One CIO's Strategy For Software As A Service - InformationWeek
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3/4/2009
04:11 PM
Chris Murphy
Chris Murphy
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One CIO's Strategy For Software As A Service

Here is some crisp strategic thinking I picked up this morning on software as a service from an innovative CIO in manufacturing. He considers CRM, HR, and probably e-mail as ready to be delivered via SaaS. Consider how vital those three pieces -- sales, people, and collaboration -- are to a company.

Here is some crisp strategic thinking I picked up this morning on software as a service from an innovative CIO in manufacturing. He considers CRM, HR, and probably e-mail as ready to be delivered via SaaS. Consider how vital those three pieces -- sales, people, and collaboration -- are to a company.I'm at WTN Media's Fusion CEO-CIO Symposium in Madison, Wis., for two days, picking up some tremendous insights from CIOs.

This CIO is embracing SaaS anywhere it's practical. And where it looks practical to him today is CRM, human resources, and -- probably -- e-mail. Salesforce.com is implemented at the company, Workday HR is just at the starting phase, and e-mail is a question mark. Is Google up to the task? The cost savings are there, and all employees already are used to accessing e-mail via the Web using Lotus Domino. But is Google's basic functionality today just too basic? Where is its road map headed? He's visiting Google this month to find out. The big vendors (Microsoft and Lotus) offer online options, but the costs savings don't look nearly as compelling to him.

Think of the pieces that this CIO is embracing as SaaS. As the company makes acquisitions, it would be able to get the acquired company's sales, staff, and communications very quickly onto the parent's IT platform, thanks to the SaaS architecture. (This CIO, by the way, added a line-of-business, p-and-l leadership role in the last year, as several CIOs here have.)

What about other areas, such as ERP more broadly? How about IT management or portfolio management? The SaaS vendors and capabilities aren't up to the task yet, in his opinion. But he's watching.

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