Managed software as a service (MSaaS) vs. SaaS: Why the distinction matters  

MSaaS vs. SaaS

Chances are, you use software as a service (SaaS) applications every day. Dropbox is a SaaS application offering online cloud storage services. Adobe Creative Cloud is a SaaS provider offering illustration, design and photo editing tools. Slack is a SaaS application for business collaboration and communication.

SaaS applications are off-the-shelf software solutions intended to be implemented and adopted quickly with little to no customization. They’re flexible, easy to implement and affordable because you pay for user-by-user access to the application rather than a license to the application itself.

Despite their many advantages, though, SaaS applications do have their limitations. SaaS applications are one-size-fits-all, download-and-done solutions, meaning there’s little room for customization for one specific account. Plus, most SaaS subscriptions offer minimal support and training to help organizations adopt the software.

For some business functions (such as payroll software for a small company), a simple SaaS application may suffice. But for core business processes (such as compliance reporting), a more customized solution is necessary.

That’s where managed software as a service (MSaaS) applications come in.

In this article, we’ll help you understand the distinction between SaaS and MSaaS, offering definitions of both terms and outlining their key differences. Then we’ll explain why we built TruQC as an MSaaS application — and what that means for your organization.

Managed software as a service (MSaaS): More customization, more support, more training

The ‘M’ in MSaaS might as well stand for ‘more’ — more customization, more support, more training, more value. MSaaS applications bridge the gap between simple, off-the-shelf SaaS applications and fully customized software applications.

SaaS applications offer a standard software solution for about 80% of what a business might need. So do MSaaS applications — the difference is that MSaaS service providers will configure their core software or custom-build new features to give you 100% of what your business needs.

MSaaS applications offer the flexibility and cost-efficiency of SaaS, while offering the level of configurability needed to achieve a perfect-fit solution for your business. The core software and features for MSaaS application can be downloaded immediately, but the best results are seen when the app is individually tailored to each account. MSaaS customers typically own a license to the software and their subscription covers ongoing support, upgrades and training to help them get the most out of the application.

SaaS vs. MSaaS applications

Pure software as a service (SaaS)

Off-the-shelf applications intended to be implemented quickly with no customization. SaaS customers pay for a subscription covering remote access to the software.

Managed software as a service (MSaaS)

Application that can be downloaded immediately but is configured individually to each account. MSaaS customers typically own a license to the software and their subscription covers ongoing support, upgrades and training.

Key differences

Level of support
No ongoing support, or finite ongoing support (i.e., 20 hours a year). More support may come at an additional cost. Greater support, training and account service for subscribers. Project managers and the development team can be looped in for more substantial needs and requests (i.e., custom-building features).
Speed of implementation
SaaS applications are designed to be used immediately upon download / subscription. While MSaaS can often be used immediately upon download, they’re meant to be configured to each account prior to implementation to offer seamless adoption and maximum value.
Relative cost of solution
SaaS subscriptions tend to be cheaper, though they typically exclude services such as unlimited support, training, upgrades and app management. SaaS solutions do not evolve alongside your business. MSaaS subscriptions are generally more expensive when you account for the initial configuration and implementation services, as well as ongoing support, training and upgrade services.
Ability to configure the application
SaaS applications are standardized software solutions, meaning they can be downloaded and implemented as-is but offer little room for configuration to a specific client’s needs. MSaaS applications offer a core software solution, which can be configured to a specific client’s needs. The MSaaS provider can also build custom features to be pushed live to only that account.
Subscription type
SaaS typically have user-by-user subscriptions, offering access to the software from an internet-connected device. The number of users can be scaled up or down as needs change. MSaaS subscriptions hybrid model between the traditional license model and the SaaS subscription model. MSaaS customers pay for a license for each user, but have a subscription for ongoing support, training and account management. The number of users can be scaled up or down as needed.


TruQC: An MSaaS application for paperless reporting

TruQC is the paperless reporting application with all the tools and ongoing support an organization needs to ensure quality, safety and compliance. Although our app could potentially be downloaded and used as is to meet most of your reporting needs, TruQC is much more than a SaaS application.

We take a more hands-on, consultative approach to ensure TruQC works exactly as you need it. With the help of our development and support teams, TruQC can be configured to your proven processes — transforming them into simple, secure workflows. As you use the app, you’re allowed unlimited access to our support agents, training videos and Help Center.

Essentially, TruQC is an MSaaS application for paperless reporting. TruQC configures your workflows while offering access to all the ongoing help and support needed for a successful implementation.

Configure TruQC to your workflows and reporting needs

Although TruQC comes equipped with default reports and features, we tailor our application to each individual client’s workflows and reporting needs. Whether that’s simply building all the compliance, safety and quality reports a client needs or building a new feature from the ground up, there are few configurations we won’t tackle.

Here are some features we custom-built for our clients:

  • Uploading and attaching as many photos as needed to a report

    When Spartan Race wanted to upload multiple photos from their camera roll at a time into their TruQC reports, our development team listened. Since this was a request we felt could be widely used by our clients, we developed it and pushed it out to all users at no additional cost — not even to Spartan Race. Learn more.

  • Developing and rolling out our issue tracking feature

    A major oil and gas company wanted to better track and collect issue data across projects. We listened, strategized a solution and developed our issue tracking feature for them. Issue tracking allows you to record detailed descriptions and defects found in the field, track them to resolution and run data summaries to establish trends and minimize future risk. This feature is now available to all TruQC clients — learn more about it here.

  • Device integrations

    We’ve developed integrations with Elcometer and PosiTector for our industrial painting clients, allowing surface profile, environmental conditions, gloss, surface cleanliness and dry / wet film thicknesses readings to immediately be recorded in TruQC, rather than having to manually type each gauge reading.

Quick configuration, free training and unlimited support for all TruQC clients

For accounts that require minimal report changes, we can set up an account and train them as soon as the following day. For accounts that require additional reports or account modifications, the turnaround time is typically two to three weeks. For rollouts of entirely new features and configurations —often necessary for enterprise-wide adoption— a couple months may be required for custom development.

All TruQC clients have access to unlimited support via phone, live chat or email long after the initial training. Clients even receive free in-person training sessions when onboarding five or more users. We have also created alternative support methods such as our Help Center, training video library and User Guide to make receiving the support you need as quick and easy as possible.

To see real-world examples of our consultative, support-driven approach to paperless reporting, check out some of our case studies. Our current clients’ stories speak for themselves, with results such as a 50% reduction in inspection time, 900 hours of time saved and 390% ROI after implementing TruQC. Or, if you’d like to learn more about TruQC, feel free to request a consultation with our team today.

Request a consultation with TruQC

We want to hear from you. Schedule a consultation today to find out how TruQC can work for you!

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