Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)—also known as cloud-based software—is now a new normal. From giant corporations to average brick and mortar shops, cloud-based software is the default deployment method for every type of business technology in the world.
There are some strong reasons why SaaS applications are taking over.
We know that business applications delivered via web browser take out painful, time-consuming installations from the picture. SaaS eliminates manual working, which minimizes the room for error. Additionally, SaaS applications offer lower upfront costs than traditional software download and installation, which makes them more affordable (and flexible) to a wider range of businesses.
Yet I have spoken to many business leaders who still are not familiar with SaaS and cannot determine if it would be a good choice for their organization or not. It may sound complex or “techie” to some, but you are likely using many SaaS products in life but don’t even realize it.
First things first, let me explain SaaS in simple terms to readers, without using a plethora of technical words that can make it appear overwhelming. Read on to know more about it.
Table of Contents
- What Is SaaS(Software as a Service)?
- Top Advantages of Software as a Service (SaaS)
- Top 9 SaaS Applications
- ProofHub (Project Management)
- HootSuite (Social Media Marketing)
- Salesforce (Custom Relationship Management)
- Bit.ai (Document & File Management Software)
- HubSpot (Customer Relationship Management)
- Time Doctor (Time Tracking and Employee Monitoring)
- Userpilot (User Onboarding SaaS Tool)
- Zendesk (Live Chat)
- Bamboo HR (HR Management Software)
What Is SaaS(Software as a Service)?
SaaS (Software as a Service) is a cloud-based service where you can access an application via an internet browser, without having to download software to your desktop PC or business network.
In this software distribution model, a third-party provider hosts and maintains the applications, and makes them available to customers over the Internet. The software application could be anything; from project management software to unified communications among an extensive range of other readily available business apps.
The traditional on-premise software delivery model is different from SaaS in two important ways:
- SaaS deployments don’t require substantial hardware. Buyers can outsource the major share of the IT responsibilities generally required to troubleshoot and maintain the software in-house.
- SaaS systems are priced by providers on some type of usage parameters. For example, users might be charged on the basis of the number of people using the application, or some other measures of usage.
On the other hand, on-premise software is typically purchased through a perpetual license, paid upfront.
Top Advantages of Software as a Service (SaaS)
As mentioned above, SaaS applications eliminate the need for businesses to manually install and run applications on their computers or in their own data centers. This means you no longer need to bear the expenses of hardware purchase, provisioning and maintenance, and also software licensing, installation and support.
In my opinion, the top advantages of the SaaS model include:
Flexible Payment Options: Customers prefer to subscribe to a SaaS offering, which is paid for over time, rather than purchasing software to install, or additional hardware to support it.
Generally, they pay for this service on a per month/user basis using a pay-as-you-go model. Many businesses find recurring operating expenses helpful for more predictable budgeting. Also, users can terminate SaaS offerings at any time to stop those recurring costs.
Time Saver: In the modern-day business environment, “time is money” and quite rightly so. When organizations are trying their level best to utilize every minute efficiently, SaaS can help to save both.
For many SaaS applications, the software (application) is already installed and configured. All you need to get going is an internet connection and acquiring a log-in. Furthermore, the vendor takes care of maintenance responsibilities and your IT department can focus on other things.
This means saving valuable time by eliminating extra work hours and downtime. Finally, SaaS apps tend to have little to no learning curve, which means your workforce can adapt to it quickly.
Scalability & Accessibility: Another great feature of SaaS is that it offers high vertical stability, which gives users the choice to access more (or fewer) services or features on-demand. Changing a user plan is easy, and can be done without notifying in advance.
Additionally, subscribers can access the software from any location with internet capabilities.
Upgrades: Users can rely on SaaS providers to perform automatic updates. Costs and efforts related to upgrades and new releases are less as compared to the traditional model that usually obliges the user to buy an upgrade package and install it.
Additionally, it reduces the burden on in-house IT staff.
Easy to Use: SaaS tools require little to no learning curve as they are already equipped with best practices and samples. Users can perform proof of concepts or test a new release future in advance. They can also have more than one illustration with different versions.
Users in large environments can also use SaaS offerings to test the software before purchasing it.
Software as a Service has plenty to offer. When used properly, it can help your business save precious time, money, and human resources. However, the SaaS tool market is extremely varied.
Many SaaS tools are packed with powerful features and functionalities. Finding a tool that meets your requirements can seem like a daunting task that should be best left to techies.
However, I have shared 9 of the most robust and trustworthy SaaS tools that money can buy – and every business or team can appreciate it.
Top 9 SaaS Applications
ProofHub (Project Management)
ProofHub is one of the most reliable, efficient project management software that is designed to simplify project management and improve team collaboration. This SaaS-based project management application is packed with all the tools your team needs in one centralized location.
