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Software-as-a-Service, or SaaS, is viewed by most organizations as simply an on-demand alternative to more traditional on-premise implementation of enterprise applications. Instead of buying software, you lease it. Instead of paying for maintenance as a percentage of your software purchase price, you get maintenance in the software lease. Instead of the software running on your infrastructure housed in your facilities someone else hosts it and you access it through a Web browser.
But this narrow view of SaaS, as simply a more efficient software delivery method, is like paving the proverbial cow path instead of looking for the opportunity to straighten out the old path to make it more effective. As we'll see in a moment, new developments are beginning to illustrate just how SaaS can make a difference in how effective applications are, not just improve delivery efficiencies.