Software-as-a-Service: Digital Transformation for Operators
The Software-as-a-Service market continues to increase rapidly, as evidenced by the big global IT market players, presenting an opportunity for telecoms operators to capture a share of the revenue.
With that being said, operators have a distinct advantage to deliver managed data, security and private cloud services, plus services for key industry verticals in order to differentiate themselves.
What is Software as a Service?
Software-as-a-service (SaaS) is a way to deliver software that is accessed online via a web browser, instead of being purchased and installed on individual computers. SaaS providers make money most often with a subscription-based model; by charging a monthly or annual fee.
The cloud provider is responsible for developing and maintaining the software, managing all the hardware, middleware, application software and security as well as providing automatic software updates instead of the purchaser needing to buy updated software.
SaaS customers can significantly lower costs and simplify their processes by opting for cloud computing business solutions.
Software-as-a-Service is both a way for customers to access software over the internet and in the case of telecoms, a revenue model.
This is because Software-as-a-Service has become a popular software delivery model for many organizations who need Customer Relationship Management (CRM), accounting, service desk management, and many more. In essence, businesses are looking to SaaS for nearly every business feature required.
For typical network service providers, operating and managing their networks usually takes a centralized, on-location and homegrown software solution approach.
The benefits of a telecoms SaaS model to manage network services include reduced operations costs, greater control and fewer operations resources.
To boot, Software-as-a-Service enables integration and alignment with many other applications via APIs.
More telecoms companies are moving over to cloud computing models.
A short history of Software-as-a-Service
In the 1980s, the first CRM was developed by Pat Sullivan and Mike Muhney in Texas. Called “ACT!”, it was a DOS CRM (marketed as a digital Rolodex), that businesses could use to store contact details of their customers.
The 90’s saw graphical Software-as-a-Service led by Salesforce, who developed the most prominent SaaS proven business model in the world and is still renowned for it today. In addition, other giants also established themselves in the 1990s.
The difference between SaaS and PaaS
SaaS = Software as a Service
PaaS = Platform as a Service
SaaS offers fully developed applications on-demand and which provide specific services like accounting, email management, and CRM, to name but a few.
Platform-as-a-service (PaaS) on the other hand, also offers the operating system and application services. PaaS is suitable for businesses that are committed to a specific development environment for a specific application but want someone else to maintain the deployment platform for them.
Pros and cons of SaaS
- Cloud computing requires the most basic resources for cloud computing development, on which telecom operators can build more attractive services for their customers.
- Operators already have a global backbone network to provide safe and reliable network access services, ensuring end-to-end SLA (Service-Level Agreement).
- Telecoms operators already have the experience of providing communication services to a vast number of subscribers; this experience can be directly reused for reliable and well-performing cloud computing services.
- Telecoms operators have already won the trust of their subscribers; selling them SaaS for additional revenue will not be difficult.
- There is major competition from internet companies like Google and Amazon, as well as IT establishments such as IBM and Microsoft.
- Updated research around SaaS development by telecoms is lacking.
- Because it’s not a core service, SaaS is a sub-business which may lead to poor resources.
- A complex IT infrastructure that encompasses a number of vendors, plus different types of servers, storage and networking equipment, increases the difficulty of building a cloud computing platform.
SaaS global popularity
Software-as-a-Service allows businesses to buy software that is simpler, faster to deploy and scale, and which they don’t need to maintain.
The adoption of SaaS is in 3 key areas:
- Revenue generating apps, like CRM systems, because the purchaser need not maintain the application or purchase updates.
- Access to the ecosystem of other SaaS providers who have developed their apps to work with each other (integrations).
- A new and easier channel to follow business processes.
Today, most business applications used by companies are in the cloud.
Telecoms operators must find a way to bring the cloud into the heart of the network, in order to generate additional income.
Future ideas for SaaS in telecoms
It’s a universal fact that the majority of people access the internet from a mobile device.
Because of the demand for high-speed data, as well as other services like IoT, it is essential for operators to broaden their business scope, and through cloud computing, they have the opportunity to expand their offerings. This is what must happen:
- Increase infrastructure coverage and upgrading of equipment.
- Build an integrated information service system.
- Develop user resources.
- Strengthen the ability to integrate the internet.
- Establish a platform to nurture ecosystems. Telecom operators can cooperate with online businesses to work together.
Adapt IT⼁Telecoms offers an easy way for telecoms to utilize Software-as-a-Service; an example is CDRlive, which allows for all applications to run through a common framework to simplify installations, upgrades and operations. It does a whole lot more than that though. Find out more.
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