From creating tasks to assigning them to team members, tracking time to scheduling tasks, custom reports, and visualizing workflows and much more, ProofHub helps you do all this with ease. It won’t be wrong to say that it is a tool every project manager needs to achieve maximum productivity while saving on time, money, and other valuable resources.
With ProofHub, you’ll get:
- A versatile project management software with powerful “inbuilt” features
- A single platform for all your projects, tasks, teams, and communication
- No per-user free, flat rate pricing
- Ultimate control over teams and projects
- A simple, easy-to-understand user interface with little to no learning curve
- On time project delivery and on point team accountability
Let’s take a closer look at some key ProofHub Features:
A) Online Proofing
Not being able to proof files and documents is one of the biggest challenges faced by project managers and team members. However, with ProofHub, users can review, proof, collaborate, and approve on files from any location, using this online proofing software.
- Collaborate on Design & Documents – Users can collaborate real-time on design and documents. Share feedback with other team members or clients by adding reviews and comments at one common place.
- Markup Tools – Markup tools help users annotate files and documents to add clear and actionable feedback for specific regions.
- Threaded Comments – Make the most of ProofHub’s online proofing tool by replying to comments within a thread that is focused on a particular suggestion or feedback.
- Mark Suggestions or Feedback As Resolved – Once the required changes are made, users can mark suggestions or feedback as resolved. Reopen them in case the changes are not made yet.
- Review File Versions – Upload new versions of file and compare them with the previous versions to review changes.
- One-click Approval – Approve files with a single click once all suggested changes and feedback are resolved.
B) Custom Roles
Plan and create custom roles to choose who gets what level of authority and responsibilities according to your organization workflow. You can assign custom roles as an administrator to team members or clients, thus allowing them to work as per project’s guidelines.
- Create Custom Roles – Create custom roles, add them, and decide the access level for each stage just the way it suits your organizational flow.
- Assign Custom Roles – Assign custom roles as an administrator to team members or clients. Allow them to do things as per their work and responsibilities.
- Grant Access Levels – Choose what you want each user to view, add, and manage in ProofHub. Team managers can stay in ultimate control of granting access level to chosen individuals.
- Revoke Access – Users can revoke access to the sections they don’t want to grant access to certain individuals.
- Default Roles – Assign default roles such as normal user or admin to the team members.
C) White Labeling
For users who want their ProofHub account to give the look and feel of their company or organization, white-labeling allows them to add a custom domain, brand logo, and a theme color of your choice. This will make their PH account reflect their brand’s overall personality and make it look like an essential part of their business.
Since ProofHub is used by both well-established organizations and start-ups across the globe, it offers a choice of six languages for users with varied language preferences. Users can choose from English, Russian, Italian, French, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish, and German languages to set as a language of their interface to communicate with teams and clients without any problem.
More language options are expected very soon, considering the widespread use of ProofHub.
Task management software of ProofHub is every team manager’s delight. No more confusion regarding assigning and responsibilities of tasks. Manage tasks smartly and easily and achieve project goals in time, everytime.
- Assign Tasks – Create and assign tasks to individual or multiple people at one place. This helps to ensure every team member has a clear understanding of his responsibilities and there’s no confusion among them regarding who gets to do what.
- Create Subtasks – Make tasks manageable by breaking them down into subtasks and delegate these to assignees to define who works on what part.
- Add Labels – Use custom labels to add a distinct context to categorize, prioritize, and organize tasks. Users can filter a list of all tasks under one label.
- Create Recurring Tasks – Set a task to recur if it needs to be performed regularly. This removes the need to add them manually all over again, which saves time and eliminates any possibility of missing out on adding it.
- Attach Files – Attach files and documents from your computer, Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive, and Box to the tasks.
- Proof Files – Review files, annotate them, collaborate and approve them whether you’re working remotely or from regular office space.
- Create Private Task Lists- Keep visibility of tasks limited only to people whom you have granted access with private task lists. This way, you can keep information to specific people whenever you want.
- IP Restriction – You can restrict your account access to only selected IP addresses to ensure your data remains safe from unauthorized access.
F) Kanban Boards
Kanban boards give you a bird’s eye view of tasks in progress in a particular workflow. Users can see work moving through multiple stages and manage dependencies between tasks using Gantt charts.
You can also choose the number of stages the task is supposed to move through right till the final stage. Teams can be empowered to self manage with better understanding of workflows as they get notified of tasks moving from one stage.
G) Gantt Charts
A Gantt chart software of ProofHub has all the right features to help teams to plan projects, modify schedules, and visualize tasks in a timeline view.
- Visualize Tasks – Users can add task lists and tasks to Gantt chart. Plan and arrange them in order in which you want to complete tasks and visualize them in timeline view.
- Assign Tasks – Assign tasks individually or to an entire group, thus ensuring a clear distribution of responsibilities at one place.
