Mike Blank, Head of Systems at iTradeNetwork, discusses Understanding SaaS:

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Software as a Service (SaaS), also known as 'Cloud Computing' is sometimes referred to as 'on-demand' software that is hosted on the internet. It is accessed by users through a web browser, rather than being installed locally on a PC. For example, if you use Yahoo, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon or eBay, then you are already a SaaS user.

SaaS has paved the way for a new way of doing business online, as it enables companies to access market-leading technology, quickly and cost-effectively.

The Multiple Operator Portal works through SaaS, so offers many advantages over traditional software.


  • Cost-effective – offers subscription-based services with no upfront capex requirements, hardware depreciation or ongoing maintenance costs. SaaS provides customers with a pay-as-you-go solution for easy budgeting, whilst offering economies of scale via a shared infrastructure
  • Scalable –SaaS systems can be easily and rapidly rolled out across a business without the need for additional internal IT resource
  • Accessible – you can log on anywhere, 24/7 for real-time, on-demand, access to data and systems
  • Collaborative-working – data is held centrally, so all parties in the supply chain can access relevant information via the internet, delivering better communication and processes
  • Transparency – with all data held centrally, everyone sees the same information, removing any potential confusion
  • Compatibility - hospitality companies whose outlets may have changed hands several times often have a variety of legacy systems and hardware throughout the organisation. SaaS works with existing IT systems.
  • Latest cost-effective technology – through SaaS, you always have access to the latest technology without the need to purchase new licenses or install new software on each PC
  • Reduced business risk – by outsourcing to a third party, the responsibility for maintaining systems falls on the provider, reducing the risk on the customer.
  • Fast Deployment – no software installation is required, reducing the level of IT resource required by customers
  • Best of breed technology – The shared nature of a SaaS-based system and the pay-as-you-go model, offers all companies access to the latest technology