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Düsseldorf, April 06, 2021

Software as subscription

The benefits of software as a service

Using software on premise by means of traditional licenses is becoming less and less attractive. Today, companies are increasingly opting for software-as-a-service models. Flexibly used as a subscription, the responsibility for provision, maintenance, licensing and support rests with the software provider – the customer benefits from quick availability across branch offices, countries and time zones as well as from significantly reduced investment costs.   

In addition to infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and platform as a service (PaaS), software as a service (SaaS) is one of the forms of cloud computing that are increasingly being used in manufacturing companies. All three approaches combined are referred to as everything as a service (XaaS). Cloud computing enables companies to flexibly use computing resources such as software via the internet and to rescale them as required – for example if the company is growing and further peripheral equipment is to be connected, or if higher capacities are required at short notice. This means that companies can make use of an offer hosted by a service provider. In addition, XaaS is a classic example of shared responsibility, in which the provider assumes responsibility for the provision of the hardware, the source code and the data backup, while the customer is responsible for the provision of the data and their correct use. In this way, effort and costs are minimized. 

Unlimited flexibility

The software can be used directly via the cloud using an internet connection. All updates are performed in a centralized manner by the software provider, eliminating time-consuming updates for the customer. Thanks to centralized hosting and a secure and certified infrastructure, there is no risk of security flaws at any time. All new features can be used immediately. By eliminating the costs for the acquisition, provision and maintenance of hardware as well as for licensing, installation and support of software, the SaaS cloud model enables companies to benefit from considerable efficiency increases and cost savings. The use of software as a service usually takes place on a subscription basis and is invoiced monthly or yearly. In the process, the fee is determined on the basis of certain usage parameters, such as the number of users or the use of certain services or functionalities. 

For the SaaS user, it is possible to withdraw from the contract at any time, observing the period of notice. The user only pays for the service actually used. The value of the service used can be reliably calculated, as the payment rate and the generated value are transparent right from the beginning. Due to the low complexity of such a contract design, the implementation is quick and uncomplicated for both parties.  

Since SMS digital offers a service, we are obliged to take organizational measures to keep all integrated systems running and ensure the provision of sufficient personnel and adequate monitoring systems. As digitalization is a highly dynamic business area, being able to count on reliable suppliers is particularly important. SMS digital assumes responsibility for the entire software, hosting, maintenance and all security aspects. 

Platforms create connectivity

Open industrial platforms such as mySMS provide a suitable foundation for using software at any time and at any place. Digital applications can be called up via single sign-on while being monitored and managed via a central dashboard – the entire plant at a glance. As a "digital control center", mySMS hosts solutions for intelligent alarm management, predictive production planning and efficient quality and energy management throughout the entire plant. To optimize machine availability and reduce maintenance costs, the apps can be seamlessly connected with each other and analyzed in an intelligent manner. By combining various SaaS applications on a single digital platform, plants gradually develop the ability to optimize themselves, thus maximizing the company’s business success.

What are the benefits for manufacturing companies in the steel industry?

Since SaaS applications are made available on the internet, users can access the software from any device and location. In this way, a steel, aluminium or copper manufacturer has access to the production sequences at his plant from all over the world at any time and, in the event of a problem, can intervene by remote access. This model is particularly interesting for large companies, as they often have to operate across several countries, time zones and branch offices. By means of SaaS, the necessary tools can be provided that enable fully networked cooperation in a cost-effective manner. Furthermore, configuration settings can be changed and the software can be adapted to individual requirements within certain parameters.

Benefits of SaaS at a glance:
  • No purchase of software and hardware required 
  • Turn CAPEX into OPEX and reduce investment costs 
  • Low configuration and infrastructure costs 
  • Immediate access to numerous applications 
  • Simultaneous use on several mobile devices 
  • Networking across locations enables effective cooperation 
  • Scalability: only pay for what you actually use 
  • Highest level of security thanks to certified cloud infrastructure 
  • Greater focus on your core business 
The future of SaaS

When using cloud services, companies can act much more flexibly. SaaS offers can be subscribed to as and when required, and the need to purchase licenses permanently and install them on in-house hardware has become a thing of the past. Considerable savings can be achieved here, as the purchase of new hardware for the use of certain software applications is no longer required. This is not only about software as a service: In the scope of XaaS, other concepts such as equipment as a service (EaaS) or monitoring as a service (MaaS) are continuously being developed and updated. In this context, XaaS involves many advantages that have a particularly positive influence on effectiveness and quality.  

The demand for powerful software as well as storage space for handling large data volumes is growing every day. By handing over these tasks to specialized service providers, companies can focus more on their own core business, which ultimately will result in lasting financial benefits. Customers benefit from the intelligent combination of 150 years of metallurgical and technological expertise from SMS group with the digital know-how of SMS digital.