- Set Task Dependencies – Set dependencies between tasks and adjust schedules according to the work changes and shift in deadlines.
- Associate Milestones – Add milestones with tasks and mark key dates such as desired completion dates and project review meetings.
- Track Progress – Track progress of tasks to get a clear picture of how much work is pending and how much is done.
- Private Lists – Private lists allow users to limit the visibility of tasks only to the assigned people.
- Drag and Drop Tasks – Users can drag and drop tasks in the chart to quickly change their start or due dates or even duration. Schedule tasks as work changes and deadlines shift.
- Highlight Critical Path – Users can highlight critical paths to have a quick look at the status of tasks that have a direct impact on the start and end date of the project.
- Export Gantt Charts – You can export Gantt charts and keep a documented record that can be used for resource management, planning, and scheduling.
- Print Gantt Charts – Use printed Gantt charts for meetings, planning, and scheduling projects accordingly.
- E-mail in Tasks – Use e-mail in feature of ProofHub to add tasks in Gantt chart via email without having to log in your PH account.
- Import Tasks – Import tasks and task lists from CSV files in Gantt charts without the need to start from scratch.
- Visualize Tasks – Users can add task lists and tasks to Gantt chart. Plan and arrange them in order in which you want to complete tasks and visualize them in timeline view.
H) Custom reports
ProfHub’s online reporting tool can be used to create detailed individual, custom, and project reports that help you analyze project progress and adjust plans accordingly.
- Track Tasks Progress With Burnup Charts – Burn up charts give you a clear picture of how much work has been done against the total amount of allocated work.
- Keep Track of Open and Overdue Tasks – Get a detailed list of open and overdue tasks in a project. See who is running behind deadlines by how many days and on what tasks.
- Visualize Task Reports Based On Different Parameters – Get a clear idea of the project progress with task reports based on labels and assignees.
- See Workflow Task Reports – See detailed workflow task reports of tasks for each workflow in a project. This allows users to have a clear idea of the number of tasks in each stage and how work is progressing.
- Keep Track of Time Logged In a Project – Have a clear time report for the time logged for billable, billed, and non-billable tasks based on timesheets and individuals who logged time.
- Download Project Reports – Download project reports of the projects of your choice and use for planning and scheduling projects.
I) In-built Chat App
To streamline your communication efforts, ProofHub also has an in-built group chat app. You can use it to communicate with anyone in your team one-on-one or create a group and carry out group conversations.
Pricing: Essential Plan is priced at $45 per month and Ultimate Control Plan (limited-time offer) with unlimited users is priced at $89 per month.
“ProofHub offers you the ultimate project management experience every day – for free! Sign up to start your free trial.”
HootSuite (Social Media Marketing)
The internet has over 3.17 billion users and this number is only heading upwards with each passing day, as more and more people are getting easy (and fast) access to internet services.
Nearly 2.3 billion users (out of 3.17 billion) are active on social media, which goes on to show why most businesses need to have an effective social media strategy to reach out to potential consumer segments and create brand awareness.
This is where a “Social Media Management” tool like Hootsuite can help you create a strong, engaging social media presence, and maintain it over time in an easy and fast way.
You can track and manage your many social network channels to monitor people’s feedback about your product or service, and you can also respond instantly to their comments.
Hootsuite enables you to view streams from multiple networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Google+, and Instagram accounts. You can post updates or reply directly, and engage with your followers right from the SaaS itself.
Pricing: Limited Free Plan, Professional Plan is priced at $29 per month, Team Plan is priced at $129 per month, Business Plan is priced at $599 per month.
Salesforce (Custom Relationship Management)
The sales teams of the most profitable companies use the best tools for closing sales. Even though there are many options available, Salesforce remains the industry standard as a leading software for customer relationship management (CRM).
Salesforce allows businesses to utilize cloud technology to connect with existing customers, stakeholders, and potential customers. Salesforce’s services allow you to:
- Gather leads and monitor them
- Track Insights for improved sales opportunities
- Make your sales team more productive
- Engage directly with leads
- Create email campaigns and collaborate with sales representatives
Using Salesforce can help you track every step of the sale -from emails and phone calls to working with coworkers. The SaaS allows your sales teams to engage more effectively with prospective clients. It also integrates with HubSpot to create a seamless connection between marketing and sales teams.
Pricing: Plans start from $25 per user/month and go up to $300 per user/month.
Bit.ai (Document & File Management Software)
Bit.ai is a new-age document collaboration tool that helps teams of all sizes and individuals to create, organize, and collaborate all internal and client-facing documents in one place, from any location in the world.
One of the USPs of the Bit.ai tool is that it scales across your whole organization, irrespective of whether every member of the team is working from one location or dispersed across the globe. Bit.ai helps teams organize and centralize their work, manage digital content, collaborate on projects in real-time, and track engagement across the shared content.
