“What Is SaaS, Really?”

SaaS is an acronym that stands for Software as a Service.  To say that it’s been a buzzword over the last few years is an understatement.  Which, as I’m sure you can imagine, is both a good and a bad thing.  On one hand, it’s rewarding to see a greater number of people utilize this tool.  On the flip side, the term being used so freely can make it easy to forget the basics.  Whether you’re new to the idea or simply looking for another angle to maximize its use, the question still stands: “What is SaaS, really?”  And more importantly, what does it mean for nonprofits?

Story Highlights:

-How SaaS spearheaded the mobile workplace.

-SaaS is the secret to clear and organized delegation.

SaaS: What Should it Mean to You?

Let’s revisit and dive deeper into what defines SaaS.  The best place to start is by looking at how it’s different from traditional software.  Up until fairly recently, the standard way to purchase software was a one time fee that then provided you with the product.  Take Microsoft Word as an example.  You would purchase the latest version and install it on your computer.  In a year or two Microsoft would come out with an update and you would purchase that in order to have the latest version.  This is how software was sold for years.  In contrast, SaaS is generally accessed through a web browser and the software itself is available for everyone.  When you sign up for a license and are billed monthly, it’s for access to the service.

Notice how you aren’t buying ownership of a product, you’re paying for the monthly use of it.  Familiar examples of Software as a Service would be Microsoft Office, sales automation tools, donor management products, or even applications like Netflix.  ClickBid itself is a Software as a Service.

This simple idea has gained tremendous traction within the mainstream.  And you can probably already see why.  It’s simple, easy to use, and it’s a blueprint that allows for a wide variety of services to flourish.  Naturally, it goes without saying that some of these services will apply to nonprofits more than others.  So how can you use SaaS to bolster your organization?

SaaS and the Mobile Office

The strongest characteristic of SaaS is its availability.  Originally it’s claim started off as your ability to access it online and from any computer.  However, the way that it’s been integrated into modern technology has shattered all types of boundaries.  Not only can it be accessed from any computer, but you’re now able to do so from your phone or tablet.

This means your workplace isn’t limited by taking a day off from the office or a train ride to a meeting.  Current applications allow you to manage tasks, set appointments, or even sort through your accounting.  By being able to accomplish these goals, regardless of where you are, SaaS truly places you in the driver’s seat of your work schedule.  It enables you to stay productive and focused no matter the setting.

Prioritize which tasks you want to handle on the go.  While a loud subway ride might not be the best place to handle those phone calls, perhaps it’s a good time to manage your spreadsheets.  SaaS gives you an excellent range of options.  Be purposeful in determining what you’ll do with them.

The Key to Multitasking

We understand that no one’s busier than a nonprofit.  You have a large list of things to do and often a limited amount of people to accomplish them with.  Add to this the fact that most of your tasks are ones that require a great amount of energy and organization.  Whether it’s appealing for grants and donations, assembling a new division, or arranging a fundraiser, it often requires a lot of multitasking.

Now, rest assured, multitasking isn’t as elusive as it’s painted to be.  And that especially holds true when we’re discussing SaaS.  Software as a Service has revitalized delegation and multitasking in the modern workplace.  Today, there are numerous apps available to help you inject a fresh burst of energy and clarity into your team.

While we encourage you to find the software that works best for you, there are a few noteworthy features to keep in mind.  Task management systems such as Podio allow you to assign tasks to team members as well as stay updated on their progress.  This guarantees unparalleled heights in clear communication and efficiency.  I strongly recommend doing a quick Google search for the “top ten productivity apps.”  It’s a powerful exercise and you’ll be surprised at how there truly is something for everyone.

In Review:

Straightforward delegation and communicative multitasking will be your keys to management.  And that’s never been more achievable than with current growth of SaaS.

1. It’s all about gaining access to the service.

2. SaaS has redefined the mobile office.

3. Utilize this tool to multitask and delegate.