Recently we have been seeing a number of RFPs come into PolicyStat that ask whether a proposed policy management solution is web-based or installed on site. While this is a good question to start with, it is important to drill deeper and find out whether the web-based solution is truly a Software-as-a-Service offering or simply an ASP (Application Service Provider)-hosted instance of an on-site application. There is a difference.
A true Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offering provides many benefits over traditional ASP hosting because it manages multiple tenants from a single code base. First, the software you are using will always be current with a true SaaS offering, updates are applied regularly by your software provider so you are always using the most recent version with the most current maintenance and latest enhancements. In an ASP environment the provider would need to update each customers instance one at a time, making frequent updates and maintenance very costly and time consuming. The net result for ASP customers is that market-driven enhancements and necessary maintenance are batched up and frequently delayed for months.
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No Data Loss
Second, a true SaaS offering is managed like enterprise applications with full database mirroring across two different locations and application-server redundancy with 24x7x365 monitoring to ensure you never experience downtime. ASP providers would need to have two separate servers for each customers instance to provide the same assurance. However, this rarely happens in an ASP setup because of the cost to the vendor for separate redundant systems for each hosted customer.
Designed for the Web
Lastly, a true SaaS offering takes full advantage of current web capabilities because they are designed from the ground up for the web rather than being retrofitted for the web. You can tell an application is ASP when the vendor offers the choice between a web-based instance and an on-site application.
Overall, an application specifically designed and created as a SaaS offering is a safer, smarter choice when your requirement is to use a web-based application. Make sure you know the difference when searching for the best healthcare document management software.