Request a demo
Book a meeting our product experts and understand how DJUST can transform your business.
Transform my B2B
Download the articleDownload

SaaS vs. IaaS: Selecting the Best Model for Your B2B ECommerce Platform

eCommerce
3
min read

published on

June 11, 2024

Spending on cloud IT infrastructure worldwide reached 93.7 billion dollars in 2023. The number is expected to rise to 110.5 billion this year and 133.7 billion in 2026. This includes the three leading cloud computing solutions for B2B eCommerce: SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS.

With the right B2B eCommerce platform, you will be able to reach more customers and increase revenue. To create a strong and sustainable B2B eCommerce strategy, you must decide between using a SaaS or IaaS solution. 

This is a big decision, but DJUST is here to guide you through the differences between the two solutions. 

Short on time? Here are the key takeaways

Let’s take a quick look at the key differences between SaaS and IaaS platforms.

  • SaaS platforms are plug-and-play with low complexity for setup and usage, while IaaS solutions require a high level of technical expertise to build and operate.
  • Both SaaS and IaaS solutions are highly scalable, making it easy to add or remove resources and additional services.
  • SaaS platforms have a fixed monthly cost, while IaaS platforms are variable, pay-as-you-go models that require close monitoring when it comes to billing.
A table showing summarizing the differences of SaaS vs IaaS

SaaS: Software as a service

Software as a service (SaaS) is the most common option for businesses requiring powerful software that is owned and maintained by a service provider, rather than their own IT departments. The right SaaS can help launch and grow your eCommerce site with minimal strain on tech management resources.

As a plug-and-play solution, a SaaS solution doesn’t require any hardware and usually works without installing software, unless you’re using a mobile-specific SaaS where you must download an app. Most SaaS products are accessible from an internet browser and ready to use once you purchase a subscription. 

Key characteristics

From the business’s point of view, a SaaS product is almost like Facebook or YouTube, as you can use it without downloading any software. You only need an internet connection and valid credentials to use the SaaS. The software provider owns and maintains all the technical infrastructure necessary to run your eCommerce platform, and they handle everything from security to error detection.

Many SaaS companies offer their products using subscription-based billing. There are no licensing fees or extra costs unless you plan to upgrade to a higher-tier subscription, which naturally gives you access to more features. 

Additionally, SaaS platforms support single sign-on. You can use the one set of credentials for each SaaS solution, eliminating the need to remember multiple accounts and passwords. 

Advantages

Getting started with a new B2B eCommerce platform can be overwhelming, but with SaaS, it doesn’t have to be. Setup is simple, and many SaaS solutions are quick to configure and launch. As mentioned, with SaaS you don’t need to download and install software on your computer, meaning you can get started as soon as you open your internet browser and login. With DJUST, your new B2B eCommerce platform can be up and running in less than four months. 

Quick setup goes for your staff as well, and they will have personal logins to fit their access levels. Also, your IT staff won’t have to worry about downloading and updating software across computers in your office. Essentially, IT won’t have to dedicate significant time to the implementation and maintenance of your eCommerce software.


In today’s market, your eCommerce business needs to be able to scale rapidly when necessary. Should your business undergo rapid growth, you can easily scale up by upgrading to a different plan. When your customer traffic increases, your service provider will automatically adjust their IT infrastructure and direct more server resources to your eCommerce site, which is great for sustainable eCommerce since you won’t be wasting energy on overpowered servers. The kind of flexibility provided by SaaS solutions is a huge benefit, especially with enterprise sales, and ensures your business has everything it needs to grow and succeed. 

Limitations

While a SaaS solution can be a great option for your eCommerce business, there are some limitations to consider. First, with a SaaS solution, you hand over control to the third-party service provider, which means they have the keys to functionality, performance, and your data.

Since they have control over your sensitive company and customer data, which is located in offsite servers, security can be a concern. However, most reputable SaaS providers have strong cybersecurity measures, including data encryption and 24/7 network monitoring. In addition, most experienced providers automatically back up your data and have recovery plans to help you through any cyberattacks. 

Many small-basket SaaS solutions have fewer integrations and don’t always work with legacy software. This is not the case with DJUST. We have a sophisticated integration process, and most of our software is highly customizable SaaS solutions like DJUST support all the unique needs for all sectors, even for B2B construction and B2B retail

Examples of SaaS solutions

SaaS products for eCommerce businesses are everywhere and can take many different forms, such as Salesforce, Shopify, Hubspot, Mailchimp OpenCart, and Squarespace. And while it’s an enterprise platform, DJUST is another great example of a SaaS solution. We take pride in our platform’s customizability and dynamic user interface. 

