Jan 15, 2010
A Strategy For SaaS
Business technology leaders find themselves in something of a cloud computing deluge, showered by vendor marketing, new services, and even CEO questions about their “cloud strategy.” Much of the exuberance centers on the kind of computing-by-the-hour service that Amazon and others sell but most enterprises are only starting to ponder. Amid the lofty aspirations, few have noticed just how powerful and grounded a force software as a service has become. The impact that SaaS will have on IT organizations is profound, and as business technology leaders, we need to ensure that our companies are ready for it.
While SaaS shifts software deployment and maintenance burdens to the service provider, freeing up resources for other projects, IT is at the mercy of the provider for availability, data security, regulatory compliance, and other key issues. Outages will halt business, and poor response times will hamper productivity. SaaS apps aren’t just a nice-to-have. Three-fourths of companies consider application services extremely or critically important to their organizations, according to our InformationWeek Analytics survey of 281 business technologists.
About one-third of the 131 respondents using SaaS describe their SaaS apps as mission critical.
Despite that importance, too many IT leaders treat SaaS ad hoc. Of those using SaaS, 59% say it’s a tactical point solution, and only 32% consider it part of their long-term strategy. CIOs will get the most from SaaS by making it part of an overall enterprise architecture. We’ll spell out nine key areas an effective SaaS strategy must address, and analyze the key drivers (speed and cost) and barriers (security, understanding, and data ownership) to SaaS use.