Software as a service (SaaS) is a method of licensing and distributing software on a subscription basis. Maintenance SaaS subscriptions can be accessed remotely through the internet.
We have come a long way in terms of computing since the prominence of bulky mainframe computers in the 1960s. The appreciation for the capabilities of software that we are familiar with today, only came about in the 1990s when microcomputers and personal computer systems were developed. Different kinds of software were being made available to pick up on various tasks that used to be done rather manually.
The momentum of developments on technology was not slowing down. With the invention of the internet, alongside the rise of software development, someone was bound to put the two things together. Concur, after originally offering software products through CD-ROM packages, pivoted to a purely browser-based service that marked the birth of the first SaaS company.
Technology has always been adapting to various industry applications. SaaS being used in maintenance applications was perfect for the industry, since computerized maintenance management system (CMMS), enterprise asset management (EAM) and other types of maintenance software were already available. Cloud-based maintenance software, that is software that can be accessed through the web, are now giving maintenance teams a customizable service subscription that can best suit their operations.
How maintenance SaaS works
Whether maintenance software are already existing or not, moving to a SaaS model can be a big change for an organization. It would require preparation and planning to make sure that an effective level of service is achieved. The following are the usual steps on how maintenance SaaS works:
- The organization researches SaaS vendors – given multiple competitors available, it makes sense to do some research to look into vendors with services that best suit your needs. The good news is demos and trials are usually available for you to get a feel of how the platform works.
- Select a subscription plan – the vendor would offer a certain number of licenses and features over a monthly or an annual commitment. Though these can usually be upgraded (or downgraded) after a certain period, it’s best to have the subscription mode planned out early.
- The SaaS vendor manages the platform and the services provided – you usually won’t need to worry much about the technical side of setting up the software. Upgrading or maintaining the interface would be expected service packages from the vendor.
- As with the interface, the data is managed by the SaaS vendor – work with the selected vendor for you to utilize their software’s functionality to its full extent.
- Have a backup plan – if your organization decides to stop using SaaS, or upgrade to a substantially different version, you will often have the option to export all the data.
Types of maintenance SaaS
A lot of maintenance SaaS subscriptions are now available with varying types depending on the scope of work that the software performs.
CMMS is probably the most widely available SaaS type, being that it’s also the most applicable to most businesses. CMMS is a useful tool for managing maintenance activities. It automates most of the manually-tracked activities. Scheduling, inventory, and historical logs of procedures can be accurately and efficiently performed with less effort.
To get more or less the same features of the CMMS, but with more data on the financial situation of the assets, EAM may be more favorable to an organization. EAM software tracks the costs that assets may incur over their entire life cycle – including costs from usual operation and usage- or time-based depreciation.
Work order management software are also available as a type maintenance software. These basically keep track of work orders and organize the flow of information from the management to the technicians. There might be limited insights that can be obtained from the data that this type can provide, but it can ease some of the manual work anyway.
Other more specialized types of maintenance SaaS are available, similar to work order management software, that are tailored to a specific type of maintenance strategy – e.g. preventive maintenance, facilities maintenance, etc.
Onsite software installation vs SaaS
SaaS has been a revolutionary model in terms of making services available to organizations, regardless of the size of the operations. The main advantage of a SaaS is its ease of use and operation. Software upgrades and maintenance activities are usually more easily carried out in SaaS models.
The only downside in using SaaS compared to using onsite software installations is that organizations won’t be able to customize software features of SaaS in as much detail as they might be able to do with onsite software. For organizations that require to customize software in detail, that may be beyond the flexibility of SaaS, then onsite software might be more favorable.