What it all means in the context of eCommerce

With a SaaS solution, your eCommerce business will be highly scalable and high performing. As your online sales grow and you reach new customers, you can purchase add-on modules that give you access to more specialized features, such as more robust customer, catalog, and order management features. Plus, you’ll be able to modify and update your customer interface and order workflows, create different product catalogs for different markets, and more. 

In order to run your B2B eCommerce site effectively, you need tools and analytics to help you control your site. With DJUST, our back-end dashboard allows you to monitor your business and sales. You will be able to easily add products, manage inventory, accept payments, review key performance indicators (KPIs), track supplies and orders, track customer data, and much more.

Expert advice: Beware, some companies refer to themselves as SaaS providers even though they are merely cloud-based solutions and not fully SaaS. Many of these “fake SaaS” solutions are simply on-premise platforms that moved to the cloud. 

IaaS: Infrastructure as a service

Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) is the earliest form of cloud computing. Providers grant clients access to hardware, such as servers, storage capacity, and networking resources. It’s a great solution for companies that want to save money on maintenance costs and purchasing hardware.

Key characteristics

IaaS lets you use servers via an internet connection but doesn’t provide an easy, ready-to-use eCommerce software. The vendor will handle the networking, storage, servers, and virtualization while you can deploy your preferred eCommerce software. Each server is a separate resource with separate storage capacity. IaaS subscriptions exist, but typically they are pay-as-you-go models.

Usually, customers can choose to rent virtual machines or physical servers. These are controlled over the Internet using a GUI or application programming interface (API). You get full administrative rights to install software and more by renting them.

Advantages

Renting servers from IaaS providers will reduce the costs of building on-premise infrastructure and the time required to install software. The vendor will handle all of the physical components and their safety. This service is also highly flexible since IaaS infrastructure can be configured for any programming language or data processing framework.

In addition to encrypting the servers, IaaS providers own the data centers, which allows them to increase physical security as needed. If the vendor has a solid reputation in the industry, your business' data is in good hands. This also lets you use more resources quickly if you discover the configuration isn’t enough.

Limitations

The biggest limitation IaaS solutions have is that you need someone capable of managing your software. This responsibility falls to the developers, and while your business might have large, dedicated teams, you would need more staff that are experts on the solution you choose. Essentially, additional training is required if you choose to proceed with an IaaS.

Additionally, older systems might not integrate well with the new infrastructure. Any legacy technology should be reviewed for compatibility before a full migration to the cloud. 

IaaS is secure, but since you may be using a public cloud and you aren’t in charge of the servers, there may be security risks. The software is your responsibility, so you must ensure the software side of things is protected. 

Examples of IaaS solutions

Some examples of IaaS solutions in eCommerce include Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Compute Engine (GCE), and Rackspace. Microsoft Azure, Dropbox, and IBM Cloud are among other available IaaS solutions. 

What it all means in the context of eCommerce

With IaaS, your eCommerce store can scale up quickly. For example, if you need more storage to manage a spike in traffic, you can easily adjust and increase your data storage space. This scalability ensures your site will be ready for any amount of growth.

In addition, IaaS providers manage site storage, servers, and networking, giving your team more time to manage data, runtime, and operating systems. This means you gain more flexibility and control over how you run your eCommerce site.  

However, as there are no pre-built eCommerce specific capabilities readily available, you will have to create your own custom eCommerce platform. To do so, you will need a development team that is capable of working from scratch and building one for you.

The bottom line

Choosing between SaaS and IaaS is an important decision, and your eCommerce business plan might depend on it. But the truth is, some businesses don’t need IaaS because it is more suitable for software development. 

Additionally, SaaS is highly flexible and always available without needing intensive backend work. However, you should consider your business’ own unique needs before making a final decision. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the differences between SaaS and IaaS?

When using SaaS, you rent software. IaaS lets you rent hardware to install your preferred eCommerce software and more.

Why use a SaaS product vs an IaaS product?

This question is dependent on the level of resources available at your company. While IaaS provides much flexibility, it’s not suitable for businesses without professional IT knowledge. SaaS takes much less time to set up while also being simpler to use, let alone master.

Is SaaS or IaaS better?

Whether your business chooses SaaS or IaaS depends on your needs, as well as your company size and resources (as noted in the question above). IaaS suits software development companies more, while SaaS is the best choice for many other businesses, due to its relatively easier setup time and ease of use.

About the author
Arnaud Rihiant
Founder & CEO @ DJUST

Expert in topics on B2B, eCommerce, market trends, business strategy

No time to read this now? Download the article instead.
Download the article
No time to read this now? Download the blog instead.
Download