What's in Store for SaaS in 2010? - InformationWeek

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Commentary
12/7/2009
09:56 PM
David Linthicum
David Linthicum
Commentary
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What's in Store for SaaS in 2010?

The role of software as a service (SaaS) offerings will change in the next 12 to 16 months, and how it works itself into your IT operation will be significant. First, the rise of SaaS as an office automation solution will be very apparent in 2010. Second, third and fourth...

SaaS is the older player in the world of cloud computing, having been relevant since about 2002 with the rapid rise of Salesforce.com. You would think there is not much more that will occur in this space, but nothing could be further from the truth. Indeed, the role of SaaS will change in the next 12 to 16 months, and how SaaS works itself into your IT operation will be significant.

First, the rise of SaaS as an office automation solution will be very apparent in 2010. Those using Google Docs today already understand the value that an office automation application delivered out of the cloud can provide. While Google Applications such as Google Docs, Gmail, and Google Calendar are all the rage in small- to medium-sized businesses, larger enterprises have been turning up their noses. However, in 2010, largely driven by the release of Microsoft's Office Web Apps, office automation applications coming out of the cloud will enjoy wider acceptance by Global 2000 companies looking to move to the cloud on the wings of existing players such as Microsoft.Second, we will see better integration with on-premise systems, which will drive much of the movement to SaaS in 2010. A major issue with those looking at SaaS is how to sync data stored within SaaS providers with their existing on-premise systems. While this has been a focus of most data integration players, the solutions have not clicked with most of those moving to SaaS, and many are far too convoluted and expensive. However, in 2010 the value of this technology will be better understood, and the prices will fall as efficiency and speed-to-deployment increase.

Third, we will see larger SaaS deployments that will lead to larger loads on the systems, and thus a few outages will occur. Nothing to worry too much about, but it's inevitable that a few key SaaS providers will fail and some of these outages could be significant. I suspect that your SaaS provider will still outshine your existing on-premise systems when considering uptime. But for some reason, few pay attention to that fact.

Finally, data leaks will make the press. Along the lines of outages, we're also bound to have a few occurrences where information is leaked from a major SaaS player through some exploited vulnerability. Like the stolen laptops with credit card information, and the number of instances where employees walk out of a building with sensitive information on thumb drives, this will highlight the risks around SaaS. This should not be a major concern in the larger scheme of things, but it will happen. As a result, the SaaS providers will focus more on security, but no matter how good you get at locking up your systems, the tradeoff is always user accessibility versus security.

SaaS continues to increase as a core architectural option as we define and refine our information systems. Sooner or later, it will be so pervasive that we don't even notice how the software is being delivered. That's the ultimate goal.The role of software as a service (SaaS) offerings will change in the next 12 to 16 months, and how it works itself into your IT operation will be significant. First, the rise of SaaS as an office automation solution will be very apparent in 2010. Second, third and fourth...

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