SaaS, or software as a service, is a licensing and delivery model growing in popularity in which users pay by a subscription model and can connect to cloud-based applications. SaaS is a complete software solution, rather than multiple point solutions, resulting in the service provider managing the hardware and software while data is stored in the provider’s data center after a secure service agreement is made. While this may seem complex, SaaS models offer many benefits over infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and platform as a service (PaaS). For universities, investing in SaaS as technology becomes an integral part of the higher ed space. Today, our team of campus logistics software experts at SCLogic breaks down five of the biggest SaaS benefits and why investing now is so important.
One: Lower Cost of Ownership for Your Facilities Department
One of the largest hesitations in implementing new software, especially for smaller facilities, is the cost of investment. Post-COVID, campuses are still trying to recover from its impact, and with changing trends in student learning preferences and degree paths, universities have to adapt quickly to maintain and expand enrollment. Some of the major higher-ed trends, such as AI usage and mobile learning, utilize technology in efficient ways, so why should your campus facility work any differently? Currently, nearly 80% of universities have some form of SaaS implemented, and this number is only set to grow. Not investing in SaaS applications now will only put your university behind for upcoming enrollment years.
While investing in SaaS applications can seem hefty upfront, the long-term financial benefits your team will reap make the investment a no-brainer. For example, if your team is working with dated or internal software with no external help, your IT team is spending considerable time troubleshooting and conducting maintenance to ensure that your platforms are working correctly. Furthermore, updates will likely take longer, resulting in delayed completion times for tasks and frustrated students and faculty. Ultimately, working reactively to keep dated point solutions up and running costs your team more in service fees, employee productivity, and potential profit. By investing in SaaS, you have the help of professional vendors at your fingertips, ready to help you troubleshoot and continuously improve the software for the user experience.
Two: Improved Scalability Options for Your Campus
Many universities are working hard to expand their offerings, especially during this growth period of hybrid education. However, outdated campus software generally results in facilities managers having to invest in additional processers or point solutions to solve the changing needs of students and faculty. Cloud-hosted platforms, on the other hand, can support increased and fluctuating traffic with ease, resulting in streamlined facilities workflows. Take our Central Receiving Workgroup, for example. Many universities have no insight into the number of packages they receive each morning and therefore can’t prepare accordingly for additional scanners and employees needed. With Intra, employees can utilize our UPS and FedEx integration to gather delivery lists the day prior, knowing that their scanners can easily handle the influx of packages.
Furthermore, working with multiple point solutions makes scaling difficult since each solution must be upgraded separately. Teams will spend days, if not weeks, working on updating different point solutions, many of which cannot communicate with each other, leaving your team with inefficient software that ultimately costs more than it is saving. Investing in a comprehensive software platform takes away many pain points by implementing one comprehensive software that combines the point solutions you currently have in place. As a result, you’re working with one software and one customer service team for your current and future needs.
Three: Flexibility & Accessibility for All
One of the most significant frustrations for operations and facilities managers is ensuring that all employees can use the implemented software efficiently through their daily tasks and have a firm grasp of all the features. The average age for facilities workers is almost 50 years old, so technology changes may not come as easy. Having facilities workers use multiple solutions with different interfaces while still completing some tasks manually will only lead to more confusion. Additionally, outdated programs may not be optimized or even configured to be used on mobile devices, significantly decreasing the flexibility workers have to move about campus.
By using the SaaS model, teams can maximize employee adoption while increasing the flexibility that each worker has. With one software model, employees can receive training swiftly and work with their peers to use all the features their software has to offer. With campus logistics software such as Intra, we designed our newest version, V8, to be mobile-first and highly responsive. As workers organize assets across campus and central receiving managers store hundreds of parcels, having software at your fingertips saves significant time. Additionally, the connection across your campus is improved, and in the event of a lag or outage, all your data will be saved for when your connection is restored.
Four: Improved Security for Student & Faculty Information
While this is an area that no organization wants to fall victim to, cybersecurity is vital to protecting students and faculty on your campus. For higher ed, now is the time to improve cybersecurity protocols. Data security has become the second-largest liability risk for institutions, and over 24.5 million records have been exposed in higher-ed institutions since 2005, an average of 1.5 million per year. In recent years, the higher education sector has been ranked one of the least secure industries, and with increasing technology use, this is only set to grow. Unfortunately, every section of campus services is affected by cybersecurity issues, and this includes facilities management.
Universities of all sizes are affected by cybersecurity breaches, and many of them often result in personal information of students and faculty being leaked. In June of 2019, Oregon State University (OSU) had a data breach resulting in the names, addresses, telephone numbers, and social security numbers of over 600 students and faculty. Additionally, the University of Connecticut’s UConn Health branch had a breach of over 326,000 patient records, including names, birth dates, medical, and billing information. At SCLogic, we have created Intra with security at the forefront. Our development, tech, and integrations teams have worked tirelessly to minimize the likelihood of a breach and create secure yet user-friendly software.
Move to the SaaS Model with SCLogic
Working in the facilities management and logistics industries, replacing your current system can seem daunting. Oftentimes, departments will wait until the last moment, or until their existing point solutions break, to implement something new. Unfortunately, running your current solutions until the very end of their lifecycle results in time wasted, money spent on asset fixes, and a significant risk of cybersecurity issues. We believe the SaaS model is the model of the future, and during a wave of change in the higher education industry, it is more important than ever to create a modern, innovative, and secure space for students and faculty to thrive. To learn more about our Intra EDU workgroups, email [email protected] or schedule a demo with one of our team members today.