What is Software as a Service (SaaS)?

SaaS is a cloud-based software solution in which software providers deliver applications to users over the internet. SaaS companies provide access to their software most commonly via a website or apps. Other widely used cloud-computing solutions include Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS).

SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS

No SaaS definition is complete without an explanation of how this solution fits in with the other two primary cloud-based delivery models: PaaS and IaaS. All three methods allow users to leverage powerful business technology solutions without an upfront investment in on-premise hardware, which reduces the cost significantly.
SaaS Model
SaaS providers use the internet to deliver software to the end user. Usage is generally subscription-based, with a monthly or annual fee. SaaS users typically don’t have to undertake costly or lengthy upgrades to the solutions. Since they are cloud-based, upgrades are managed by the solution provider. SaaS companies deliver usability without bogging customers down with the details.
PaaS Model
PaaS provides access to a platform for companies to create apps, perform web development, or manage other programming projects. Salesforce Platform, an example of PaaS, is the fastest way to build and deploy apps for customers, employees, and partners.
IaaS Model
Similarly, Infrastructure as a Service providers allow users to forgo physical servers or data centres. With IaaS, the provider manages the infrastructure and the clients manage their software and applications. Just like SaaS and PaaS, IaaS users only pay for the amount they need and can increase or decrease their needs at any time.

What SaaS Means for Business

Because most popular SaaS software, such as Salesforce Sales Cloud, can be accessed from any device with a web browser and an internet connection, it’s easy for teams to use it at the office or on the go. The cloud application itself is stored on the provider’s servers, which allows for immediate, simple setup, as well as seamless updates without downtime or on-site assistance required. There is no additional equipment to purchase or development to invest in. Additionally, the solution doesn’t take up storage on customers’ devices.
SaaS allows Canadian businesses to hit the ground running with software they can tailor to their needs at a fraction of the upfront cost, which can help their business scale and grow more quickly.

Advantages and Benefits of SaaS

By design, SaaS companies, including Salesforce, are built to serve a large number of users (tenants) on their servers, which allows clients to scale their use according to their company’s needs. Whether they hire more people for a big sales push or downsize to lower overhead costs, SaaS can grow or shrink to fit.
Affordable Cost of Entry
With no specialized hardware to buy, rent, or set up beyond the systems your company already uses, there’s no need for SaaS customers to invest in additional infrastructure. SaaS saves customers on labour costs too, since no on-site installation, updating, or troubleshooting is needed.
Easy scalability and customization for your business’s unique needs means SaaS companies can provide for your budget. Customers can avoid buying hardware they don’t need and large set-up costs, as well as reduce the downtime that’s required to upgrade to SaaS platforms or gain accessibility to new features. You can change which services you require and how many users need access as your business — and your budget — dictates.
Many SaaS applications and components are designed to integrate flawlessly with other products from the same provider. That means you can integrate demographics data from Salesforce Marketing Cloud to close a deal with leads in Sales Cloud, then access client history to provide faster resolutions using Service Cloud. Powerful platforms that seamlessly integrate are key to driving business growth.

How SaaS Powers Business Today

Sales, marketing, and customer service are closely related, so many companies turn to one provider to fulfill all their business needs. Salesforce offers a suite of solutions that bring departments together and help craft a customer-focused buyer journey.


The best marketing strategies aren’t just about bringing in leads. They are about bringing in the right leads, nurturing them, and accumulating data and information your sales team will use to reach out and close the sale. With a cloud-based marketing platform, every member of your marketing and sales teams will have access to the most up-to-date information at all times.
Smarter Lead Generation and Management

Engage leads and manage each interaction as it happens at key moments in your sales funnel, then route them where they’re best served.

Automatically forward hot leads to sales, while nurturing others through a personalized customer journey, without using multiple systems or communication channels.

Smarter Lead Generation and Management

Engage leads and manage each interaction as it happens at key moments in your sales funnel, then route them where they’re best served.

Automatically forward hot leads to sales, while nurturing others through a personalized customer journey, without using multiple systems or communication channels.

Build a Personalized Funnel

Combine data from all marketing channels in one place, available to everyone on your team, in order to see the big picture.

Drill down to discover insights you can use to refine your marketing strategy.


Today’s customers have high expectations. They expect fast responses where and when they want them that result in quick, satisfactory resolutions, and they prefer to have their questions answered in a single interaction with your service staff.

With a service platform based in the cloud, all your agents will have complete customer data at all times. SaaS helps companies help customers faster.

Multi-Channel Support

Funnel and track inquiries from all your support channels into one place for faster, easier communications.

Use Service Cloud to provide exceptional customer service and improve your support team, build better products, and make smart business decisions.

Mobile Access

Provide exceptional service no matter where you are, from any device.

Resolve cases, escalate high priority cases, or leave notes for other agents within the platform or quickly from your inbox.

Case Management

Filter and categorize cases for easy organization and tracking, or create business rules to automatically assign, escalate, and prioritize cases.

Add notes to quickly communicate with your team.

Productivity Tools

Streamline your workflow with custom automation, and easily sort cases and generate reports with custom labels and categories.

Create tailored, pre-written responses everyone on your team can access and use.


customer relationship management (CRM) platform is only as good as the data it uses to deliver lead-nurturing insights. Converting people from leads to customers is all about information. What does this lead need, right now, to make a purchase? A cloud-based SaaS sales platform has the power to answer these questions and more.
Manage the Relationship

Track all your customer information and interactions in one place.

Automate tasks and spend more time on the important tasks that improve your relationships with your customers.

Harvest company details so you can better route, score, and follow up with leads with Data.com Prospector.

Visualize and Act

Use an intuitive, real-time dashboard to see the big picture.

Drill down to see what affects your data most.

Create comprehensive reports that summarize, explain, and inspire.


Learn how the World's Smartest CRM, powered by Einstein, guides sales people, assists customer service agents and helps marketers predict.


Move your business into the cloud

Join the thousands of successful organizations around the world already using Salesforce.
Read our customer stories to see how Salesforce is helping companies like yours: