Survey Finds End Users Favor SaaS - InformationWeek

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Commentary
12/11/2007
08:59 AM
David Linthicum
David Linthicum
Commentary
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Survey Finds End Users Favor SaaS

Datamonitor recently conducted a survey of 300 pharmaceutical and biotech firms across Europe and North America and found that the on-demand CRM delivery provided by SaaS was more popular [than conventional CRM] in the five areas of service analyzed... The more SaaS becomes a part of the enterprise application suite, the more the end users seem to like it. Here's why...

As outlined in this article, SaaS seems to be gaining favor with end users, which should be no shock.

"Software-as-a-service is preferred by most end users over the kind of service support and maintenance provided by traditional customer relationship management (CRM) vendors, new research has concluded.

Datamonitor conducted a survey of 300 pharmaceutical and biotech firms across Europe and North America and stated that the on-demand CRM delivery provided by SaaS was more popular in the five areas of service analyzed."

The prediction by many in IT that end users would push back on SaaS is just not coming true. Indeed, the more that SaaS becomes a part of the enterprise application suite, the more the end users seem to like it.

I think this is the case for a few reasons:First, practitioners use the Web more than they do their enterprise applications, both in business and personal time. Thus, the use of a SaaS-delivered application seems natural to end users, even preferred, when you consider that they can leverage that application from any platform that provides a browser - home, work, vacation, wherever, it's all productive time.

Second, the SaaS vendors are hungry for business, more so than the traditional enterprise applications, and thus are providing much better customer service.

The areas Datamonitor assessed were product quality, customer support, service capabilities, vertical specialization, and portfolio depth and service levels.

"End users of such products are more satisfied with customer support and services provided by SaaS vendors rather than by traditional vendors," Datamonitor stated.

What's great about SaaS is that there is always something hanging over the provider's head; if they don't provide ongoing service, you can simply unsubscribe. Thus, you'll get much better leverage over software vendors that already have your money from a multi-year license agreement.

And, of course, SaaS continues its growth. "Last year, IT research firm Gartner claimed that the growth of Software-as-a-service will be such that 25 per cent of new business software worldwide would include SaaS by 2011."

If I heard one argument against SaaS, it was that the end user would never accept a browser-delivered application as "enterprise ready." I did not believe that for a minute. End users want something that's both available and usable, and SaaS is both. Moreover, with the advent of Rich Internet Application (RIA) technology such as AJAX, the lines between native and Web delivered applications will continue to blur.

Any way you look at it, SaaS is here to stay, and indeed may become the most popular way to deploy applications going forward.

David S. Linthicum is a managing partner with Zapthink, a consulting and advisory organization dedicated to SOA planning, implementation, training, mentoring and strategy. He is a well-known application integration and SOA expert who has authored 10 books on related topics. Write him at [email protected]Datamonitor recently conducted a survey of 300 pharmaceutical and biotech firms across Europe and North America and found that the on-demand CRM delivery provided by SaaS was more popular [than conventional CRM] in the five areas of service analyzed... The more SaaS becomes a part of the enterprise application suite, the more the end users seem to like it. Here's why...

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