The on-demand economy that we’re living in has brought in a new era of Software as a Service (SaaS) opportunities and everyday conveniences. Even if the acronym isn’t familiar to you, there’s a good chance you’ve had plenty of interactions with SaaS, whether you’ve realized it or not.

Have you ever used Uber, Lyft, or Airbnb? Or how about Office 365, GoToMeeting, Cisco’s WebEx, or Google Apps? The list goes on and on. These are all examples of software that is being used as a service, or even more simply, software that is accessed via the internet rather than purchased, downloaded, and installed onto individual computers.

SaaS is one of a variety of managed services, which also includes Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), but before you’re confused or intimidated by any other techie jargon, here’s what you need to know about Software as a Service (SaaS):

Existing on the Cloud for Greater Accessibility and Ease-of-Use for All

Because the software behind a SaaS runs on a cloud-based server, that means no file downloads or time-consuming upgrades need to occur on the user’s end. Updates, patches, and latest versions are updated on the business’s side, not yours.

Moreover, because there are few hardware requirements or mandatory specifications in place, SaaS allows for more accessibility for the average user, without barriers posed by needing the latest, greatest device or the most-recent version of an operating system. If someone has an internet ready device—be it a smartwatch, smartphone, tablet, desktop, or otherwise—a SaaS-based model can be ready to go whenever you are.

Internet Access Required

Of course, amid the ease of SaaS is the underlying factor that internet access is required for all applications to run seamlessly. In this era when 89% of American adults use the internet and a quarter of U.S. adults say that they are “almost constantly” online, this isn’t always a concern—and perhaps with the rise of 5G—it might not be a major roadblock in the future; however, it’s a point that needs to be said.

Redefining Business and Life

From professional communication hubs like Slack and Trello to entertainment gateways like Netflix and Hulu, SaaS is not a new concept—though you might not be familiar with the acronym. Just like the slow, subtle shift toward a gig economy for the modern workforce, Software as a Service models are changing the way we live our day-to-day, without our even realizing it.

So it’s time to realize it, and maybe, just maybe to see how the potential of SaaS might bring new possibilities to you. What is it that you want to do better today?