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SaaS and Managed Software as a Service: What’s the Difference?

SaaS and Managed Software as a Service: What’s the Difference?

How Managed Software Services Provide a Customized Solution

SaaS – Software as a Service – is a highly discussed topic in the technology world. Is there a software product on the planet that hasn’t moved to that model or is working on doing so? Even ubiquitous software with long histories like Microsoft Office and Adobe Creative Suite have moved in that direction. If you use Zoom, Slack, Dropbox, Gmail, or a myriad of other popular applications and platforms, you are using a SaaS model.

So, what is managed software as a service (MSaaS)? In this post, we’d like to delve deeper into that subject, comparing the well-known SaaS model with this model that adds a layer of service and support. Read on to see how MSaaS builds on SaaS to provide a more customized, tailored approach to technology solutions for your enterprise, whether in Tempe, Arizona, or your worldwide locations.

SEE ALSO: 3 Critical Ways Managed Services Improve Your Company’s AV Infrastructure


In general, the SaaS model is driven by cloud technology. In the old days (as little as a decade ago), software was licensed and run on desktop, laptop, and server hardware. Software still runs on these platforms with the ever-increasing use of mobile devices, but most servers have moved to the cloud. The cloud enables software applications and solutions to deliver functionality that is uniquely tailored to each platform. Gmail (and other mail solutions) are a great example, as you can access and communicate via email across mobile and desktop with some different wrinkles that take advantage of how each platform is used.

The reasons for SaaS are compelling. SaaS platforms are ready on day one of signup; there's (typically) no installation and deployment. That doesn't mean there's no customization. A CRM system like Salesforce is usable on day one, but it is not optimized for an organization's workflow or needs. However, that CRM will easily scale, as you can sign up for the next service tier when your needs expand. There are no servers to buy, configure, install, or manage. The upfront costs of this model are far less, both in software licensing costs and hardware investments. With a SaaS model, deployment is much faster than the old approach, which required systems integration.


How do managed services differ from SaaS? Let’s take a simple example, like your desktops and laptops and the software applications you use. A SaaS model would provide platforms like Office 365, Dropbox, and Salesforce CRM via subscription models. Neither Microsoft, Dropbox, nor Salesforce would provide support for your hardware or peripherals or assure that it is completely compatible with the software. They would not help you integrate and customize these services into your workflows. They provide some support for the application, but only to the degree that it relates to the software functionality.

Managed services go several steps beyond. A managed service model might include a standard desktop, laptop, and mobile hardware platform specification, assure the software is configured correctly for the hardware, integrate the SaaS platforms for your workflows, and provide different tiers of support – from remote to onsite – when snags occur. MSaaS adds the service component missing from SaaS, from hardware and system integration to support and user training.

MSaaS for AV Infrastructure

To bring this conversation into the realm of what Level 3 Audiovisual does, imagine your conference room technology. You may have meeting spaces with video conferencing facilities that include cameras, microphones, displays, projectors, interactive whiteboards, and other equipment. You might want Zoom or Microsoft Teams integration with your rooms. You can contract the buildout of that room to an AV specialist, but you may need to project manage the integration of hardware, software, room modifications, and more. In a managed service model, Level 3 Audiovisual manages it all for you. Based on your needs and budget, we manage the project and integrate all the hardware and software, assuring that it works to your specifications. Are you interested in the benefits of SAAS solutions like Crestron’s XIO cloud and Poly Lens for simplified AV deployment and management? We can set them up and manage them for you, without your team having to devote resources to learning and using them. Using these tools and other monitoring and analytics solutions customized for your environments, your operations teams can better understand technology usage and make informed, data-driven decisions about the right workplace investments for your organization.

Want to know more about how managed AV services can help your company? Learn about flexibly outsourcing your AV technology needs to Level 3 Audiovisual, an experienced firm capable of supporting organizations from small businesses to multinational enterprises. Reach out to us here or click the chatbox below to connect instantly. We look forward to working with you. 

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