A Different Way to Think About SaaS: Savings as a Service
By Hugo Britt | September 29, 2022
At Una, we like to think of ourselves as a SaaS provider. No, we haven’t shifted our business model and entered the $200 billion global Software-as-a-Service market. We’re still a GPO, but we interpret the acronym “SaaS” a little differently than most people.
For us, and the members we serve, SaaS refers to one of our GPO’s primary objectives which is to provide savings as a service.
Now, we aren’t the first company to take advantage of the play on words. Actual SaaS providers and fintech companies have used “savings-as-a-service” as a marketing tactic or to tout their application’s capabilities. The catch, however, is that businesses usually have to pay for the initial software that will eventually (and hopefully) lead them to savings.
For some businesses, that may make sense depending on industry, categories of spend, or spend threshold amounts. For others, though, having to pay hefty subscription or licensing fees to use a tool doesn’t align with the company’s budget or give way to enough of a savings cushion to warrant the extra costs.
How Una's "savings as a service" is similar to traditional SaaS
As a group purchasing organization, Una has the ability to offer pre-negotiated contracts (with deeply discounted pricing) from the nation’s leading suppliers on an on-demand basis. Members can access these contracts whenever it makes sense for them to do so, without having to commit to purchasing amounts or contract terms.
Here are a few ways in which our “savings as a service” is similar to traditional Software-as-a-Service offerings.
Una is a service provider
This means we focus on the customer (not on trying to sell a tangible product), listen to our members, understand their needs, tailor our offering, deliver on our promises, and we are specialists in what we do.
What sort of service do we provide? Una leverages over $100 billion in buying power to save organizations money via deep discounts, save time by skipping the lengthy RFP processes and supplier selection, and save effort by providing pre-negotiated contracts that are established and ready for use.
Anyone can join, no matter the size of their business
Before the Cloud and the SaaS model came along, only large established organizations could afford the significant costs involved in purchasing software outright and paying for associated support. While there are still fees involved, SaaS leveled the playing field, meaning organizations of any size with just about any budget could now access the same software as the biggest players in some capacity.
The same concept applies to a GPO. Without group purchasing, only the largest organizations had the buying power made possible through high-volume purchasing. By banding together under the GPO umbrella, even the smallest business can access the deep discounts made possible with group purchasing.
One of the most attractive benefits of Cloud and SaaS is its accessibility. In the old days, software had to be installed from a disc, often with complex configuration and compatibility. But with SaaS apps already installed and configured in a cloud service, SaaS can now be accessed at the click of a button and enjoyed immediately.
With pre-negotiated contracts with major suppliers across several categories already in place, procurement teams are only a phone call away from accessing money, time, and effort savings with a group purchasing organization like Una. We don’t make our members jump through hoops – simply sign up (for free) and start saving at speed.
Another attractive benefit of SaaS is its flexibility. Subscribers can usually sign up on a month-by-month basis, meaning they can stop using the service if business conditions change. At the same time, most SaaS providers offer different subscription levels ranging from entry-level to enterprise, providing organizations with the option to flex up and down if needed.
Our participating members are not obligated to use Una’s suppliers or contracts, or any other GPO as their sole sourcing strategy. Members leverage category offerings and services based on their unique needs. New GPO members determine which of the pre-negotiated agreements they will participate in based on the available savings. There is no requirement that a member participates in all or even most of the categories offered.
Not only are you not locked in, but your time is also freed up in the process. By using a GPO, you’re bypassing the time-consuming RFP and negotiation processes and instead you gain the flexibility to impact other areas within procurement.
Customer service is a key part of any SaaS business and reduces the need for in-house IT support teams. At Una, we act as a procurement partner for our members to provide everything from cost savings to supply chain management, member education, cost comparison analysis, data and analytics.
Our team of Sourcing Advisors is here to provide support every step of the way.
How Una’s "savings as a service" is different from traditional SaaS
There is one glaring difference between Una’s version of SaaS and traditional SaaS applications.
While most SaaS providers charge their users a subscription fee, Una’s “savings as a service” pricing structure is set up so membership is always free to join and free to use. We collect an administrative fee from our suppliers and use those fees to fund our services.
The Una team believes you shouldn’t have to pay money to save money, and that all businesses – regardless of size or status – should be able procure the goods and services they need to function efficiently while improving their bottom lines.
Ready to start saving for free? Contact us to learn more about group purchasing and the benefits of working with a group purchasing organization.
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Do you have questions about group purchasing? Wondering how a group purchasing organization works to save you money, time, and effort?
Una’s team of Sourcing Advisors is here to help. Contact us to learn more.