So you’re in need of a software system but you first need to find out which is better – a software as a service (SaaS) or a software as a product (SaaP). Now I’m sure no article you find is going to flat out tell you WHICH ONE IS BETTER! But I am and I’m not even going to make you read to the end to find out. SaaS is better – you are very welcome.

Now that you know which is the superior model, let’s take a look at extensive, detailed analysis (that I promise will be super interesting) comparing the two. First things first, a brief rundown of both.

The Difference Between SaaS and SaaP

The biggest notable difference between the two platforms is the SaaS users access its systems on the cloud through available connected devices. The SaaP clients use software hosted on their own servers. This isn’t to say SaaS is the same as the cloud but compared to SaaP it’s much closer.

Think of these two systems like cutting hair. Here are two ways to cut your hair:

  1. Go to a hair salon and have trained professionals cut it.
  2. Buy a set of clippers and cut it yourself.
A pair of electric clippers with two small scissors.
SaaP is like a pair of clippers in that they require only one purchase to use.

Software as a service is like going to the hair salon. You have no clippers at your home. Instead you visit the salon for your hair needs.

Software as a product is like buying the homemade clippers. You store them at your house and cut your hair all by yourself.

Future Outlook

Now that you know which is better in the instance of SaaS vs SaaP, let’s dive into their potential future relevance. Technological advances pushed SaaS way ahead of SaaP in a lot of areas, so it goes without saying that it will continue to do so. Using a physical software instead of a cloud service is dying and similarly so is SaaP. It continues to survive in smaller areas of software necessities but even that range is dwindling.

A lot of new startups are drawn to software as a service because it increases the likelihood consumers will commit to the product. An example of this is the popular app Snapchat. If Snapchat began as software as a product, we probably wouldn’t even know the name ‘Snapchat’. It would be dead and never have taken off. Startups see how the technology favors SaaS and they’re acting accordingly.

A picture of a businessperson holding a block that reads,
SaaS eases commitment concerns for startups.

Cost

I’ll compare cost from two different perspectives, individual user and enterprise.

Individual user

This is maybe the only place SaaP is more convenient than SaaS. A single user need only install the software onto one system. They also have a low one-time payment. Certainly a SaaS can be cost-effective for individuals as well. Their needs for service are low and the SaaS model benefits them at a lower price than given to large enterprises.

Enterprises

To help visualize how the cost comparison breaks down for a potential startup or established business, imagine you’re a company in need of software. You look into a SaaP system and it’s a single, one-time only payment. This doesn’t include things like IT involvement or any other future support payments.

Now compare that to a yearly fee from a SaaS. This doesn’t take into account the future support included in the price. It’s obvious that from the perspective of both large and small enterprises, the SaaS offer jumps off the page.

A picture of a keyboard with a 'PAY' key. A finger is pressing it.
SaaS and SaaP have vast differences in payment methods.

Versatility

A SaaP system is specific to a small range of departments. It wasn’t created to branch out and help numerous areas of a business. SaaS however fulfills a large scope of business needs. Think of SaaP like buying an Mp3 player that plays only country-genre music. In contrast, think of SaaS like an Mp3 that plays every genre including podcasts and other audio.

Software as a service shows itself to be versatile in its flexibility as well. Its ability to upgrade and update without large downtimes is incredibly helpful for enterprises. On the flipside, a SaaP shuts down company systems for days when a large update takes place. This is a huge issue for any respected business.

I want to make sure you walk away from this comparison with a concrete idea of what both systems are and which one is superior. I’m certain you have a firm grasp of how they function and which one is clearly better. All that’s left is to measure your needs within each system.

Casey Schmidt – Content Manager and Industry Expert | Canto

Casey is a content management and branding expert who enjoys taking complex subjects and making them easy to understand for readers.