If you have been searching for a software solution of any kind, it’s likely you have heard the flowing buzz words: hosted, SaaS, Cloud, Web-Based, Browser-Based, Web-Enabled, etc… These are all terms that are associated with modern, advanced software; correct?
Regrettably, the answer is NO.
Unfortunately, there is much confusion, even within some technology companies, of what these terms really mean and the benefits they bring. To make matters worse, some marketing organizations are even more confused and tend to use these buzz words loosely.
Without going into a technical dissertation of each term, the following is a baseline that should provide a broad perspective of these technologies and their benefits:
What are the benefits of software designed to run on the Internet?
In general, the need for client software is removed. Therefore, you can access your software, via the web, from multiple locations and devices; similar to a website.
What is the difference between hosted and SaaS?
Very little. SaaS (Software as a Service) is a term used to define software that is hosted and/or has cloud services, but is paid for with a service contract or recurring subscription; similar to leasing a car.
What are the differences in hosting vs. cloud computing?
Cloud computing uses a number of distributed servers at strategic locations for redundancy and improved latency. Too many application providers incorrectly market their hosted solutions as a cloud solution. Both solutions have their advantages, but they are certainly not the same.
Is web-enabled the same as web or browser-based?
No. Web-enabled products are not true web or browser-based solutions. These applications were designed to work in a traditional sense with client software, and have been retrofitted to work on the web. Generally, these products do not perform as well and also introduce additional failure points.
Which technology is right for your organization? Budget, current environment, and connectivity will all be factors. However, it’s just as important that the provider is optimizing the use of these technologies to provide an easy to use, long-term, operational support tool that does not require unnecessary overhead time and money from your organization.