Software as a Product (SaaP) continues to stay relevant despite many changes pushing users to SaaS. See the ways SaaP has value and why it might be time to switch off it. Here’s a complete guide.

What Is a SaaP?

Software as a Product (SaaP) is usually a physical item of merchandise that is a one-time purchase. SaaP is utilized when a customer needs a program without many strings attached, such as support or constant upgrades. It’s different than SaaS because it’s a product purchase instead of a service purchase.

An example of SaaP is if you purchased a software at the store or online, you would either be given a physical disc which includes the software, or you would need to download the software program. Your purchase would be a one-time payment, not a monthly recurring fee. Your involvement with the company from whom you purchased the software would be minimal and would exist only when you choose (support reasons, upgrades, etc.).

A picture of a software interface.
A SaaP requires a one-time purchase.

Downsides of a SaaP

One potential drawback of SaaP is the lack of quality maintenance to the software. Whereas Software as a Service is tweaked sometimes daily to be optimized, SaaP is at the mercy of its initial creation. This is because once the software is purchased, its value and usage changes based on developments in technology. For example, if you purchased a copy of Microsoft Word but the societal standard of document files changed, you would need to upgrade your copy in order to fit in. Another problem is the upgrade costs, which defeat the purpose and value of the one-time purchase.

The most problematic issue with SaaP is it lacks business functionality. If a company wants to implement a new software, SaaP leaves it vulnerable to system downtimes for updates, problems with functionality and lack of extensive support. This type of disruption is too harsh for most businesses to sustain, especially if it happens more than once.

A picture of computers that need a system update.
System updates cause massive downtime for a SaaP.

Differences Between SaaP and SaaS

SaaS is a monthly or yearly-paid service which provides services from the hosting company. It feels like an open-ended service and investment because of the automated updates and expanded support. SaaP, on the other hand, is a one-time purchase of software that is limited to the scope of the software program at the time of its creation.

Think of SaaP like a VHS or DVD. You buy a movie on VHS and you get to watch that movie. If you bought a digital movie streaming account like Netflix, you use a company-hosted system to watch different available movies. The streaming program is SaaS. The company running the service updates it often but it doesn’t require payments or large amounts of downtime to upgrade. The movie you buy on VHS is like a SaaP. It does essentially the same thing as the streaming service but it’s offline and is a one-time purchase that doesn’t require third party company upkeep to exist.

VHS video tapes.
The SaaS involves more support from the company you bought your service from.

Future Outlook

SaaP is best suited in the current and future as an option for individual users. The potential issues it causes for companies makes it likely that they will continue to gravitate toward SaaS now and in the future. The SaaP’s biggest value lies in its ease-of-use for users with minimal internet access who simply want one particular program to accomplish certain actions. It appears SaaP won’t survive in the longterm due to the business benefits of SaaS.

Now that you have a better understanding of Software as a Product, measure its value and benefits and compare it to your personal or business needs. If it lines up with what you want, great. If not, the SaaS model is a likely perfect alternative to help you succeed.

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.