Customers are now becoming more and more demanding, expecting almost instantaneous responses to their concerns. Seeing this, companies set their eyes on the virtue of adapting. To accomplish this, they are turning to cloud-based software.
But there is no one cloud-based solution that can meet all of an organization’s needs. That is why we prepared this article–to get you acquainted with some of the most common types of cloud-based platforms. Here, you can also find examples that may be beneficial to your business.
What Is Cloud-Based Software?
A cloud-based software is a platform or a service delivered via the cloud or the Internet. One of its most popular mode of delivery is via the Software-as-a-Service or SaaS model. What makes these different from the usual programs that you download and install in your computer is that the vendor hosts and maintains it. That means your software is not located physically on your premises. Instead, the vendor hosts it in a remote data center.
Today, cloud-based software solutions are a popular option for small and medium enterprises. And one of the main reasons is cost. They can access the applications they need without paying a substantial amount upfront. They also do not have to invest in new hardware to accommodate their latest software acquisition.
List of Best Cloud-Based Software
There are a plethora of cloud-based solutions available in the market. There are also numerous types of them. For this list, we included only the best names in their own niches:
- monday.com: This is a project collaboration platform that is highly flexible. You can customize and use it for any instance, and it can serve as a CRM, too.
- FreshBooks: A robust cloud accounting software, FreshBooks is a great tool for small businesses. It has the necessary accounting functionalities without being overwhelming.
- BitBucket: Professional software development teams can appreciate this solution that supports Mercurial and Git systems. With this, they can collaborate on Git projects with ease.
- Wix: This easy-to-use blogging platform is popular among professional bloggers, business users, and amateurs. It has a free version, and its paid plans are also accessible.
- RingCentral: It centralizes your customer communications and also provides tools for business meetings and conferences.
- Looker: This data-discovery software helps you make intelligent decisions with real-time data and insights.
- HubSpot Marketing: With a user-friendly interface, HubSpot Marketing allows organizations to create visually appealing websites and landing pages without IT assistance.
- ManageEngine Applications Manager: Monitor your application performance with this software to make certain that they meet your business and customer needs.
- HubSpot CRM: This solution is a go-to tool for businesses because of its free plan and powerful CRM tools.
- Zendesk: A leading name in customer experience management, Zendesk assists businesses in giving customers the best experience, particularly when it comes to support.
- PandaDoc: You can avoid workflow bottlenecks by signing documents electronically using PandaDoc.
- TherapyNotes: Hospitals and clinics alike can keep clean and accurate patient records using this platform. It is also customizable so that medical practitioners can configure personalized treatment plans.
- BasicSafe: This one-stop system for EHS makes the implementation of programs more effective and efficient.
- NetHunt CRM: You can enhance your Gmail and Google Apps with CRM features using this platform.
- Grammarly: This popular app helps you write better by checking your grammar and writing style.
How Does Cloud-Based Software Work?
The great thing about cloud-based software is that you only need a stable internet connection and a modern internet browser to access it. What you have to do is go to the vendor’s website and login with your credentials. Once they are authenticated, you can proceed with using the solution’s tools.
Downloadable Computer App
Some vendors offer a computer app version of their SaaS. To make them work, you still have to stay connected to the internet. They can also synchronize with the web-based version so you can switch between them anytime and still find your latest work on either one.
Mobility is now a commodity, and it is crucial that software or app users can take their work with them on the go. Vendors are aware of this, which is why some develop native mobile apps for Android/iOS. If none is available, users can still look forward to a mobile-adaptable solution.
Who Is Cloud-Based Software For?
Most businesses are now using cloud-based software to replace traditional or legacy systems. Proof of this is 78% of businesses now use cloud technology, while 17% are planning to in the coming 12 months. But who are these people, or what establishments can benefit from applications in the cloud?
- Remote teams. Organizations with remote teams or workers can take advantage of cloud apps. These can help them collaborate despite not having people in the same physical location or time zone.
- Fieldwork companies. Businesses like HAVC that often do fieldwork can benefit from web apps or cloud-based solutions, as these enable them to keep track of tasks and personnel.
- SMEs. Any small or medium business can use cloud-based software since there are plenty of free offerings. They can also scale up to paid versions when they are ready.
- Large organizations. National and global organizations can benefit from cloud-based software, too. These can centralize operations and make sure that each branch’s goals are aligned with the overall objectives of the company.
