In a 1961 speech to MIT students, John McCarthy, a Turing Award-winning computer scientist, posited “computation may someday be organized as a public utility.” His vision is now a reality and the concept is known as “Software as a Service” or “SaaS.”
What McCarthy described more than five decades ago is a world where the tools used to manage intellectual creativity and organization – from music and literature to engineering and social science, family and religion, communication and travel – and everything in between, would be as convenient as the nearest connected computer. Software would be a service, rather than a product.
SaaS refers to where the software lives and how we relate to our data.
Remember the old days, when you’d go to the “software store” and buy a box with some disks and install them on your hard drive? Quickbooks, Microsoft Word, Adobe Photoshop… those programs resided exclusively on your computer. If you needed to edit a file, you had to access YOUR computer. Software as a Service changed all that by allowing that software to live in the cloud.
Once the software was stored in the cloud, users could simply log in with a username and password.
But it doesn’t end there. A long as the software was in the cloud, why not store all the user’s data there as well? With SaaS, programs and files are liberated from their devices, which means it’s users are also liberated from their desks. With SaaS, your office is the coffeeshop, the library or even a jet flying 30,000 feet over the ocean.
Examples of SaaS include Facebook, Microsoft 365, Google Docs, Mira Smart Conferencing, Salesforce and thousands more. Instead of purchasing this software, users “rent” it. Benefits include:
- Users never have to worry about updating SaaS programs because they’re managed by the developer.
- Because there’s one version that every user accesses, developers can manage versions much easier.
- Developers of SaaS employ analytics to identify user experience issues and understand problems often before they’re reported.
The genius of Software as a Service is that is breaks down the barriers to creativity and access to information. It levels the playing field for all those with access to a computer and internet connection. It also allows users to access programs and data sets that are much larger than a single hard drive could manage.
Mira Smart Conferencing is a cloud-based software solution that helps academic and trade associations manage research abstracts securely and efficiently over the internet. Mira’s SaaS is highly customizable and configures to any society’s abstract management needs.
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