SaaS: Making online retail easy in India

Software as a Service (SaaS) is undoubtedly a boon for IT manager across the world and in India too. Pragmatically all the internet services and operations are running on the support of some software. SaaS, however is a concept of providing applications over the internet as a service in which applications are hosted by a vendor or service provider. As a replacement for installing and maintaining software, online retailers directly access it through the Internet, apparently making e-commerce players free from complex software and hardware management. At the same time it also offers greater mobility. Employees of e-commerce portal at multiple office locations, on the road and at home can use the same essential documents, data, and tools. All it needs is Internet access. There is handful of companies providing SaaS in India are Oracle India, Wipro, JDA software, Salesforce, Synage and Zoho and Martjack. Meanwhile most of these companies are enjoying fair rate of adoption online retailers in India.
SaaS enables online retailers to have delivery model for various business applications:
•    Supply Chain Management
•     Accounting
•     Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
•    Human Relationship Management (HRM)
•    Collaboration software
•    Corporate portals
•     Email and instant messaging
•    Business process management & workflow software
•     Social media and web 2.0 software
•    Database system
•    Enterprise resource planning system
•    Distribution and logistics software
•    Business intelligence analytics and data mining
The evolution of SaaS as an efficient software-delivery system enables an opportunity for accounting, HRM and CRM etc of online retailers to change their spotlight from deploying and supporting applications to managing the services that those applications provide. Successful online retailers, in turn, straightly produces surplus value for the business by providing services that draw from both internal and external sources and linked closely with goals of business. There are numbers of advantages online retailers can achieve through implementation of SaaS
•    Online retailer’s supply chain management process can be drastically improved and efficient
•    CRM equips retailers to handle their customer with great ease and also makes them to have better customer assistance
•    It helps online retailers to save time and investment cost of on- premise technological set up
•    SaaS directly drives the margin of online retailers which is very much crucial for them

In recent scenario of online retail and online commerce in India, SaaS applications are likely to take advantage of the benefits of centralization through a single-instance to provide a feature-rich experience competitive with comparable on-premise applications. A SaaS application is offered either directly by the vendor or by an intermediary party called an aggregator, which bundles SaaS offerings from different vendors and offers them as part of a unified application platform.
However, in contrast to the one-time licensing model commonly used for on-premise software, SaaS application access is frequently bought based on subscription model, with customers paying an ongoing amount to use the application. Subscription fee structures differ from application to application; some providers charge a flat rate for unlimited access to some or all of the application’s features, while others charge different rates that are based on usage.
Leading software vendors in India are incorporating SaaS and transforming their key offerings to support the services of online retail business model. Eventually, SaaS and On-Demand software solutions offer a number of benefits. In the light of sound revenue streams, access to so far untouched markets and lessening in total cost of ownership for their end customers to name but a few. In fact, with their end customers now being service users, software vendors can also connect more closely with them, understand requirements and deliver products and services that are closer to customer needs and uniformly up to date across the entire customer base.
According to the SaaS provider Martjack, in India Software as a Service (SaaS) adoption among online retailers is expected to grow by 40 to 45 percent annually. Around 2000 to 2500 online retailers have so far implemented SaaS in this year; meanwhile Martjack has forecasted that by 2013, 25,000 to 30,000 online retailers would implement SaaS.
Researchers have also revealed that SaaS is not only for emerging businesses, it is a myth that SaaS appeals only to small and medium businesses. They observe that SaaS uptake has been very broad-based, and large online retailer players are also equally interested in SaaS adoption.

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