SaaS Loyalty Technology Platforms Offering Advantages
By Phil Britt, Owner, S&P Enterprises, Inc.
Software-as-a-service (SaaS) has now ventured fully into the loyalty industry.
Though SaaS has become standard across many industries in the last few decades, some were slow to adopt it. The loyalty industry, in particular, is now seeing rapid conversion to SaaS as brands come to understand the wide range of benefits it brings over installed solutions.
SaaS = Better Economics
Previously, platforms were custom-built and included costly set ups, ongoing maintenance and always-uncertain efforts at enhancement. SaaS provides a less expensive long-term solution, with all instances working on a single, regularly updated platform. This shared model provides “price certainty” for all users, who pay a single price without any surprise charges, and “future proofing,” in which future enhancements are included.
Additionally, users of SaaS technologies fundamentally pay for them on an as-needed basis. Rather than buying costly IT assets like servers and software, businesses buy and use SaaS technologies only when they need them, and only buy as much as they need. This gives companies the power to ramp up or cut back as business performance dictates.
“ A SaaS-supported organization will always have the tools to be at the forefront of loyalty ”
Enterprise customers particularly like the idea of matching expenses with revenues. Since they are essentially renting a portion of the solution, up-front costs are much lower, freeing up money for other investments. The use of and payment for the service grows with the business, rather than the business having to hope it will grow into it over time.
For small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) without SaaS options, many tech-dependent initiatives would still be out of reach. As such, SMB shave adopted SaaS faster than any other group. For SMBs, large investments in technology and applications that are likely to become outdated can be a non-starter, stripping them of critically-needed, limited capital. Additionally, SMBs have little or no ability to add staff to install applications and maintain equipment, nor do they have the time or resources to install applications. Finally, without SaaS, critical data can’t be kept assuredly secure at a reasonable cost. SaaS technology solves all these dilemmas with price-certain, easily-deployed solutions.
SaaS = Better Technology
Another important element of SaaS is that it enables enterprises to have access to the latest technology as soon as it becomes
available, rather than sinking money into a new system or enhancements to an existing platform that will be outdated in a matter of months.
With SaaS, companies of all sizes can deploy the latest technology and applications. Rather than paying for them in one lump sum at installation, they can instead pay for them as they consume resources, in an IT-as-a-service environment. This enables workers and managers access necessary applications and computing power when they need it. Additionally, it allows the organization to pay for the technology only as it is consumed.
As a business grows, it can invest incrementally in additional technology to support that growth. Applications and data are maintained by the SaaS provider, so they remain up to date and secure without the need to constantly install upgrades, patches or purchase a newer version. As a matter of course, a SaaS - supported organization always has access to the very latest and greatest technology.
SaaS = Better Security
An often overlooked advantage of SaaS is that it provides better security than installed solutions. Sometimes technology buyers harbor the misconception that an installed version will provide better security because it will be behind the company fire wall. This overlooks the fact that we live in an era of ever-increasing, ever-evolving attacks, against which a company must ensure that the newest patches are provided on every device accessing the installed solution -many smaller businesses simply don’t have the IT resources to keep up. With SaaS, the vendor handles all security issues. There is no concern regarding the number or type of devices accessing the software because the vendor maintains the application, upgrading security - as well as features and functionality –immediately when updates are made.
Advantages for Loyalty
The benefits of SaaS technology span all industries, yet advantages in loyalty stretch beyond economics, technology and security. The added advantages below are also available to companies looking to deploy loyalty to attract new customers and build lasting and growing relationships:
• Immediate Availability: Since SaaS is hosted by the provider rather than on premise, there’s no wait time between choosing a solution and deploying it. With SaaS there’s virtually no install time, unlike an on premise solution that can take months to install and to integrate with legacy systems. Similarly, upgrades are automatic, without the need to take systems offline to add new features, including security upgrades.
• Building on Good Ideas: New adopters of SaaS-based loyalty solutions benefit from all improvements made to date, as well as any future upgrades. Any new good ideas are integrated and make immediately available to all users for the benefit of their loyalty program.
• Ability to “Make it Your Own”: Companies want all the standard capabilities while also being able to configure a solution so their loyalty program isn’t the same as its competitors. SaaS provides users endless options to configure their programs and promotions quickly and efficiently.
• Simplicity of Operation: There is no need for in-house technological expertise to access and operate a solution. Companies can concentrate on operating their core business rather than on the technological nuances of a loyalty application.
• Quickly Add and Alter Campaigns: Simplicity of operation, as well as the ability to configure rather than code, lets companies deploy far more personalized programs. It also allows for more through testing to optimize every aspect of programs, which can have a huge impact on results.
Small and large companies alike can leverage the advantages of SaaS-based technology. Quickly deployed solutions - without traditional start-up costs –let companies match investments in loyalty with the actual use of required technology. And a SaaS - supported organization also always has the tools required to be at the forefront of loyalty. Given these many advantages, it is no wonder SaaS solutions are increasingly becoming the preferred solution for loyalty - just as in so many industries before it.