The Emerging SaaS-Only Enterprise - InformationWeek

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Commentary
3/19/2008
09:44 AM
David Linthicum
David Linthicum
Commentary
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The Emerging SaaS-Only Enterprise

For some time I've been talking about the SaaS-only or SaaS-majority enterprise - a new or existing business that has most or all of its critical business applications-and data-delivered on-demand. This prospect scares the hell out of most IT shops, innovative organizations are finding huge benefits. Consider Shaklee's... Case in point is this eWeek article about Shaklee's strategic movement into the SaaS space, finding many opportunities to save money and time over traditional approaches.

I've been talking about the SaaS-only or SaaS-majority enterprise for some time now. In essence, it's a new or existing business that has most or all of their critical business applications - and data - delivered on-demand. While this scares the hell out of most IT shops, the courageous and innovative organizations that use Internet-delivered applications and services are finding huge benefits.

Case in point is this eWeek article about Shaklee's strategic movement into the SaaS space, finding many opportunities to save money and time over traditional approaches."Like many companies, Shaklee found their aging systems in need of replacement but found the cost of doing so high enough to consider alternatives. Shaklee's first SAAS venture was a simple address verification application from StrikeIron. The application was brought in to help Shaklee clean up the addresses in its database and was also intended as a SAAS proof-of-concept."

Shaklee took about 60 days-and very little cost-to implement the StrikeIron service. The StrikeIron implementation success led to relationships with two other SAAS vendors: RightNow and Visual Sciences.

"Shaklee is using RightNow's technology for all its customer interface applications, mass-mail marketing, call centers, telephone order entry and Web knowledge content capabilities… [Shaklee] is using the Visual Sciences service for Web analytics, Web search and Web marketing presentations."

Shaklee then moved on to more SaaS offerings by betting its data on the model, implementing a fully hosted data warehouse solution from PivotLink.

"'It took less than 120 days to implement the PivotLink application, for 'low six figures,' Harris said. "On-premises data warehouses he's implemented in the past have each taken up to two years - with seven-figure price tags - to implement. ' [With PivotLink,] we didn't have to buy any hardware; we didn't have to buy any software. We had to negotiate certain service levels, but we didn't have to build up the expertise and the technology,' he said. "

Shaklee is also using the Lenos software-on-demand solution for event and convention management, and Virtela's management service for its global network, and will be looking at other SaaS offerings going forward.

What's so cool about this is not that they are using SaaS - most enterprises are - but the number and depth of the on-demand applications and services they are employing. Many of the company's major processes, and data, exist outside of the firewall, yet things have not yet exploded. If you consider the predictions of the SaaS naysayers out there, Shaklee is their worst nightmare. Time-to-productivity has decreased, as well as costs, and they are proving that SaaS is like potato chips...you can't just have one.

"If anything, Shaklee is proof that SaaS can be a dream come true."For some time I've been talking about the SaaS-only or SaaS-majority enterprise - a new or existing business that has most or all of its critical business applications-and data-delivered on-demand. This prospect scares the hell out of most IT shops, innovative organizations are finding huge benefits. Consider Shaklee's...

Case in point is this eWeek article about Shaklee's strategic movement into the SaaS space, finding many opportunities to save money and time over traditional approaches.

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