Until Cloud technology and SaaS business models came into view, customer had to decide between Commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) and customer developed software. This choice created a prolonged sales cycle starting with Requests for Information (RFI), User Requirements Specifications (URS) and Request For Proposals (RFP). As part of this product evaluation the customers would see how well answers from the supplier match their requirements. This process is subjective, time consuming and open to interpretation.
SaaS business models try to accelerate this process by offering potential customers Freemium models, online tutorials, and online customer support. Cloud technology allows the supplier to offer customer's instant scalable access to their SaaS platforms, and allows customer to try before they buy. A win win situation.