quarterly or yearly basis. And this is cheaper because SaaS is customized for your institution which means you only pay for what you use, thereby getting value for your money. The cost also incurred on software, upgrade and hardware maintenance will inevitably accumulate to more costing on the conventional on premise applications. All in all, it allows for a flexible and transparent investment and budgeting strategy.
  • Accessibility: Saas application and data is stored in the cloud and this makes it super easy for accessibility on any platform connected to the internet. SaaS also drastically reduces the risks involved in conventional infrastructural failures that lead to data loss.
  • Automatic Updates: Because SaaS is provided by a vendor, changes, updates, bug fixes and upgrade in performance would be carried out by the vendor. This eliminates the stress and resource you’ll go through in your in-house team making these changes.
  • Ubiquitous Learning: With SaaS institutions can involve a cloud-based curriculum making it possible for children to learn wherever they are as long as they are connected to the internet.
  • Improved management and communication: SaaS aligns the goals and interest of schools and vendors, to provide a best fit solution for management and communications. Some SaaS solutions may help in managing student information, institutions payroll system and even communication platforms between institutions stakeholders.

SaaS Solutions on the cloud appeals to K–12 institutions because it expands and increases the options that institutions can provide even if they have small IT departments, SaaS also reduces the burdens of management allowing for scalability. Now if you’re thinking on getting a SaaS Solution for your institution here are a few factors to consider:

  • Subscription Management: Choosing the best Vendor with the best subscription package as relates to the features your institution requires.
  • Configuration and Integration: When choosing a SaaS ensure that the solution can best be integrated and configured to fit your institutional need by the Vendor of the SaaS
  • Security: Ensure that your vendor guarantees the maximum security and safety of the solution to ensure no cases of sensitive data loss or leakage.
  • Employee Training: Ensure the employees of your institution are trained on how to access and use these software services, to ensure maximum utilization of the SaaS functionalities.

 

Conclusion

SaaS differ in types and functionalities. So if you’re looking to select a SaaS Learning Management System, be sure to ask about multi-tenant architecture (single software application accessible by many customers) in order to reap the full SaaS benefits of fast deployment, easy maintenance, and technical scalability.

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