There are certain questions that usually revolve around business process improvement and technology usage. Is it technology that drives business processes? Or is it the process that drives the technology?

While there are many people who believe that it is the process that drives the technology since businesses want to expend their limited resources only on the most competent process. Well, a remarkable change is shaping up in the IT environment with the growing use of the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model.

The SaaS model is the next-generation software implementation model. Over the last decade, organizations have switched gears from the conventional software model to the Application Service Provider (ASP) model. In the conventional software mode, the organization provides their own infrastructure to the service provider to host the application and customize the solution as per their unique business requirements. While, in the ASP model the vendor hosts a software application on their hardware and leased out a unique instance to businesses with a certain degree of customization provision.

Interestingly, the ASP model doesn't require businesses to procure any on-premise hardware. It provides them the opportunity for a less expensive and swifter software implementation. While moving to the ASP model, businesses expect to slash down the overall ownership cost on technology implementation.

Today, the SaaS model is rapidly evolving. It facilitates optimal ways through which businesses can seamlessly implement software applications. SaaS can be considered as next generation ASP, with a key differentiator being that all users reside on the same instance.

 In this model, the service provider is responsible for any increase in capability and scalability. They persistently carry out research and development, thereby enabling them to offer more regular enhancements to users without the need for major upgrades.

As per industry pundits, SaaS adoption has increased since 2011 by 21% and forecasts point out that adoption will continue and expected to double by 2015.

Albeit businesses benefit from reduction in technology investment, still they don't want to use exactly the similar type of product which is being used by their competitor. The SaaS model though counts on application uniformity to keep a check on cost, which means partial or no customization. So, what all businesses should do to balance the monetary advantage of the SaaS model with the need for unique business processes (as businesses make a difference through their business processes, along with other things)?

An organization has to recognize what are the key differentiators that can help them in staying ahead in competition? What are their business core competencies? Try to understand that not all business processes are formed on the same lines. Hence, make sure that you utilize your resources on building or enhancing your business processes around your key differentiators. For instance:

- In case research and development sets your organization apart, then ensure that you focus on processes like idea conceptualization, market research, and product improvement.

- If you want to differentiate from service delivery viewpoint, then do focus processes like order processing, order completion, and 24X7 customer support.

- If employee retention is critical, then you may have to focus on processes that are employee-centric like acknowledgment and success plan.

Hence, would say that make most of cost effective attribute of the SaaS model to seamlessly streamline non-core business processes, however keep improving the business processes that differentiate you from your competitors.