Software as a service (or SaaS) is being used across all industries as a primary means of doing business. SaaS consists of free and paid software that businesses utilize for everyday functions. Some companies offer free alternatives to their subscription-based offerings, but they are often limited in function.
However, it’s important to note that while some software may be free, it doesn’t necessarily mean they can’t get the job done. There are many examples of free software alternatives on the internet that offer effective solutions over their paid counterparts. So when should your business pay for its software?
Open-Source Software (OSS)
Open-Source Software (OSS) is software that is generally unpaid and free to use. OSS is named as such because it operates under a license that gives the user the right to use, alter, and distribute the software and source code to anyone for any purpose. You may have used open-source software in the past without knowing. Some examples include ad blockers, price history checkers, operating systems, and servers.
The main benefit for using open-source software is its minimal cost. It also comes with a large global community of ever expanding development for further improvements in functionality and features. Open-source software is also highly scalable and flexible, making them a very beneficial investment for long-term use.
Is All Free Software OSS?
The short answer is no, not all free software is OSS. For example, you may be using Google Drive to store documents for your business. Google Drive has a free tier with limited storage and offers paid subscription tiers for expanded storage.
When Should You Pay For Your SaaS?
You should look at your business’ individual needs before you decide to pay for a subscription based software. Does your business rely heavily on the software? Or does it use its features lightly?
When the free version of the software just can’t quite meet the needs of your business, you should start considering paying for it. You may also find that the free version is hindering your everyday efficiency because it is held back by lack of support, updates, and more. Be sure to look at your individual software needs before you make the decision to upgrade to a paid solution.
Be Aware of Adware
Adware is software that uses advertising as a means of supporting itself. In most cases, adware will be free but will come with the caveat of displaying unwanted advertisements on your computer in the form of pop-up ads, browser ads, and spyware.
However, not all adware is malicious. Programs and services, such as Spotify, offer free tiers that display ads that are unobtrusive and minimal. If your company is using adware, be sure to be aware of the problematic characteristics that may come with it:
- Endless pop up ads
- Slow internet
- Hindered computer performance
- Browser homepage changes
At the end of the day, how you decide which software to purchase is up to your business’ individual needs. The most important thing to consider is listening to your employees and finding out what’s working for them and what they might need to improve their productivity.