What is SaaS?
SaaS is an acronym for “Software-as-a-Service”. SaaS is ideal for a Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS). The reasons include accessibility from anywhere, data security and low total cost of ownership.
A SaaS product is hosted on the internet for a subscriber to use for a small fee. The subscriber can access a SaaS product from any location and from any device that has an internet connection – broadband, wi-fi, and 3G and 4G connections are all acceptable. As part of the SaaS service the users data is stored on an internet server by the SaaS provider. This is known as “the cloud”. The data then regularly backed up and stored securely.
Compatible devices include desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones.
The user is only responsible for the infrastructure required to access the software over the internet. Compatible devices include desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones. The SaaS supplier is responsible for all infrastructure required to make the software functional, such as servers and security. This relieves the company of many of the issues of locally hosting their own software, including hardware, infrastructure, data backup and data security.
Reasons why SaaS is great for CMMS
Compared with a CMMS that is hosted on a locally maintained server, SaaS is ideally suited for Computerized Maintenance Management Software (CMMS) for several reasons, including:
- No dedicated infrastructure – The only devices needed are those that will connect to the CMMS via the internet. No servers or backup equipment is required, nor is any dedicated software required to be installed on any device.
- Immediate startup – without the need for dedicated infrastructure (or knowledge about the infrastrucutre) the customer can begin the process of implementing their CMMS immediately without the hassle of setting up servers and syncing.
- Rapid scalability – as the user company changes size they can rapidly expand their software use, without acquiring any additional dedicated hardware. This is particularly useful or companies with seasonal workforces and companies experiencing rapid growth.
- Data backup and security – No matter what happens to the computers at your work, your data is secure and available. Because SaaS businesses invest in security, the data stored on a SaaS server is likely to be better protected from hacker attack, file corruption and data loss than on your own system.
- Real time collaboration – Multiple users can access and update the CMMS at any one time for always up-to-date maintenance data.
- Mobile connectivity – users in the field, especially technicians, can easily access their up-to-date work orders and update their work schedules using their mobile device.
- Regular updates – The software is regularly updated, without hassle for the user, so the best available product is available and used at all times.
- Low cost of ownership – Without the costs of owning and maintaining dedicated infrastructure for the CMMS, nor the personnel to manage this equipment, the cost of ownership is minimized.
Considering a SaaS CMMS? Consider these factors first
Manish Godse and Shrikant Mulik, speaking at the 2009 IEEE International Conference on Cloud Computing, described the 5 factors that should be considered when selecting a SaaS product. These 5 factors can be adapted to suit those that should be considered when selecting a SaaS CMMS. I have highlighted how Maintenance Assistant CMMS satisfies each of these factors.
- Functionality – In a recent blog post I described the 5 most important features of a CMMS product. At a minimum your SaaS CMMS should excel in all of these.
- Architecture- does it integrate with other applications you have – can you import your previous data from an old CMMS or a spreadsheet or paper based maintenance management method? Can it scale with your business and easily grow with you? Is it reliable and available all of the time? Is it Secure?
- Usability – Is the user interface easy to use and attractive? Is help available whenever it is needed – through in-program videos and/or tech-support? Is it available for use on mobile devices?
- Vendor reputation – Is the vendor reputable, with a growing list of customers?
- Cost – How much does the system cost? Consider both the up-front cost for setup and training and the continuing costs of running the software.
Maintenance Assistant believes in SaaS products
At Maintenance Assistant we believe in SaaS products and we run our business with them. Our human resources is managed by TribeHR, our email and calendar systems are by Google Apps, we document our workflow on Jira, and we share resources using Confluence.
We believe we make a great SaaS CMMS. We believe ours ticks all of the boxes for functionality, architecture, usability, reputation and cost. You can give our software a trial run or subscribe to begin using it now.
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