- Freelancers. Of course, solo professionals can make good use of cloud apps. These allow them to collaborate with clients, and they can also track tasks and businesses using various online tools.
What Are the Types of Cloud-Based Software?
As previously mentioned, there are diverse kinds of cloud-based software. But some of the top SaaS companies are in the following categories:
- CRM and Marketing. CRM platforms allow businesses to organize their customers’ information to provide them with the best service. This is commonly used in conjunction with marketing software, as it can retrieve valuable marketing data from the CRM.
- Productivity Suites. Some of the top SaaS organizations have multiple products that spread across different categories. However, what they have in common are productivity platforms. These can include word processors, presentation applications, and spreadsheets. They can also consist of PDF readers and editors.
- Communication and Collaboration. Since these are essential for remote and in-office teams alike, there is a wide array of communication and collaboration software.
- Ecommerce. With more and more people shopping online, ecommerce platforms are rising to the top.
- Email Management. Video may now be a more popular marketing channel, but email continues to have higher conversion rates. That is why email management solutions continue to be in demand.
What Features Can You Expect from Cloud-Based Software?
Some of the things that you can expect from cloud-based software, regardless of type, are the following:
- Easy maintenance. Because the vendor takes care of maintenance and updates, you do not have to think about these when you use a cloud-based tool.
- On-demand. Since it is accessible from the cloud, you can access your cloud-based solution anytime.
- Tight security. Cloud-based platforms have stringent security protocols and provide administrators with control over some settings, too.
- Large network access. Organizations can upload their data to the cloud as long as they have an internet connection. These then become accessible to other users with the right permissions.
What Are the Latest Trends in Cloud-Based Software?
Cloud computing continues to evolve, and so far, there is no end in sight. At the moment, here are a few trends to watch out for when it comes to cloud-based tools:
- Increase in security tools acquisitions. Enterprises are now looking for SaaS providers that have a full range of security tools if they cannot develop those themselves.
- All SaaS become intelligent. The label intelligent used to be reserved for machine learning and artificial intelligence heavy platforms like business intelligence and data analytics. However, more and more types of software are becoming infused with these smart technologies, making them intelligent as well.
- Mobile, mobile, mobile. This trend continues to dominate, as users increasingly call for mobile apps or at least mobile-adaptive interfaces.
What Are the Benefits of Cloud-Based Software?
- Streamlined task assignment. With a cloud-based software where each team member is on board, it is easier and faster for managers to assign tasks.
- Better communication. Cloud-based communication solutions organize exchanges between colleagues. Some platforms even enable message search and bookmarking so that users can go back to them whenever they need to.
- Organized file sharing. Certain examples of cloud-based apps allow file sharing within their interface. This lets users avoid using multiple platforms, leading to better efficiency.
- Low-cost for the company. On-premise software require hardware investments and steep upfront fees. That is not the case for web-based solutions so companies can cut back on expenses.
Are There Issues that You can Encounter with Cloud-based Software?
- Internet reliability. While vendors make an effort to ensure that their SaaS offerings are lightweight, some still have elements that are difficult to load when the internet connection is slow. Because of this, the work of a team member becomes hampered. And in case of internet failure, users become unable to do any work, or they lose their progress.
- Security. SaaS providers do their best to tighten the security of their platforms. However, there are still risks in this regard, as cyber threats also evolve continuously.
- Compliance. Each region or country has its own compliance rules. These make it difficult for companies to keep up with, especially when it comes to privacy. And to do so, they have to shell out plenty of money.
What Should You Consider When Choosing a Cloud-based Software?
Cost is the first thing that you have to think about when selecting a cloud-based software. Other than that, there are several factors you have to consider.
- Ease of use. Not all cloud-based software are built equally. If you are looking to implement solutions across the board, you have to ensure that even your less tech-savvy employees can find their way in those interfaces.
- Customer support. As powerful as a solution is, there are times when it can have issues. In that case, you would want to have easy access to support to prevent workflow blockages.
- Scalability. Even if you start with a low-tier package, you would want the option to upgrade at a later time. So you have to choose a vendor that lets you scale up (or even down).
What Solutions Do You Need to Implement?
A crucial question to ask yourself is what solutions does your organization need. You have to ascertain that before you do research, as it can be easy to get overwhelmed by the selections available. You may also forget what your necessary tools are and find yourself signing up for a platform that barely covers your requirements. Thus, you have to prepare a list and tick items off as you go along rather than go blindly.