Bit.ai has a simple, user-friendly interface with a hint of modern touch to it. Its workflow configuration tool enables users to customize the solutions work process to suit your team.
Bit’s collaborative documents can move seamlessly from texts to videos, to inserted spreadsheets and more. Users can communicate more intelligently with rich media integrations like GIFs, videos, and presentations.
Pricing: Pro Plan starts at $12 per user/ per month, Business Plan starts at $20 per user/ per month, and Enterprise Plan is available on quote.
HubSpot (Customer Relationship Management)
HubSpot is an all-in-one, cloud-based marketing automation software that helps you design and create powerful, engaging, and responsive websites that work well on any device to bring organic traffic, convert more leads, and close customers.
HubSpot is a leader in the digital marketing industry. Its blogs, videos, and certification courses are already quite popular among people. It is a huge platform that is designed to integrate with all your marketing tools to help your company grow, or you can also create your entire company’s website on HubSpot.
HubSpot provides tools for content management, social media marketing, and search engine optimization, and web analytics. It is ranked as one of the best inbound marketing platforms in the world that puts all your current software, services, etc., on one platform.
Pricing: HubSpot CRM is free. Marketing Hub, Sales Hub, and Service Hub are available in four plans, with different features and add-ons: Free, Starter ($50/month), Professional ($400–$800) and Enterprise ($1200– $3200).
Time Doctor (Time Tracking and Employee Monitoring)
This time tracking and productivity app can be used by remote teams, in-office teams, individuals as well as freelancers. Using this tool, you can track exactly how much time was spent on which activities each day.
Time Doctor creates a synopsis of the time spent on each task, client, and project. This tool helps business owners and team managers to figure out how much time their team spends working at the computer vs. away from it. Daily and weekly reports help you to detect and eliminate time-wasting activities to evaluate and boost employee productivity.
Pricing: Basic plan starts at $7 per user/per month, Standard Plan starts at $10 per user/per month, Premium Plan starts at $20 per user/per month.
“Bring all your time data at one centralized location with ProofHub. Register now!”
Userpilot (User Onboarding SaaS Tool)
In my opinion, an effective onboarding campaign is key to kick off high customer retention rates. Getting it right at the onset is crucial because if you falter at this stage, nothing can change it later. People choose to stay with products they understand well, so your job is to answer their queries as clearly as possible.
Userpilot is a cloud-based product experience platform designed for product and customer success teams to onboard users and increase product adoption through behavior-driven product experiences.
Userpilot’s user interface is intuitive, easy to use, and has a variety of powerful features that allow users to build a unique personalized experience. Userpilot helps to increase user retention, and boost feature discovery as the product evolves.
Pricing: Standard Plan is priced at $199 per month billed annually or $249 billed every month. Enterprise Plan is available on quote.
Zendesk (Live Chat)
Zendesk is a cloud-based powerful live chat platform that works best for all kinds of mid-size businesses and large enterprises. Small businesses can quickly offer live, real-time chat support to their customers and it also allows you to reply to chats offline as well, from any browser.
Zendesk has one of the most versatile plan structures, which include the basic chat versions, call center, and knowledge base, so you can have all aspects covered right from the onset.
While this live chat tool is free, it can be easily scaled to meet the growing needs of businesses. They can easily upgrade to advanced IM tools like widget unbranding, conversation tracking, web SDK, CSAT surveys, answer bot, and IVR phone trees as their business requirements get complex.
Finally, Zendesk allows business users to collect crucial customer information, eliminate unnecessary expenses, and drive sales.
Pricing: There are a number of different pricing plans offered by Zendesk to suit the needs of every business, which you can check here.
Bamboo HR (HR Management Software)
BambooHR is a cloud-based HR management software solution for small and midsize businesses. This HR software as a service provides personnel data modules, advanced reporting capabilities, and tracking to help HR professionals focus their time and efforts on high-priority tasks.
It has a sleek and modern interface and uses a stripped-down mechanism to monitor the performance, which makes it an ideal choice for growing companies. It is also recommended for decentralized and remote teams as it offers faultless performing apps for all operating systems.
BambooHR displays job openings in a separate tab for applicants tracking, where HR professionals can see all applications, applicant leads, and shortlist or reject applications as they arrive.
Similarly, you can add new job openings with related details like title, salary, location, duration, contract type, etc. And you can perform this via a filtered drop-down menu or the system’s special text editor to add a detailed description.
Pricing: Both Free Trial and Quote-based Plan are available
“Have quick one-on-one or group discussions with team members and clients. Sign up for FREE now!”
To Sum It Up
There are so many powerful and helpful SaaS tools in the market these days that it can be difficult for you to figure out which one to try. However, I’ve researched extensively to mention the very best of the best SaaS applications that have proven their efficiency to global businesses of different types and sizes. You can pick any one of these or a combination of more than one applications to boost your business growth.