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What is SaaS – and what are the benefits for supply chain management?

SaaS is the acronym for ‘Software as a Service’. Essentially, it is a software licensing and delivery model in which software is licensed on a subscription basis and is centrally hosted. It’s actually a software rental model, sometimes referred to as “on-demand software”. SaaS was made possible by the development of broadband/high-speed internet over the past 20 years or so. Microsoft Office 365 and Adobe Photoshop are two typical SaaS products. In fact, Deltion’s own award-winning CarrierNet was the first internet-based logistics solution and has been recognised internationally as the leading web-based application for supply chain, logistics and transport management.

In the ‘old days’ software was sold according to whatever delivery/storage method was available – starting with floppy disks and progressing to CD and then DVD. The delivery methods and the software got better over time and, incidentally, also grew in file size. In those days a user ‘purchased’* a copy of the software which was valid until the next major iteration of the software program in question, when a new version would then have to be purchased. Typically, these were expensive purchases requiring considerable up-front capital outlay.

Enter high-speed internet connectivity. This enabled software developers to offer a subscription-based model in which their software could be downloaded over the internet for no major capital outlay and updated on a continuous basis for a monthly or annual fee set according to usage type/number of users. If a user wants to scale up or down or discontinue the service they can do so instantly.

It’s important to note that SaaS does not require continuous internet access, as the software may be downloaded to a local machine and simply updated whenever internet access becomes available.

SaaS has been around for over ten years and is an established option for the delivering of services. It has become widely accepted in the logistics sector and includes all types of systems, including warehousing, human resources, planning and transport systems.

The benefits for supply chain management of a SaaS product like Deltion’s CarrierNet include: • Low cost of entry / No capital expenditure – no capital is required to purchase IT hardware or software; • Reduced time to benefit / Rapid deployment – implementation and training are simpler – CarrierNet uses a simple internet browser user interface • Pay as you go – pricing reflects the variable nature of business; • Instant Scalablity – growth is only limited by the staff available to use the service; • Work anywhere – there is no limit to global rollout with today’s access to the Internet; • Easy upgrades – annual (and expensive) upgrades become a thing of the past • Constantly evolving – software is continually updated in real time • No maintenance costs • No long term contracts

*When we say one ‘purchased’ software back in the day, we use the word advisedly as, in fact, one never purchased the software, one bought the right to use it according to certain stipulations set out by the developer. While receiving a set of disks or a DVD in a box felt like a purchase, one was always only renting the program concerned.

For more information about SaaS or CarrierNet, please contact Bashir Khan:


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