What is SaaS?
SaaS, which stands for Software as a Service, is software that allows you to securely store and access data on someone else’s servers. If you use Gmail, Google Photos, or Google Drive, you’re accessing Google’s servers to manage your emails, photos, and files, respectively.
For all intents and purposes, SaaS is synonymous with the cloud; the main difference is that SaaS is a more specific term that refers to the business model. It’s no exaggeration to say that nearly everything you do on the internet today involves some form of cloud computing.
SaaS LMS Systems
SaaS is important for another reason. It’s the infrastructure that supports and fuels robust training and development technologies, such as a learning management system (LMS). Companies that use a LMS SaaS don’t need to purchase and maintain servers, or install and update software. Since their data is off premises and hosted on the cloud, their LMS vendor takes care of all of that, freeing up staff to design the very best courses and content for their employees. Companies typically pay a subscription fee and gain access by logging in from their browser.
Why SaaS LMS?
SaaS LMS systems are ideal for human resources departments that need their L&D specialists to be able to easily engage and interact with learners who, increasingly, may be dispersed across various buildings, offices, cities, and countries. With a SaaS training portal, employees can learn anywhere, anytime, and on any device.
By choosing a SaaS LMS, companies seeking to digitize their employees’ training journey can realize a number of game changing benefits, which alone are worth the price of admission. Here are just a few:
When your company decides to store your training on the cloud instead of doing it in-house, it can translate to faster deployment, automatic updates and upgrades, and faster training completion rates. Many companies report that because of their cloud LMS, their employees are completing training courses at a faster rate. Part of this is due to the advent of micro-learning; learners tend to binge on streamlined courses that feature quick bursts of information.
There are many small and medium sized businesses that could benefit significantly from a LMS, but don’t have the budget to hire a team of people to manage a full implementation on its premises. For these companies, LMS SaaS is a blessing. Over time, a cloud-based LMS can significantly reduce costs and lower the total cost of ownership. Consider what it was like pre-SaaS. If you needed software for 500 employees, that required buying and installing 500 discs onto 500 computers. Every time there was an update, you needed to update 500 computers. This, of course, added significant costs. The cost benefit is one of the biggest incentives and explains why companies of all sizes, and in nearly all industries, are going the LMS SaaS route.
As your organization expands, you need a LMS that is robust and flexible enough to grow with you. A SaaS LMS can accommodate unlimited growth; there’s no limit on the number of employees that you can add. Likewise, there’s no limit on the number of courses and materials that trainers can upload to the system.
Adding time-saving tools and capabilities to your learning management system is like adding gas to your car; it gives it power and supercharges its capabilities. But the systems need to communicate with each other and when they don’t, compatibility issues can cause serious headaches. Successful integration occurs when, aided by an API, your LMS accommodates a document that was developed by and saved in a different system.
With a SaaS LMS, companies can seamlessly integrate software – think e-Commerce or CRM – enabling all of their data and courses to be stored in one easy to access location. Develop a basic LMS foundation and then add new features and integrations as needed. It makes for a responsive and robust system.
Convenience and Flexibility
SaaS enables learners to access your LMS from any smartphone, PC, or tablet; as long as you have an internet connection, your employees and trainers are always connected. Learning has never been this convenient.
LMS Hosting Comparison
Companies do have another option if they don’t want to use the cloud. A self-hosting LMS option, which requires companies to download software on their desktop, is available. However, it comes with a big caveat: companies must have the time, talent, and resources to implement a hosted LMS solution and manage it internally on an ongoing basis.
What are the main differences between a LMS SaaS and a self-hosted option? A cloud-based LMS is stored on your vendor’s servers and is provided to you as a service – thus the name, Software as a Service. By contrast, an installed, or hosted LMS, is a product that you purchase and operate via in-house servers. If a company doesn’t have the internal capability, it must hire multiple people to build and manage a hosted solution, including maintaining the servers and conducting manual upgrades each year. Depending on the size of the company, a self-hosted solution could add tens of thousands of dollars of extra costs on an annual basis. The cost of third-party software integrations can also be significantly higher than the SaaS option.
Consider how you plan to use your LMS. If you want the best features, such as gamified learning, mobile learning, social learning, and blended learning – and the ability to train partners, customers, and vendors – then you need a cloud-based SaaS LMS. Likewise, if fast deployment, ease of use, and mobility are key drivers for your organization, the SaaS LMS option may be a better fit for your company. But if you need to build your LMS internally, from the ground up, the hosted option may be more appropriate.
When it comes to SaaS e-Learning platforms, World Manager is ahead of the curve. Book a demo to learn how the World Manager SaaS LMS can supercharge your organization’s employee and customer training. Contact Us today!